13 Module Introduction


Module Introduction

Topics Covered:

  • Human Genetics
  • Central Nervous System
  • Neural Communication

In this module, you will learn about the physiology of human behavior. The renowned physicist, Michio Kaku, has written, “We have learned more about the brain in the last fifteen years than in all prior human history, and the mind, once considered out of reach, is finally assuming center stage.” (Michio Kaku, 1947-  )

When studying psychology, it is necessary to understand that all human thought and behavior is the result of the brain and central nervous system working together to transmit information throughout the body. Every thought you have and every behavior you exhibit is the result of neurons communicating with one another. In that respect, our bodies are like a machine that must be understood and cared for in order to perform the tasks we have for it. The brain can be thought of as the “central command center” for the body.

The physical side of psychology begins with an understanding of human genetics and the part our genes play in determining not only our sex of male or female, but also all of the attributes that make us human. As humans, we all share a basic genetic makeup, however some genes have variations that are expressed in psychological and behavioral variables as well as some psychiatric disorder such as schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder. The study of genes, in regard to psychology, also looks at how genetic makeup interacts with the environment. The study of the brain and central nervous system (CNS) helps us to more fully understand how they work, or don’t work in some cases, to allow us to think, learn, move and communicate in our world. This module will help you understand the parts of the billions of neurons in our brain and CNS as well as the electro-chemical communication between neurons. You will learn the astounding speed at which they communicate to direct our every though, movement, and internal processes. You will also learn how the endocrine system works to deliver the chemical hormones that control our body process. This module will also help you understand the parts of the brain and the behaviors they are connected to, the neurotransmitters that assist in communication between neurons, and the “automatic” processes and behaviors that keep our bodies “alive and working” 24 hours a day for our lifetime.

You should access the “Links to Learning” to watch some fascinating facts and studies about the brain and CNS. These links will work to give you a better understanding of what makes us human. The supplemental material for this module can help to bring all this information to life and lay the foundation for your further study of the interesting field of psychology. (1)(2)

Review video: The Fantastic And Amazing Brain (1)

In necessary, download the transcript here.

Learning Outcomes Related to this Module

  • Demonstrates the ability to think critically
  • Comprehends the biopsychosocial aspects of behavior and mental processes
  • Synthesizes empirical information to draw accurate evidence-based conclusions about behavior and mental processes


Upon completion of this module, the student will be able to:

  • Explain human genetic makeup and how genetic makeup interacts with the environment
  • Define the parts of the brain and behaviors they are connected to
  • Define the parts of the central nervous system (CNS)
  • Define the parts of the neuron and the process of neural communication
  • Explain the connection of the brain and CNS to the endocrine system (1)

Assigned Readings

Note: You will need to click on “Get This Book” button to download the textbook. Students are not required to purchase a textbook. You can download the entire Psychology textbook from OpenStax for free.

Supplemental Material/Resources

(Note: This material, in the media form of online videos, is considered supplemental and thus is not used for assessment purposes.)

Assignments | Learning Activities

  • Read Module Introduction
  • Complete assigned readings
  • Participate in Discussion 2
  • Complete Critical Thinking Assignment 2


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