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    Schools of Psychology and Aspects of Behavior

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    Define the main biological influences of psychology.

    What is cognitive & psycho-social components of human development?

    Distinguish differing schools of psychology.

    What are the major perspectives of psychological science?

    Explain normal and pathological behavior.

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    1. Define the main biological influences of psychology.

    The main biological influences of psychology are the brain, neurotransmitters, hormones and genes. Neurotransmitters are the message-carrying chemicals stored in synaptic vesicles of the brain. Examples of neurotransmitters and hormones and their effect on psychological functions include:

    1) Dopamine: It plays a role in our ability to pay attention, integrate information, control muscle movement and associate sensations with memories. Too little dopamine is associated with feeling tired mentally and having incontrollable shakes. Too much dopamine is associated with schizophrenia, a psychological disorder.

    2) Serotonin. It affects the degree to which one feels calm, and it suppresses pain and impulse control. Too little serotonin is associated with insomnia, depression, suicide, and poor impulse controls.

    3) Endocrine System and Hormones. The endocrine system is a network of glands in various parts of the body that release hormones into the bloodstream. Hormones are chemicals manufactured by the endocrine glands in various parts of the body that release hormones into the bloodstream. Hormones are chemical messengers within the bloodstream that control physiological processes and mood, behavior, etc., similar to the neurotransmitters in the brain except that they work in the bloodstream versus the brain. Stress and environmental events have a significant interaction and relationship with the endocrine system (http://www.psychcourse.com/biopsych).

    The Endocrine Glands are part of biology that impacts behavior.

    o Thyroid Gland - Releases hormones that regulate metabolism, development and growth.
    o Pancreas - Releases hormones that regulate the metabolism of sugar and juices containing enzymes needed for digestion.
    o Pituitary Gland - Controls hormones released by other endocrine glands.
    o Adrenal Gland - Releases hormones that affect energy level, mood and long-term reactions to stress.
    o Testes/Ovaries - Male and female reproductive organs. Testes produce sperm and release sex hormones in males. Ovaries produce egg cells and release sex hormones in females (http://www.psychcourse.com/biopsych).

    In terms of genetic influence on behavior, this is what we inherit through DNA. It is well accepted in the research community that some things like the color of our eyes or freckles are inherited, but others are still being investigated (aggression, intelligence, etc.). For example, the nature-nurture controversy still exists, arguing which behavior is determined by biology (nature) and which are determined by the environment (nurture). The environmental factors also play a role, such as family structure, parenting styles, peer relations, neighborhood you grew up in, etc.

    2. What is cognitive & psycho-social components of human development?

    Piaget and Vygotsky have proposed a theory of Cognitive and Social cognitive development to consider to this section.

    Cognitive components includes the concepts of cognitive operation, cognitive process, mental process, process, operation, which is the performance of some composite cognitive activity-- an operation that affects mental contents. Cognition is "the process of thinking"; "the cognitive operation of remembering" (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/psychological+science).

    The comments of cognitive processes change qualitatively based on the four stages proposed by Piaget, for about the ages listed:

    o Sensorimotor thinking (years 0 to 2) e.g., thinking based on sensory information, reflexes and to meet needs through others.
    o Preoperational thought (years 2 to 6)
    o Concrete operational thinking processes (years 6 to 12) e.g., characterized by appropriate use of logic. Important processes during this stage (e.g. seriation, classification, decentering, reversibility, conservation, elimination of egocentrism)
    o Formal operational thought (years 12 and up) characterized by abstract thinking, and increasing abilities to reason logically and draw conclusions from the information available, as well as apply all these processes to hypothetical situations (see more on each stage at http://chiron.valdosta.edu/whuitt/col/cogsys/piaget.html).

    Vygotsky's theory of social development focused on the connections between people and the ...

    Solution Summary

    With thorough responses, this solution examines aspects of psychology, such as defines the main biological influences of psychology, the cognitive and psycho-social components of human development; distinguishes differing schools of psychology; the major perspectives of psychological science, and; explains normal and pathological behavior.