Here's a question for you. What weighs a mere three pounds and has the consistency of gelatin? You got it, that mushy thing between our ears--the brain. Previously thought in ancient times to be irrelevant to mental life, biological psychologists have come a long way in studying the relationship between the network of nerve cells, spinal chord, and magnificent brain with behavior.
Chapter 3 provides an extensive overview of neuroscience, addressing the fundamental way the brain communicates, and how the central nervous system works as a command center while the peripheral nervous system carries out messages determined by the command center. The brain is also compartmentalized such that different areas are responsible for the various functions and behaviors the body exhibits. The chapter sheds light on methods used to explore the brain and it's functioning. These methods are in the realm of familiar procedures like CT, MRI, and PET scans as well as many others.
Finally, the chapter sheds light on the origins of psychological characteristics with introducing the debate of "Nature vs. Nurture". In other words, biological scientists are interested in knowing to what extent our heredity, adaptation, and evolution impact the brain and our resulting behavior and to what extent the environment has on the formation of our behavior. To study this, scientists use family studies, twin studies, and adoption studies.
What struck me as particularly interesting was the role science has played in determining the functioning of the brain, and the popular notions about the brain it has falsified. In ancient times, the heart was perceived to be the center of human thought. It was reasoned that the heart must be causal of emotions since it was observed to beat rapidly in response to anxiety, anger, or fear. This "common sense" approach was completely off base however. Without the practice of science and demand for evidence to avoid belief perseverance and misinformed perceived notions, the developments for the discovery of the human brain and its functioning would not have occurred. I think we can all agree that at least a basic understanding of the brain is necessary since it is one of the most important organs in our body. This alone makes the case for why the demand for scientific truth is extremely important.
More recently, scans used to explore the brain today have helped scientists determine that 100% of the regions in the brain have some form of function. This drastically contradicts the common perception that humans only use 10% of our brains. The Hollywood blockbuster "Limitless" is plotted off of this generalized notion (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6d1Uc68wt3c) but does not have a real scientific basis.
Psychology: From Inquiry to Understanding, Second Edition, by Scott Lilienfeld, Steven Lynn, Laura Namy, and Nancy Woolf.