Scans – physiology and activity across the brain can be gauged using various techniques (e.g.MRI, PET, CAT), helping researchers to identify the functions of specific regions (known as localisation of cortical function).
Animal studies – used to investigate biological mechanisms that govern human behaviour, often where ethical guidelines would not allow human participation. rats) are thought to have a similar biological makeup to humans, such that studies’ conclusions can be generalised to humans.
However, this methodology still raises ethical debate, and some argue that complex human behaviour cannot be replicated in non-human animals like rats, and thus cannot be investigated.
Electrical impulses enable an important means of internal communication that directs our behaviour, travelling around the brain and to/from the body via the nervous system.
Impulses are transmitted between neurons (nerves) at synapses, junctions where neurotransmitters are released that inhibit or excite other neurons to achieve different responses.
For example, cortisol and adrenaline are key hormones that facilitate the fight or flight response, a key evolutionary survival mechanism whereby the body primes itself for imminent danger (e.g.
increasing heart rate, initiating sweating to cool down, dilation of pupils, sharpened sense of hearing).
Interactions between regions of the brain help to control different functions, which biological psychologists assume to be significant in determining our actions.
For instance, the occipital lobe is involved heavily in processing sight, along with the frontal lobe, which is thought to be involved in control and attention.
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