The research topic I have chosen for my project is the relationship between the body and the mind. We will assume that the mind is generated by the body, and that, in fact, the very division into “the body” and “the mind” is an artificial one, but it is very convenient due to our perception of the world, the huge (perceived) qualitative difference between the two. What is interesting here is the fact that “the body,” or physiological phenomena, can (and does) influence “the mind,” or psychological phenomena, and vice versa.
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The relationship is mutual; for example, hormones affect our mood, whereas psychic trauma might lead to somatic symptoms (Deshauer, 2010). Still, because we do not know how to create a single picture that would incorporate both types of phenomena and fully explain the connections, this leaves grounds for research.
It is clear that because this topic deals with both the body and the mind, research on it should be carried out employing the achievements of a school that also deals with both. This is why I wish to conduct my study using the school of psychobiology. I believe that its principles, values, and methods align well with the topic of research that I have selected.
It should also be noted that because I will not be able to cover the very broad topic of the mind-body relationship in my research, I will try to find an answer to a narrower question, namely, “to what extent do psychological factors and physiological factors influence a person’s character, reactions, and behavior?”
It is known that the representatives of the psychobiological school of thought developed the idea that psychological phenomena are grounded in biological factors. It can be said that it is a rule for them to incorporate both physiological and psychological factors in their studies. Furthermore, it is common for them to include variables related to both of these types of factors in their research. To give some examples, Stein (2009a) studies love, which is a psychological phenomenon, and examines what chemical reactions of the body, physiological phenomena, are associated with this feeling. The scholar, as it is possible to see, uses variables connected to both the body and the mind.
Stein (2009b) explores the neurological causes of resilience, also incorporating the variables related to both the psychological and the biological. Because both types of factors are employed in these studies, I believe that the achievements of the school of psychobiology will be the best to explore the relationship between the body and the mind.
Because the representatives of the psychobiological school of thought study the interdependence of psychological and physiological factors, it is obvious that they believe that there is an important correlation between the body and the mind, and that they take steps to determine this correlation. It is clear, therefore, that this school of thought would perhaps be the best fit for my research topic. In fact, my research topic is very close to what psychobiologists study.
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Psychobiologists often use experimental methods in their studies. They employ both qualitative and quantitative approaches; see, for instance, Gomez-Marin, Paton, Kampff, Costa, and Mainen (2014). It might be useful to employ the data of both types to explore my research topic. The questions they ask are related to concrete aspects of the body-mind correlation and should also be helpful in answering questions of my research, which is why this school of thought fits my study best.
Deshauer, Dorian. (2010). A well-grounded approach to the mind-body problem. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 182(13), E673-E674. Web.
Gomez-Marin, A., Paton, J. J., Kampff, A. R., Costa, R. M., & Mainen, Z. F. (2014). Big behavioral data: Psychology, ethology and the foundations of neuroscience. Nature Neuroscience, 17(11), 1455-1462. Web.
Stein, D. J. (2009a). Love and attachment: The psychobiology of social bonding. CNS Spectrums, 14(5), 239-242.
Stein, D. J. (2009b). The psychobiology of resilience. CNS Spectrums, 14(2, Suppl. 3), 41-47.