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Brain’s Research Methods and Its Relation with Behavior Essay

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Updated: Feb 23rd, 2021

What are some techniques or research methods used to examine the link between the brain and behavior? What are some findings in biological psychology that can result in or have resulted from these techniques or research methods?

The human brain and its link to behavior have become a major area of study that most psychologists, histologists, and physiologists have developed much interest in, bearing in mind that the brain influences how individual acts, feels, or thinks. Neurological studies indicate that there are diverse methods and well-known techniques such as genetic methods, neurochemical methods, and experimental ablation, among others through which the brain and its relationship with behavior can be analyzed. It is against this premise that this paper examines research techniques and methods used in studying the brain and behavioral characteristics.

Experimental ablation

Carlson (2010) points out that most researchers today prefer experimental ablation as a research method as it is effective in investigating brain functions and determining how it influences behavior. In this research method, a researcher destroys some tissues of an organism’s brain and observes its subsequent behavior through lesion studies. This study is based on the rationale that certain behavior functions of an organism are controlled by certain areas of the brain, and when that area is destroyed via the research technique, an organism ceases to perform or behave in its normal way. From the experimental ablation, it is evident that different circuits or regions of the brain perform certain functions responsible for an organism’s behavior.

Stimulating and recording neural activity

Besides experimental ablation, researchers have also used stimulation of neural activities to study the relationship between the brain and behavior patterns. Carlson (2010) points out that the functions of the brain are controlled by circuits of neurons that prompt behavioral responses and different perceptions. Recording of neural activities are done chronically after surgery or acutely during surgery.

However, findings indicate that acute recording is not effective since an anesthetized animal has a limited behavioral capacity (Carlson, 2010). In addition, chemical or electrical stimulation of neural activities is also done to certain areas of the brain to determine how it affects an animal’s behavior. Findings from stimulation point out that unlike experimental ablation, activates and enhances the behavior of an organism.

Neurochemical methods and Genetic methods

Neurochemical and genetic methods are mostly used when a researcher intends to determine human behavior through the location of neurons. Carlson (2010) points out that neurons possess receptors and produce neurotransmitters that secrete chemicals during certain situations. Findings indicate neurons secrete chemicals when an organism is faced with certain circumstances, and these trigger certain behaviors.

On the other hand, behavior characteristics among organisms, such as mental disorders, personality variables, and talents, are genetic (Carlson, 2010). Carlson further indicates that genetic factors determine an organism’s physiological difference and development. By using twin studies and adoption studies to analyze how heredity influences behavior, it is evident that brain development is affected by a defective gene. This scientifically causes neurological abnormality and subsequent behavioral deficits (Carlson, 2010).

What are the major underlying assumptions of physiological psychology? What effect do these assumptions have on psychology?

The study of the mind and how it influences behavior has been surrounded by diverse assumptions from psychologists who either employ empirical methods to support their studies or deductive methods in opposition (Carlson, 2010). One significant assumption is on the role of unconscious and human experience. Trait theorists argue that the personality an individual has is founded on dynamic interactions of the super-ego, ego and id (Carlson, 2010). They assume using factor analysis that human behavior and personality are guided by traits such as psychoticism, neuroticism and introversion-extroversion. Such an assumption is important in that prompts more research into psychology and human behavior.

Another assumption is related to biopsychosocial model which assumes that a mental process or behavior is impacted on by social, psychological and biological factors that are dynamically interrelated. Such aspects include emotions and cognitions that affect moods, and biological factors that influence of genes, cognitive abilities and brain development (Carlson, 2010). This assumption is vital as it adds weight to the findings of most researchers on the influence on the behavior of an organism.

Reference

Carlson, N.R (2010). Physiology of behavior (10th ed.) New York: Pearson Education, Inc.

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