Biology and Psychology, Chemistry and Biology, Science and Art…?

For some reason I had great deal of difficulty eliciting a strong response based on the article, Psychology and Neuroscience: Making Peace.  I guess in part it is because I never viewed the relationship between biology and psychology so competitively.  In my (very limited) personal experience, I have always been very interested in the sciences and especially about human health/medicine.  Here at Colby I was originally a biology-neuroscience major but recently changed to a psychology-neuroscience major simply because the classes in the psychology-neuroscience major were more geared toward human sciences (versus animal, plant, environmental) and from the brief course descriptions, more neuroscience focused.  It never really crossed my mind that psychology-neuroscience versus biology-neuroscience would be a “softer” science.  For me, more of a focus on psychology meant slightly more human health and medicine related coursework.

On the other hand I do notice a difference among the psychology and biology classes and find myself very drawn to the biological “side” of psychology.  Contrary to the article I believe that biology and psychology are in fact very closely linked and I am still convinced that the two disciplines represent different levels of analysis very similar to the relationship between chemistry and biology.  I believe a causal relationship exists between the two sciences though not always that biology causes psychology or vice versa.

In many ways this discussion reminded me a bit of a discussion I had in another class in regards to a quote by an environmental writer; the author suggests that science can convey the reasons or causes behind phenomena in the natural world but only art can convey the experience of such phenomena.  Not to say that I agree or disagree to any degree with this quote but just as art can serve to better convey the experience of the natural world while science can explain natural phenomena, perhaps biology can explain phenomena of living things whereas psychology can serve to better describe and convey the experience.  Just a thought.  The professor furthered the discussion by asking whether the arts are necessary to the comprehension of science.  Similarly, it is interesting to consider, is psychology necessary for the comprehension of biology and vice versa?

Basically this need for distinction between the biological and psychological sciences is a new idea for me and in my eyes the two are very closely linked and are important in furthering and progressing each other, especially in relation to neuroscience.

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3 thoughts on “Biology and Psychology, Chemistry and Biology, Science and Art…?

  1. Great perspective Lisa. I certainly have trouble thinking about one without the other sometimes. The art part of your entry reminds me of a gestalt point of view, as in the output may be more than the mere sum of the biological pieces that contribute to it.

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  2. I think this is a really interesting and novel way to approach this topic. For me, I never really had the competetiveness of the sciences….before I decided to become a psych-neuro major I was a fine arts major, concentrating in sculpture (don’t ask–I don’t even know what happened there). Essentially, I went into psychology thinking that all sciences had a basis in biology (most likely because I took MANY bio classes in high school). Really interesting perspective.

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  3. Comparing Psych-Neuro and Bio-Neuro must be interesting. I know that I had a strong background in sciences but when I found psychology I just excelled and found the classes so much more exciting and engaging (not to knock bio). I do see where you are coming from, biology seems to have a very broad area to research, more broad than psychology. I hope you have found the right major for you!

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