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Basics of Biopsychology

By John P.J. Pinel

Published by Pearson

Published Date: May 24, 2006


Basics of Biopsychology clearly presents the fundamentals of the study of the biology of behavior and makes the topics personally and socially relevant to the student.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction to Biopsychology

How Biopsychologists Think about Behavior

1.1         What is Biopsychology?

1.2         Human Evolution

1.3         Fundamental Genetics

1.4         Thinking about the Biology of Behavior: Mind-Brain and Nature-Nurture Issues


Chapter 2

Anatomy of the Brain

The Systems, Structures, and Cells that Make Up Your Nervous System

2.1         General Layout of the Nervous System

2.2         Cells of the Nervous System

2.3         Neuroanatomical Techniques and Directions

2.4         The Spinal Cord

2.5         The Five Divisions of the Brain

2.6         Major Structures of the Brain


Chapter 3

Neural Activity and How to Study It

How Neurons Work

3.1         The Neuron’s Resting Membrane Potential

3.2         Postsynaptic Potentials and Action Potentials

3.3         Conduction of Action Potentials

3.4         Synaptic Transmission: Chemical Transmission of Signals from One Neuron to Another

3.5         The Neurotransmitters

3.6         How Biopsychologists Study the Brain


PART 2:  Sensory and Motor Systems


Chapter 4

The Visual System

How We See

4.1         Light Enters the Eye and Reaches the Retina

4.2         The Retina and Translation of Light into Neural Signals

4.3         From Retina to Primary Visual Cortex

4.4         Seeing Edges

4.5         Seeing Color

4.6         Cortical Mechanisms of Vision: Beyond Primary Visual Cortex


Chapter 5

Mechanisms of Perception

Hearing, Touch, Taste, Smell, and Attention:  How You Know the World

5.1         Principles of Sensory System Organization

5.2         Auditory System

5.3         Somatosensory System: Touch and Pain

5.4         The Chemical Senses: Smell and Taste

5.5         Selective Attention


Chapter 6

The Sensorimotor System

How You Do What You Do

6.1         Three Principles of Sensorimotor Function

6.2         Sensorimotor Association Cortex

6.3         Secondary Motor Cortex

6.4         Primary Motor Cortex

6.5         Cerebellum and Basal Ganglia

6.6         Descending Motor Pathways

6.7         Sensorimotor Spinal Circuits

6.8         Central Sensorimotor Programs


PART 3:  Plasticity of the Brain


Chapter 7

Development of the Nervous System

From Fertilized Egg to You

7.1         Phases of Neurodevelopment

7.2         Postnatal Cerebral Development in Human Infants

7.3         Effects of Experience on the Early Development, Maintenance, and Reorganization of Neural Circuits

7.4         Neuroplasticity in Adults

7.5         Disorders of Neurodevelopment: Autism and Williams Syndrome


Chapter 8

Brain Damage and Neuroplasticity

Can the Brain Recover from Damage?

8.1         Causes of Brain Damage

8.2         Neuropsychological Diseases

8.3         Animal Models of Human Neuropsychological Diseases

8.4         Neuroplastic Responses to Nervous System Damage: Degeneration, Regeneration, Reorganization, and Recovery

8.5         Neuroplasticity and the Treatment of Nervous System Damage


Chapter 9

Learning, Memory, and Amnesia

How Your Brain Stores Information

9.1         Amnesic Effects of Bilateral Medial Temporal Lobectomy

9.2         Amnesia of Korsakoff’s Syndrome

9.3         Amnesia of Alzheimer’s Disease

9.4         Amnesia after Concussion: Evidence for Consolidation

9.5         Neuroanatomy of Object-Recognition Memory

9.6         The Hippocampus and Memory for Spatial Location

9.7         Where Are Memories Stored?

9.8         Synaptic Mechanisms of Learning and Memory

9.9         Conclusion: Infantile Amnesia and the Biopsychologist Who Remembered H.M.


PART 4:  Biopsychology of Motivation


Chapter 10

Hunger, Eating, and Health

Why Do Many People Eat Too Much?

10.1         Digestion and Energy Flow

10.2         Theories of Hunger and Eating: Set Point versus Positive Incentives

10.3         Factors That Determine What, When, and How Much We Eat

10.4         Physiological Research on Hunger and Satiety

10.5         Body Weight Regulation: Set Points versus Settling Points

10.6         Human Obesity

10.7         Anorexia and Dieting


Chapter 11

Hormones and Sex

What’s Wrong with the Mamawawa?

11.1         The Neuroendocrine System

11.2         Hormones and Sexual Development

11.3         Three Cases of Exceptional Human Sexual Development

11.4         Effects of Gonadal Hormones on Adults

11.5         Neural Mechanisms of Sexual Behavior

11.6         Sexual Orientation, Hormones, and the Brain


Chapter 12

Sleep, Dreaming, and Circadian Rhythms

How Much Do You Need to Sleep?

12.1         Physiological and Behavioral Events of Sleep

12.2         REM Sleep and Dreaming

12.3         Why Do We Sleep, and Why Do We Sleep When We Do?

12.4         Comparative Analysis of Sleep

12.5         Circadian Sleep Cycles

12.6         Effects of Sleep Deprivation

12.7         Four Areas of the Brain Involved in Sleep

12.8         The Circadian Clock: Neural and Molecular Mechanisms

12.9         Drugs That Affect Sleep

12.10       Sleep Disorders

12.11       The Effects of Long-Term Sleep Reduction


PART 5:  Biopsychology of Health


Chapter 13

Health Psychology

Addiction, Emotions, and Stress:  Impact of Psychological factors on Health

13.1         Principles of Drug Addiction

13.2         Effects on Health of Five Commonly Abused Drugs

13.3         Addiction and the Neural Mechanisms of Motivation

13.4         Introduction to the Biopsychology of Emotion

13.5         Stress and Health

13.6         Brain Mechanisms of Emotion


Chapter 14

Lateralization, Language, and the Split Brain

The Left Brain and the Right Brain of Language

14.1         Cerebral Lateralization of function: Introduction

14.2         The Split Brain

14.3         Differences between the Left and Right Hemispheres

14.4         Cortical Localization of Language: The Wernecicke-Geschwind Model

14.5         Evaluation of the Wernicke-Geschwind Model

14.6         The Cognitive Neuroscience approach to Language

14.7         The Cognitive Neuroscience Approach and Dyslexia


Chapter 15

Behavioral Neuroscience of Psychiatric Disorders

The Brain Unhinged

15.1         Schizophrenia

15.2         Affective Disorders: Depression and Mania

15.3         Anxiety Disorders

15.4         Tourette Syndrome

15.5         Clinical Trial: Development of New Psychotherapeutic Drugs



Appendix I: The Autonomic Nervous System

Appendix II: Some Functions of Sympathetic and Parasympathetic Activation

Appendix III: The Cranial Nerves

Appendix IV: Functions of the Cranial Nerves

Appendix V: Nuclei of the Thalamus

Appendix VI: Nuclei of the Hypothalamus



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  • Colorful Introduction to the Anatomy of the Human Brain, A: A Brain and Psychology Coloring Book, 2nd Edition
    John P.J. Pinel, Maggie Edwards

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