Biological Psychology (or Biopsychology) looks at how human thought and behaviour is affected by our bodies. In the past, this sort of research was limited by having to look at dead bodies but new medical technology means we can study living brains and look at biology on a genetic level. Biopsychology may become the most influential approach to psychology in the 21st century.
The main assumption of Biopsychology is that human beings are no more than "meat machines" and that everything we do and think can be explained in purely biological ways. This outlook is reductionist because it reduces complex things to simple explanations. When reading these studies, ask yourself if this biological reductionism is a strength or a weakness... or even both at once.
Another assumption is that biological processes like brain activity can be measured using scientific equipment in a lab. Scientific measures like this certainly produce detailed quantitative data, but miss out on the "human touch" of rich, qualitative data. You should ask yourself when reading these studies whether people will be feeling or acting normally in these lab conditions.
Click on the picture to view the Dement & Kleitman page. We will be posting a summary of the study, slide shows and lecture notes, various handouts and web links.
Click on this picture to view the Sperry page. You will find a summary of the study, slide shows and lecture notes, all the class handouts and some very interesting web links.
Click the picture to go to the Independent Study page where you will be able to research this study. Read the summary then download the slideshow and note-taking sheets. Then download and attempt the assessment questions.