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.