What Is Biopsychology?

Biopsychology is a branch of psychology that explores how the neurotransmitters within the brain affect emotion and behavior. It is typically considered a subdivision of psychology that marries the field with biology.

The basic ideology of biopsychology is that human behavior is influenced by natural physiological processes that take place within the brain. Several different terms are used to describe the field, including behavioral neuroscience, psychobiology and physiological psychology.

According to the University of Michigan, the fundamental basis for psychobiological research is that behavior and biology are inextricably intertwined. The field is often closely linked to comparative psychology. Research areas within biopsychology may include studies of the brain itself, the cells within the brain, and behavioral patterns of humans or animals. Psychobiological research may be conducted in a positive manner by facilitating enhancements to neurological function, or negatively by systematically destroying neurological function in order to determine the outcome and its permanency.

The field of biopsychology has grown exponentially since the later half of the 20th century. Several Nobel Prize-winning scientists have been honored in areas directly related to biopsychology. For example, American scientists Linda B. Buck and Richard Axel were awarded a Nobel Prize in 2004 for their work involving the neurons in olfactory receptors.