Essay: Biological Psychology

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Psychology - Biological Psychology


The Origin and Development of Biological Theories of Psychology:

The earliest known origin of biological theories of human psychology go back to antiquity, as much as a millennium before the Common Era. More recently, classical philosophers of the Middle Ages, and later, of the post-Enlightenment era considered the relationship of biology and human psychology in relation to concepts of free will, biological determinism, and moral responsibility (Pinker, 2002). In the 17th century, Rene Descartes postulated that all human behavior could be explained by a sufficiently detailed understanding of biological processes and systemic reactions (Gerrig & Zimbardo, 2005).

In the 19th century, Paul Broca investigated the role of brain injury and abnormalities in relation to human speech. Broca was eventually able to establish through empirical evidence that a specific region of the brain was responsible for human speech; in connection with that discovery, the region was later named Broca's area in recognition of the importance of his foundational work in the field of biopsychology (Gerrig & Zimbardo, 2005). At approximately the same time, the both the medical world and the emerging field of neuropsychology were advanced substantially by the accident that occurred to railway worker Phineas Gage in 1848.

Gage had been the victim of an explosion accident that caused a 3-foot, 7-inch steel rod to pierce his skull and lodge itself through his brain, its ends protruding from below his left eye socket and from the top of his skull in the area of the frontal cortex.

The fact that Gage survived in the pre-antibiotic era of medicine and before Lister's Germ Theory of disease was unexpected. The fact that he did provided some of the earliest evidence of the extent to which specific areas of the brain are responsible for specific aspects of human personality (Dennet, 1991). Gage survived the accident but with significant personality changes that were attributable directly to the destruction of a portion of his frontal cortex.

Major Underlying Assumption of Biological Theory of Psychology:

The major underlying assumptions of biological theories of psychology are that psychological behavior is merely the external expression of variations in biological structure, processes, and responses to stimuli. According to the bio-psychological or neurophysiological theory of human behavior, hard-wired elements of brain structure and other individual characteristics of biological structure determine the way that organisms respond to the external environment. This… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Biological Psychology.  (2008, November 24).  Retrieved October 21, 2019, from

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"Biological Psychology."  24 November 2008.  Web.  21 October 2019. <>.

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"Biological Psychology."  November 24, 2008.  Accessed October 21, 2019.