Functional psychology is the study of how humans respond to and operate within a structure that is determined by its environment. Humans have developed an incredible amount of behavioral mechanisms that are geared to facilitate the survival of our species in the face of threats. In recent years, it has been proposed that these same mechanisms might underlie the cause and prevention of disease. Understanding the neurobiological underpinnings of disease requires a behavioral science that is integrated with a cognitive neuroscience that addresses the many differences between people while they engage in the same behaviors. This book Review focuses on the first book in this exciting new series:
Behavioral Theory: The Social Brain by Bryan Keunanen is a book review of the popular book, The Social Brain by Bryan Kearney. The premise of the book is that humans are shaped by their environment in much the same way that animals are. Therefore, behavior that becomes normal and/or appropriate according to a particular culture is also normal and/or appropriate in most cultures. This theory can help modify our understanding of the brain and how it creates and operates in a world that is increasingly personalized via social interaction.
According to this theory, social information processing, social categorization and the transmission of brain chemicals occur in parallel with behavioral processes. Social categories include race, age, gender and even gender identity or perceived gender identity. These factors all affect how our brains operate and how they relate to each other.
Functional imaging technologies have in the past decade revolutionized the study of the human brain and its functions. Functional MRI scans have revealed many of the structures and functions of the human brain that had not been realized before. This technology has revealed that the human brain consists of several core modular components. These core modular components are composed of five major functions including language, memory, speech recognition, visual processing, movement and activity control. Many of these core functions are involved in speech recognition and in the process of language processing. They also appear to be critical components of an individual's mental functioning.
Another emerging area of research in the field of functional psychiatry is neuroanatomy and neurophysiology. The study of the physical structure and function of the brain through the means of x-rays, MRI scans and PET scans is referred to as neuroanatomy. In addition to studying the brain, these studies have also looked at how these areas of the brain affect behavior. One set of theories consider the relationship between handedness and brain function. Neuroanatomy and neurophysiology theories consider how abnormalities or disruptions to these vital anatomical parts of the brain affect brain function.
One of the emerging areas of study in functional psychology is called cognitive neuroscience. This area studies how thought and behavior arise from brain mechanisms and how these mechanisms relate to each other. It looks at how our cognitive . . . . . . capacities develop through childhood and what influences those mechanisms. This emerging area of study is very important for those who want to understand more about how society works, how the brain works, and how to live better lives.