Physiological and Pharmacological Analysis of Behavior

  • John A. Harvey
Part of the Advances in Behavioral Biology book series (ABBI, volume 12)


Psychologists have traditionally employed ablation techniques, electrical stimulation, and parenteral or central administration of drugs to examine subsequent effects on behavior. The problems that have arisen with the use of these techniques are described below. However, the one basic problem has been our inability to specify the exact mechanisms by which these procedures exert their effects on behavior. For example the ablation technique is one of the oldest and most extensively used methods for studying brain function. Consequently, we know a great deal about the behavioral changes produced by a variety of cortical and subcortical lesions. However, in most cases we do not know how to interpret the results. First, in almost all cases the lesion is simply described by the primary locus of damage. Rarely does the investigator examine the degeneration occurring outside of this primary locus. Consequently, the anatomical system being affected by a lesion is unknown. More importantly, the ablation technique as employed for study of brain function has not allowed us to specify the mechanism(s) by which lesions produce a change in function.


Fiber System Medial Forebrain Bundle Septal Area Brain Content Pharmacological Analysis 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1974

Authors and Affiliations

  • John A. Harvey
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of IowaIowa CityUSA

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