Basic Concepts and Principles in Psychology

Basic Concepts and Principles in Psychology


PS124 – Unit 4 Assignment

Basic Concepts and Principles in Psychology

Every thought, every breath, every move, every day are all triggered by a process inside us. The human body is complex and made up of so many parts, each with their own purpose; a well-oiled machine could be best to describe our bodies. We go through each day, walking, talking, jumping, singing, and so much more without so much as a though behind how we are doing these things, unless of course, one day you find there is a complication in something that once came so easily to you. Maybe your legs are not walking when your brain is saying go, or your hand is not grabbing when your brain is saying to pick this up. When a disease has overtaken your body and it effects how the parts to your well-oiled machine are communicating with your brain; It is fascinating how the insides work to control the outsides. To understand how parts that contribute to your everyday activities internally, can be so dynamic when they are never seen, you will have to fully understand how the human body is made up. Your body is comprised of cells, neurons, hormones, and transmits signals used to communicate with one another and set your body in motion.


Most of what we do daily involves a physical activity of sorts, which in turn means, our body working hard internally to set these activities in motion. Running for example; I run regularly for exercise, mental clarity, and increased energy for keeping after my five kids; running is a part of my everyday life in one way or another. For me, it is effortless, I get up and I go. That is because my body has a process that takes place in milliseconds to make it that way, and If there were a change in this process and a step were to be missed, the process would not be so effortless. Let us explore the breakdown of the process involved in running.

Action Potential

An impulse ignited by your body, which causes electrical impulses to be sent down a neurons axon, to ignite the nervous system, to comply with the impulse, is known as an action potential (Spielman et al., 2018). Action potentials will travel the entire length of the axon, no matter the size, without changing. If your impulse is to run, your brain cells, also known as Neurons, will send signals with information throughout your body, which will react with the electrical impulses and send messages to the nerve’s cells, which will then allow you to run. These neurons, then expel chemical communicators, or neurotransmitters, which carry the signal to nearby cells, causing an action potential to occur (Spielman et al., 2018).


Neurotransmitters, the chemical messengers which carry signals ignited during an action potential, by a neuron. The signals are carried from one neuron to another and transmitted across the synapse from neuron to neuron, by attaching to the neuron’s receptor site. Once the neurotransmitter has completed it job and relayed the information it needed to, the neurotransmitter can either be destroyed by enzymes, removed with the receptor, or taken back down the axon in a process known as reuptake (Spielman et al., 2018). Neurotransmitters are categorized by their involvement and their potential effect on behaviors. While running, there are a few different neurotransmitters that have involvement. The first is norepinephrine, which involves the heart and alertness and induces increased arousal. The second is serotonin, which involves moods and induces a more stabilized mood. The last is dopamine, which also involves mood and induces increase in pleasure (Spielman et al., 2018). As indicated earlier, I run for mental clarity and increased energy. Understanding how neurotransmitters interact, explains the mental clarity and increased energy levels experienced while running.

Sensations and Perceptions

Running, an activity I choose to engage in daily, and there are sensory benefits ignited through sensations. Sensations, comprised of the five senses (hearing, seeing, smelling, touching, and tasting), is a process in which our brain takes in and processes what our five senses tell it to (Spielman et al., 2018). While running, the feeling of my feet hitting the pavement, the smell of the fresh outside air entering into my nostrils, the feeling of my hands clenched tightly, the sound the thumping of my feet makes, are all examples of sensations. What I am feeling, hearing, and smelling as I run is processed by my brain. These sensations, then allow me to project my perception, or how I interpret the sensory stimuli around me (Spielman et al., 2018). I perceive the smell of the fresh air clears my mind, the pounding of the pavement felt beneath my feet motivates me, the feeling of my clenched fists gives me speed and balance; whether or not these perceptions of my senses are reality, the sensations produced, allow me to interpret running in this way.


It fascinates me to know that an activity that comes so easily and effortlessly to me, has an amazingly complex process which allows me to run. My brain, signaling the desire to run, ignites an action potential, or an electrical impulse that travels through a neuron’s axis, unchanged, and release neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters travel from neuron to neuron, attaching themselves to the receptors ensuring this impulse to run in received, and then are either destroyed, disappear, or sent back through reuptake. All this occurring in the flash of a thought by my brain. Then I run, and as I run these neurotransmitters are working vigorously to expel their chemical components inside of me. Norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine all working quickly to ensure a heighted arousal, alertness, and a euphoric mood. These neurotransmitters and their effect on the body induce the senses and sensations that allow me to emotionally and physically benefit from running.


Spielman, R.M., Dumper, K., Jenkins, W., Lovett, M., & Perlmutter, M. (2019). Psychology

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