This chapter is about the biological basis of behavior. Behavior, which can vary from driving a car to making a difficult mathematical exercise, depends on various processes in the human body. The relation between these processes is regulated by the nervous system.
Here is an example of what your body has to do in order to make you stop for a red traffic light. First you have to perceive the light, which means that the light has to be caught by the eye. The eye sends signals to the brain. The brain compares the signals with those received from the other eye and stores the signals temporarily in your memory. (You know you have to stop for the red light.)
After that you have to push the brake pedal. To make this happen, your brains have to send a signal to the leg muscles to push the feet on the brake pedal. All these signals from and to your brains are transported through nerve cells.
The first paragraph, the nervous system, gives information about the brain, the spinal column and other parts of the central nervous system.
The second paragraph, genetic influences, explains the role of genes on behavior. It tells you about the effect of heredity on behavior and how this is investigated.
The third paragraph, about hormones, describes the effect of the production of hormones on behavior. We will give some general information about hormones and tell you which gland produces which hormone. We will also tell something about the effect of the various hormones.
In the last paragraph we will tell you something about biological rhythms. We will tell you how sleep affects learning capabilities.