This week, you will complete a a nnotated b ibliography Choosing what area of biological psychology begins with examining the following areas related to the course competencies. Choose 3 areas from the list below. One thing to remember this is a course on psychology so the r esearch should relate to and less on purely the medical issues related to the disorders and conditions that may be part of your r esearch:
Title: Annotated Bibliography: Advancements in Biological Psychology
Biological psychology, also referred to as biopsychology or behavioral neuroscience, encompasses the scientific study of the biological bases of behavior and mental processes. This interdisciplinary field investigates the ways in which physiological processes and environmental factors interact to shape and influence human cognition, emotions, and behavior. The purpose of this annotated bibliography is to provide an overview of recent advancements in three key areas of biological psychology: neuroplasticity, gene-environment interactions, and the influence of stress on mental health.
Neuroplasticity refers to the brain’s ability to reorganize and adapt its structure and function in response to environmental experiences. Traditional beliefs stated that the brain’s neural architecture was rigid and fixed during adulthood. However, recent research has demonstrated that the brain retains a remarkable degree of plasticity throughout the lifespan. In their study, Draganski et al. (2004) utilized magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to investigate structural changes in the brains of individuals who engaged in extensive juggling practice. The researchers found a significant increase in brain gray matter density within the visual area responsible for processing the juggling movements. This study not only provides evidence for the role of neuroplasticity in learning and skill development but also highlights the potential applications of this knowledge in therapeutic interventions for neurodegenerative disorders.
Gene-environment interactions refer to the interplay between genetic factors and environmental influences on an individual’s phenotype. Emerging evidence indicates that genes alone do not determine an individual’s susceptibility to mental illnesses or predisposition to certain behaviors. Rather, environmental factors can modify gene expression and contribute to the development of complex traits. Caspi et al. (2003) conducted a groundbreaking longitudinal study to investigate whether a polymorphism in the serotonin transporter gene (5-HTT) moderated the influence of stressful life events on the development of depression. The results revealed that individuals carrying the short allele of the 5-HTT gene were more vulnerable to developing depression after experiencing significant life stressors. This study highlights the importance of considering gene-environment interactions in understanding the etiology and treatment of mental disorders, emphasizing the need for personalized approaches to mental healthcare.
Influence of Stress on Mental Health:
Stress, a physiological and psychological response to challenging situations, can profoundly impact mental health. Prolonged or chronic exposure to stress can increase the risk of developing mental disorders such as anxiety and depression. The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis is a key neuroendocrine system involved in the stress response. McEwen and Sapolsky (1995) conducted an extensive literature review to explore the effects of chronic stress on the HPA axis and its implications for mental health. They concluded that chronic stress can dysregulate the HPA axis, leading to altered cortisol levels and impairments in neural plasticity and cognitive function. Furthermore, chronic activation of the stress response can contribute to the development of stress-related psychiatric disorders. This review serves as a foundation for understanding the biological mechanisms underlying the relationship between stress and mental health, shedding light on potential therapeutic interventions targeting the stress response system.
This annotated bibliography provides a glimpse into recent advancements in three key areas of biological psychology: neuroplasticity, gene-environment interactions, and the influence of stress on mental health. By examining research findings in these areas, we gain a deeper understanding of the complex interplay between biological and environmental factors in shaping human behavior and mental processes. The implications of these advancements extend to therapeutic interventions, personalized approaches to mental healthcare, and the development of preventive strategies aimed at promoting mental well-being. Further research in these areas promises to uncover new insights into the intricate mechanisms governing the human brain and provide innovative approaches to improving mental health outcomes.