What is psychology? Psychology is the study of the mind. Psychologists can have many different careers such as working in a school, helping as a marriage councilor, working in a mental hospital, in law enforcement, and many other places. William James who is believed to be the father of Psychology was born in New York City in 1842 and received a M. D from Harvard University in 1869 and started teaching there in 1875. He published many writings over his life time such as The Principles of Psychology, Will to Believe, and Pragmatism.

He retired from Harvard University in 1907 and later passed away in 1910. Through this class I have learned a lot of useful information about our body and what it is made up of and how it works. The nervous system which is made up of the sensory and control apparatus consisting of a network of nerve cells that control our body functions. There are two main nervous systems: Central Nervous System and the Peripheral Nervous system.

Your central nervous system (CNS) consists of your brain and spinal cord. Where as the Peripheral Nervous system (PNS) consists of sensory neurons running from stimulus receptors that inform the CNS of the stimuli and the motor neurons running from the CNS to the muscles and glands – called effectors – that take action. The PNS also consists of the Autonomic Nervous System which includes the sympathetic and parasympathetic. Also included with the PNS is the Somatic Nervous System.

The body communicates internally through Neurons and Neural Pathways. Neurons consist of dendrites that receive information from the Neuron, Axons that allow information to exit from the Neuron and the synapse which is the gap between the dendrite and axon. Released from the axon is a neurotransmitter which is a chemical that helps jump the synapse and the myelin sheath that speeds up the synapse and is made up of fat. There are several Neurotransmitters such as Dopamine which effects movement.

Low dopamine is often connected with Parkinson’s disease. Another is called Serotonin which affects your mood and finally acetylcholine which affects your memory and can cause Alzheimer’s. There are many different parts of your brain that can affect consciousness. What is consciousness? Consciousness is a general state of being aware of and responsive to your environment. Sensory awareness is connected with your senses of hearing and touch.

You also have a direct inner awareness which allows you to be aware of who you are inside. We also have a sense of self which is one’s individuality. Walking state is a state of being awake as apposed to being asleep. We go through a pattern of being awake and asleep every twenty-four hours which is called your circadian rhythm. There are two stages of sleep called NREM (non rapid eye movement) and REM (rapid eye movement). When we dream we are in a REM state of sleep.