How much biology and chemistry does a psychology student need?

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jasonlu
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I came across this paper by a renouned Psychologist

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2834322/

I was surprised that there were so many specialised terms related to parts of the brain and chemicals.

For example, I don't understand this paragraph at all:

Consider the evidence showing that the ‘s' allele of the 5-hydroxytryptamine-linked polymorphic region polymorphism (5-HTTLPR) is associated with increased depression in a high-stress context, with the ‘l' allele functioning protectively.5 Several studies have replicated this finding, providing further support for the conclusion that 5-HTTLPR increases vulnerability to depression in the context of environmental stress.6
I plan to study some psychology and wondered how this knowledge of biology/chemistry accumulates? Is it difficult?

Whats your views?
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SlowlorisIncognito
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Most of that paragraph is genetics related rather than being related to brain chemistry.

Psychology is a science, and while that specific paper is relating to genetics, you do need a good knowledge of neurochemicals and brain physiology in order to study psychology at, say, degree level. I would say that the knowledge will probably accumulate, but some of the terms used in that paragraph, I learned during A-level Biology. I'm not sure how much chemistry would be relevant, but a good understanding of genetics and how the brain works is pretty essential for studying psychology imo.

When you say you plan to study some psychology, what sort of level were you thinking at?
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iammichealjackson
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(Original post by jasonlu)
I came across this paper by a renouned Psychologist

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2834322/

I was surprised that there were so many specialised terms related to parts of the brain and chemicals.

For example, I don't understand this paragraph at all:



I plan to study some psychology and wondered how this knowledge of biology/chemistry accumulates? Is it difficult?

Whats your views?
To do a psychology degree, you don't need biology or chemistry a level, but as mentioned above, you will be expected to pick up the basics of brain physiology and genetics (only at a basic level). Biology is taught as part of a psychology degree (which normally covers inheritance, neuroscience and evolution).

I think you can understand that paper without chwmiarey a level necessarily--- the chemicals sound complicated, but as long as you remember that they are just names for genes, you don't have to understand the biochemistry of how they work.

Having a biology/chemistry background would be advantageous for studying neuroscience rather than psychology. If your interested in how the brain works (mechanistically, e.g. what process leads to a neuron emitting a neurotransmitter), then chemistry is required to understand that. If your more interested in behaviour, (e.g. how to humans percieve tone), then chemistry becomes less relevant.
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