I. Approach #1: Neurophysiology

(Neurobiology, Neuroscience, Physiological Psychology, biomedical): An approach which emphasizes that all actions, feelings, and thoughts are associated with bodily events such as the firing of nerve cells in the brain or the release of hormones).

A. View of humans:

Picture of brain

B. What psychology should be:

C. Founded by quacks, biologists, and physicians and is still extremely popular today.

Examples of past adventures in neurophysiological research:


Examples of its popularity today:

D. Objections/Problems with this "physical" approach

1. Philosophical question: The mind-body problem

        Near death experiences

                Evidence for more the mind being more than the body?

                Scientific (body) explanations for out-of-body experiences (video)

2. Two (past) scientific problems

(Remember: Science depends on e_____________).



E. Promising new developments

F. Applications to Therapy

1. Techniques

    a. Drugs

            Ad for bipolar medication

    b. ECT

    c. Surgery

            In the past, surgery included lobotomy.

                    Story of a person who had a lobotomy  (from PBS).

                    A brief history of the lobotomy

2. Questions/Objections to Biological Therapies

You should now be able to:

1. Explain why no single approach is sufficient to completely understand human behavior.

2. Explain the neurophysiological approach to psychology.

3. List at least three objections to the neurophysiological approach.

4. Describe at least one instance where the neurophysiological approach has been very successful.

5. Evaluate the statement: The neurophysiological approach is the most scientific approach to studying psychology.

6. Be able to explain how a neurophysiologist would diagnose a violent individual.

You should also:

  1. Get a more detailed look at how the brain and nervous system work.
  2. Look at this very nice web site that has something (neurophysiological) for everyone. It starts by explaining the very basics of neurophysiology at a level an elementary school child could understand. However, you can also, if you wish, go fairly far beyond the basics at this site. Despite the name, it's not just for kids! A good beginning point is the link for "Exploring the brain and nervous system."
  3. Know some of the differences between the left and right brain (interesting video).

  4. Review this concept map.
  5. Go through this interactive tour of the brain.
  6. Go through this cool memory and the brain tutorial from National Geographic.
  7. If you have time, you might play with this interactive brain (from open colleges).
  8. Take this short quiz.
  9. Be sure that you understand the basics of the neuron.

Back to Schools of Psychology

Back to Lecture Menu