Maybe a roundabout would do the trick!

As a psych/neuroscience major I have spent all four years at Colby studying both the biological and psychological aspects of humanity. Thinking back, it seems that although many of my classes discussed the same issues, very few overlapped in theories. Some examples of where my classes did meet in the middle are in Sensation and Perception where we discussed the nerves associated with seeing, hearing, and feeling and in Sociology of Mental Health and Illness where we discussed the chemical imbalance in the brain causing abnormalities in behavior as well as the psychological and sociological contexts where the illnesses occurred.

In New Zealand I took a class called Biopsychology where we discussed many issues that had a foot in biology and psychology. We discussed the biology and psychology behind family order and occurrence of homosexuality and, most interestingly, how memory and the failure of memory occur. We researched and compared two theories, the Multiple Trace Theory and the Standard Model of Memory Consolidation. I found these contrasting theories intriguing.

Although we didn’t concentrate on psychopathology in my sociology class on mental health and illness I think that I have learned a great deal about the biological and psychological aspects of mental diseases and daily life experiences in the past four years at Colby. I agree that sometimes psychology and biology have trouble existing in harmony, but from my perspective I think these two disciplines complement each other. Psychology needs biology and biology needs psychology to explain the many phenomena that make us human.

As Miller wrote, “Neither underlies the other, neither is more fundamental, and neither explains away the other. There are simply two domains of data, and each can help to explicate the other because of the relationships theories propose.” I think the relationship between biology and psychology is circular, like a roundabout, as they support each other as well as oppose each other. Also, since visiting New Zealand I have become a huge fan of roundabouts.

3 thoughts on “Maybe a roundabout would do the trick!

  1. Roundabout… Jessie that’s awesome! And probably captures the relationship most completely. My favorite debate of all time is multiple trace versus the standard model :).


  2. I thought it was interesting that you brought up sensation and perception. Especially because S&P seems to teach us that we can get similar ‘biological’ input, but have very different perceptions of the world around us. These differences can be due to context (which is, I think, more of a psychological phenomenon than biological), as well as many other factors. I think that this intersection of psychology and biology is a really telling example of how intricate these processes are.


  3. Having not taken any bio/neuro classes (at colby) before S&P, I was so amazed at how psychology and biology work together and can be studied together, and felt like I was getting deeper into the material than I had with only psychology. That experience was what prompted me to take this class and Bio Basis, because I needed to know more!


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