Neurotransmitters are chemicals that are
released from the axon terminals, They pass
across the synapse, to pass on the signal to
the dendrites of the next neurone.
Sensory neurons- The nerve cells that transmit
electrical impulses from receptors to the CNS.
Relay neurons- The nerve cells that transmit electrical
impulses between sensory neurons and motor neurons.
Motor neurons- The nerve cells that transmit
electrical impulses from the CNS to the effectors.
stimulus → receptors → CNS → effectors → response
Vesicles are filled with
neurotransmitters in the axon
terminals and they release
them across the synapse to the
pre-synaptic neuron. The
neurotransmitters meet the
receptors on the other axon
and trigger an electrical
impulse. The neurotransmitters
are then reabsorbed by the
increase the likelihood that
an electrical impulse will be
triggered in the post
synaptic neuron. Inhibitory
decrease the likelihood
than an electrical impulse
will be triggered in post
that helps with
The Central nervous system- made up
of the brain and the spinal cord.
The peripheral nervous system- made
up of the neurons that connect the
CNS to the rest of the body.
The somatic nervous
activities e.g digestion.
system gets the body
ready for action. It's the
'fight or flight' system.
calms the body down.
It's the 'rest and
The endocrine system
involves glands and
are secreted when a
gland is stimulated.
Hormones diffuse into
the blood and they're
taken around the body in
the circulatory system.
The hormones trigger a
response in the
Hypothalamus- homeostasis (thirst,
Pituitary gland- master gland. releases hormones
to control other glands. Releases oxytocin.
Adrenal gland- produces adrenaline. Outer part is
the Adrenal Cortex - releases cortisol for stress. Inner
part is the Adrenal Medulla- produces adrenaline.
Fight or flight: -Increased heart and blood
rate. -Digestion decreases. -Muscles become
tense. -Perspiration increases. -Breathing
rate increases. -Salivation decreases.
Diencephalon- Thalamus and hypothalamus.
Cerebrum- Largest part; includes all the lobes.
thought, speech and
hearing & memory.
Brain stem- Automatic functions.
Cerebellum- Balance and coordination.
All behaviour has a physical
neuroanatomy or genetics.
Genotype and phenotype
Genotype is the genetic code
written into the DNA of individual
cells. Phenotype is the physical
appearance of the individual.
Monozygotic twins (MZ) share 100% of
eachother's genes. Dizygotic twins (DZ)
share 50% of eachother's genes.
inherited in the
same way as
as hair colour.
Phineas Gage- had damage to his frontal lobe after
an explosion at work. Afterwards he was
unorganised, impulsive and aggressive.
PET scans- shows which part of the brain is
active during different tasks. Helps us link
certain parts to certain functions.
Raine- Pet scans of 41
murderers were compared
to the brains of similar
cortex activity was found to
be lower in the murderer,
concluding that the frontal
lobe is important in the
control of impulsive
Proposed by Charles
Darwin- any genetically
determined behaviour that
enhances both survival and
reproduction will be passed
onto future generations.
ADV: Uses scientific approaches, creates
reliable, testable and objective data. Has
real life application; led to the
development of psychoactive drugs to
treat disorders. Determinist; bases
human behaviour on natural functions
which we have no control over
(avoidance of personal responsibility) .
DISAD: Does not take into account the
role of peoples environment, their
family and experiences.
Opened the Institute for
Experimental Psychology in Germany
in 1879. He separated psychology
from philosophy and focused on
studying the mind in a much more
structured and scientific way.
Introspection- a psychological method
which involves analysing your own
thoughts and feelings internally.
Participants were asked to describe
their experiences when presented with
a set of stimuli.
-Doesn't explain how the mind works. It
relies on people describing their
thoughts and feelings, which isn't
usually objective. - It doesn't provide
data that can be used reliably. Because
people are reporting on their
experiences and there is no proof that
what is being said is accurate.
what people take
into their minds
Inference- the process
conclusions about the
way mental processes
operate on the basis of
Self-schemas- contain information about
ourselves based on physical characteristics and
personality, as well as beliefs and values. Self
schemas can affect how you act.
Computers and computer
models are often used to
explain how we think and
behave. Humans are treated
as information processors
(computers) and behaviour is
explained in terms of
The brain is described
as a processor, it has a
data input and a data
output. Some parts of
the brain form
networks. Some parts
can work sequentially .
Data input → processing → data output.
Senses → brain processing → behaviour.
ADV: considers mental processes
which are often overlooked in other
approaches. It has had a big
influence on the development of
therapies, e.g CBT. DISAD: Research is
often carried out in artificial
situations and the role of emotion
and influence from other people is
often ignored. Cognitive psychology
fails to take individual differences
into account by assuming that all of
us process things in the same way
Only interested in behaviour that
can be observed and measured. All
behaviour is learnt from experience..
The same laws apply to human and
non-human animal behaviour. We
are born as a 'blank slate' there is no
genetic influence on behaviour.
Pavlov- formulated classical
studying dogs. The
salivatory reflex is a
response which occurs
automatically when food is
placed on the dogs tongue.
He noticed that dogs
salivated in response to
anything associated to
feeding (bowl etc.). By
ringing a bell prior to
feeding pavlov could
condition the dogs to
salivate just in response to
UCS = UCR.
UCS + NS =
UCR. CS= CR.
Generalisation- The conditioned response is produced
when a similar stimulus to the original is presented.
Extinction- A conditioned response dies out.
Spontaneous recovery- A conditioned response that had
disappeared suddenly appears again.
Discrimination- The conditioned response is only
produced when a specific stimulus is presented.
Behaviour is learnt
and shaped through
Positive reinforcement- When something desirable is obtained in
response to doing something (a reward) e.g food. This increases the
likelihood of the behaviour being repeated.
Negative reinforcement- When something undesirable is
removed when something happens, e.g getting no more
homework if you pass your test.
Skinner- designed an experiment to demonstrate the
principles of operant conditioning. A rat or pigeon was
placed in a box. Positive reinforcement was shown by
receiving a food pellet when a button was pressed. Negative
reinforcement was shown by turning off the electrically
charged floor when a lever was pressed. Punishment was
shown by issuing a shock when a button was pressed.
Thorndike- Designed the Puzzle box. A cat
was but into a box and had to hit a latch
and pull a string in order to be let out and
receive food. After several times of being
put in the box, the cat got out quickly.
Suggests we learn by
observing a model,
imitating their behaviour,
motivated by the hope of
gaining some kind of
reinforcement is that we
are more likely to copy a
model if we see them being
praised for doing
something, and we are less
likely to copy them if we
see them being punished
for doing something.
Meditating processes: ATTENTION- the observer must watch the
behaviour being modelled. RETENTION- The behaviour must be
remembered. REPRODUCTION- The observer has to be
physically and mentally able to reproduce the behaviour.
MOTIVATION- The observer must want to imitate the behaviour.
Bandura- 72 children between 3-5 years old were taken into a
room and saw an adult interact with toys, one of which was an
inflatable 'Bobo doll'. Half of the children saw the adult playing
aggressively and hitting the doll; and the other half saw a
non-aggressive adult. The groups were further divided into gender.
The children were then left alone with the doll and observed for 20
mins. Children imitated what they saw, especially when it was the
same sex. The children who saw aggression were aggressive to the
Children are more likely to imitate the behaviour of people whom
they identify with. Such role models are similar to the observer,
tend to be attractive, of the same gender, and have high status.
in a way that emphasises
the importance of
subjective experience and
each person's capacity for
Assumptions- Humans are
self-determining (free will). We are all
unique. People should be viewed
holistically, Scientific methods are not
appropriate . Personal growth is an
essential part of being human. Focus
is on the concept of 'self'.
Rogers discussed the concept
of personal growth which is
concerned with moving
towards becoming fulfilled
and goal-orientated. He
argued that, in order to
achieve personal growth,
there must be congruence
between our actual self and
our ideal self.
Rogers developed a
therapy known as
to help those people
who have too much
Rogers believed that people could only
fulfill their potential if they have positive
self regard. This can only happen when
they have the unconditional positive
regard of others- they feel they are valued
and respected without reservation by
those around them. The problem some
people have is they feel they will only be
loved if they meet certain conditions of
worth (exam grades etc.)
Maslow acknowledged that
people have a variety of needs
that differ in immediacy and
which need satisfying at
different times. He arranged
these into a hierarchy. Those
who satisfy all their needs
might become self-actualisers.
He believed that prolonged
periods where a particular
need was not satisfied could
result in a sort of fixation.
Qualitative methods are preferred,
particularly unstructured interviews.
Believed that reducing peoples
experience to numbers robs it of its
richness and meaning.
ADV: Not reductionist-
'brings the person back
to psychology'. DISAD:
Congruence- The aim of Rogerian therapy-
when the self-concept and ideal self are
seen to boradly accord or match.
Assumptions- Behaviour is
driven by unconscious
motives. Childhood is critical
period in development.
Mental disorders can arise
originating in childhood.
ID- based on pleasure
principle. First to
develop. Drives and
Present at birth.
If the ID becomes
dominant, this results in an
individual being pleasure
seeking and irrational.
EGO- Conscious part.
Based on reality
conflict between the
demands of the ID
Develops at 3.
Superego- based on our
morality principle. Relates
to our conscious, mostly
unconscious. Develops at
5 (phallic stage).
If the superego
becomes dominant, this
results in an individual
feeling excessive quilt.
Denial- Refusing to
acknowledge some aspect
thoughts are places in
the unconscious. Can
surface in dreams to
prevent their build-up.
unacceptable feelings on to
something or someone else.
May result in prejudice.
Oral- 0-18mths: Main source of pleasure is the
mouth. Fixations caused by under or over
breast feeding. Issues with trust and
dominance.. Smoking, biting nails, chewing.
Anal- 18-36mths: Pleasure from expelling
and/or withholding faeces. Fixations
caused by toilet training. issues with being
orderly, rigid and hating waste. Or
generous, thoughtless, messy.
Phallic- 3-6 yrs: Children focus on their
genitals and on opposite gender parent.
Fixations caused by lack of
identification. Problems with, vanity,
impulsiveness. Can cause
homosexuality or authority problems.
Genital- puberty: main
source of pleasure is the
genitals, focus of
independence. If some
issues remain unresolved,
the individual can't shift
focus from immediate
needs to larger
Little Hans: 5 year old boy with a phobia of horses after
seeing one collapse in the street, particularly white horses
with black mouths. He was afraid that they would bite him.
Freud suggested that his phobia was a form of
displacement in which he repressed his fear of his father
(his father was white with a black moustache). He feared
his father would castrate him due to experiencing the
ADV: Used to explain a wide
range of phenomena including
abnormal behaviour, moral
development and gender. Draws
attention to the connection
between experiences in
childhood and later
development. DISAD: Case
studies & untestable concepts