The Foundations of Psychological Theory

By Robert E. Lana | Go to book overview

9
Physiological Theory

Of all the disciplines of psychology, physiological inquiry seems to be the one most associated with the methodologies and theoretical schema that have been so successful in other areas of science. It is an area that has enjoyed some of the successes of chemistry and biology. Indeed, in the past 20 years, many interesting discoveries have been made in the realm of physiological psychology.

The major development in physiological psychology over the past several years has been the further delineation of centers of behavioral control in the central nervous system. This development is the continuation of a long-term interest in brain localization. Several years ago work was begun on brain implantation. It consisted of an electrochemical analysis of reactions to stimulation of certain brain structures. This work has shown that certain emotional reactions are directly controlled by cell aggregates in the central brain portion. Perhaps the most dramatic discovery has been the delineation of many of the functions of the hypothalamus and the limbic systems. Advances were made in analyzing these structures by the construction of sterotaxic equipment, which allowed for implantations of very fine electrodes so that a particular center could be stimulated. These techniques and equipment have recently been refined to an even greater degree.

It is fairly certain that a peer system exists in the central core of the brain that consists of two levels, the lower in the hypothalamus and the higher in the limbic system, specifically within the amygdala.

Electrochemical stimulation of certain points in the hypothalamus provides a fear reaction without any signs of pain in a stimulated animal. When the cat is used as an experimental subject, its pupils actually dilate, heart rate is increased, and there is great restlessness and attempts to escape the apparatus, or else the animal may completely freeze. Stimulation of certain parts of the

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The Foundations of Psychological Theory
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface xi
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - A Selective History Of Psychological Thought From the Greeks To the Early Behaviorists 7
  • 2 - A Selective History Of Social and Motivational Concepts In Psychology 39
  • 3 - Phenomenology and Psychology 57
  • 4 - Subject and Object Fused 73
  • 5 - The Nature of Data 86
  • 6 - Personality Theory 103
  • 7 - Social Theory 118
  • 9 - Physiological Theory 143
  • 10 - Values and Psychology 153
  • References 167
  • Author Index 171
  • Subject Index 174
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