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Serotonin: A Very Brief History Of Psychology

The evolution of Psychology is very interesting. The field of psychology has grown from using crude tools to chip a hole in a person’s head to allow “Evil Spirits” to escape to numerous branches and concentrations (Feldman 2015). In reality we have only begun to understand how the brain functions. The future of psychology, with the help of technology advancements, will inevitably unlock the mysteries of the brain. Question 1 Explain the historical evolution of psychology, tracing its roots from Ancient Greece to the modern day.

Identify and describe three of “today’s perspectives,” and explain in detail which perspective you think best explains the root of human behavior. Psychology can date its beginnings as far back as 387 BC when Plato suggested the brain was the mechanism of mental process (Heffner, 2015). The early years of psychology were primitive to say the least. In the 17th Century a British philosopher introduced his idea of Tabula Rosa. He believed that children had minds like “blank slates” and that their experiences determined the type of adult they would become (Feldman, 2015).

In 1807 Franz Gall introduced hi theory that the shape of a person’s skull and placement of bumps on their head revealed personality traits, also known as Phrenology. It wasn’t until Wilhelm Wundt, in 1879, established a laboratory dedicated to studying psychological phenomena that modern day psychology began. In the late 1800s the field of Psychology appears to grow. Charles Darwin published “On the Origin of Species”. Paul Broca, a French Physician, discovered an area of the left frontal lobe that affects speech, now known as Broca’s area.

G. Stanley Hall received the first American Ph. D. in psychology and later founded the American Psychology Association. In 1890 William James published his “Principles of Psychology” that later became the foundation for functionalism (Heffner, 2015). Psychology expanded in the 1900s with Sigmund Feud’s ‘Interpretation of Dreams’. This marked the beginning of Psychoanalytic Thought. In 1901 the British Psychological Society was founded. Ivan Pavlov published his first studies on Classical Conditioning in 1906 (Heffner, 2015). Gestalt Psychology became influential at this time, which emphasizes how perception is organized (Feldman, 2015).

Carl Jung separated from Freudian thought and established his own theories which became known as Analytical Psychology. These are but a few examples of how rapidly the field of psychology grew in the 1900s. Today, psychology is ever expanding. New, rapidly growing, subfields are being developed such as Evolutionary Psychology, Behavioral Psychology, and Clinical Neuropsychology. As technology advances, allowing psychologists to learn more of how the brain functions, so will the fields of Psychology. Women had a large role in the development of field of Psychology as well. Due to early prejudices, women were not allowed to participate.

Despite the prejudices’ many women like Margret Floy Washborn, the first woman to receive a doctorate in psychology, were able to become key contributors to the field of psychology. Interesting, today women earn more than three fourths of new psychology doctorate degrees (Feldman, 2015). There are several Perspectives of psychology, one of which is the Psychodynamic Perspective. This perspective emphasizes on the role of the unconscious mind, early childhood experiences, and interpersonal relationships (Kendra Cherry, 2015). Sigmund Freud is credited with the origin of this perspective. The Behavioral Perspective focuses on observed behavior.

Thanks to this field of thought, most of what is understood of how new behaviors are learned is known today. Although this field widely dominated the psychology field in the early 20th century, it lost its popularity in the 1950s. It is still used today to help treat mental disorders, aggression, sexual problems and addictions. The Cognitive perspective began to become popular in the 1960s. This area of psychology focuses on memory, thinking, problem solving, language, and decision making (Cherry, 2015). This perspective is often explained by comparing the human mind to a computer and how information is received, stored, and utilized.

I believe the Behavioral Perspective explains the root of human behavior. This field is dedicated to studying human behavior. By focusing on what outside influences effect human behavior you are essentially learning why humans are the way they are, in simple terms. Question 2 You are interested in conducting a research study that investigates whether listening to different types of music while studying improves test scores in an Introduction to Psychology course. Detailing the ethical considerations, the scientific method, and experimental research methods, how would you implement this research study from start to finish?

In preparation for my experiment I would first need to gather information regarding my research subject. Once I have enough information I can then develop theories and a hypothesis. The theory of this experiment is music will have both adverse and positive effects on individuals while taking tests. The hypothesis, based on the information gathered would be that those listening to classical music will have better test score than those listening to rock and hip hop. To prepare for the actual experiment I will to plan the experiment, decide what the independent and dependant variables are.

For this experiment the independent variables will be different types of music; classical, rock, and hip hop. The dependent variables are the test scores of the different test groups. A control I needed to compare the results to. The control group for this experiment will be individuals who take a test without music. Additional controls of the experiment will be the volume of the music, all test groups will listen to the different types of music at the same volume level, and the test its self, the test will be on general subjects of a 8th grade level.

Prior to conducting the experiment test subjects will be given the details of the experiment and must provide consent to the experiment. Since the aspects of this experiment are not harmful, the safety risk of the test subjects is very low. To gain a good range of results 400 test subjects will be required, 100 per test group and control group. Once the tests are administered and graded the results will then be averaged and compared, hopefully providing accurate results. Question 3 Choose three neurotransmitters, and discuss how each one impacts an individual’s thoughts, feelings, or behaviors.

Endorphins are a neurotransmitter produced by the brain. It is a chemical that the brain uses to shield an individual from feeling pain, similar to painkillers such as Morphine. Runners often feel what is called a “runner’s high” after long runs. This can be attributed to the release of endorphins to mask the pain from running (Feldman, 2015). Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that affects movement control, feeling of pleasure and reward, and attention. The part of the brain that regulates movement is called the basal ganglia. The basal ganglia depend on a certain amount of dopamine to run functions efficiently.

When dopamine levels are high the brain causes the body to make unnecessary movements. In regards to pleasure and reward, the brain releases dopamine to stimulate the pleasure feelings associated with the action. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter associated with sleep, eating, mood, and pain (Feldman, 2015). It is manufactured in the brain and the intestines. An imbalance of serotonin levels are thought to be related to depression. Currently serotonin levels can be tested in the blood stream through a serum serotonin level test, but are not able to test the levels in the brain.

Discuss an event in your life when your sympathetic nervous system became activated. What changes did you notice to your body? Many years ago I was involved in a car accident. It was my fault, I ran into the back of another car at a pretty good speed. It ended up totaling my car due to the airbags being deployed. I can remember just as I realized that I could not avoid hitting the other car my entire body tensed up. It was as though my brain took control and made every muscle tighten to brace for the impact. An odd thing that happened as well is I couldn’t remember what happened from the time just before impact to a minute after.

It was though my brain shut down for that minute, possably to keep me from feeling the pain of the accident. Question 5 Suppose you were to suffer an accident to the frontal lobe of your brain. Describe what effects you might notice as a result of this accident. Explain the role of neuroplasticity would have in your recovery. An injury to the frontal lobe can cause impairments in judgment, attention span, organizational abilities, and loss of motivation. One with damage to the frontal lobe could become impulsive or adopt risky behavior (BrainandSpinalCord. org, 2015).

Had I had this type injury I could cause me to do things that I would have otherwise not done, for example drive at very excessive speeds or even try different type of drugs. The injury could cause me to react on impulse instead of thinking them through. An example could be hitting a wall out of frustration. Normal I would control the impulse, but after a frontal lobe injury the impulse could take over. Based on the definition of neuroplasticity, after the injury the brain would begin to reorganize the processes and memories from the damaged area to regain some normalcy.

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