Physiological psychology is a subdivision of biological psychology that studies the neural mechanisms of perception and behavior through direct manipulation of the brains of nonhuman animal subjects in controlled experiments. Unlike other subdivisions within biological psychology, the main focus of physiological psychological research is the development of theories that explain brain-behavior relationships rather than the development of research that has translational value. It is sometimes alternatively called psychophysiology, and in recent years also cognitive neuroscience.
One example of physiological psychology research is the study of the role of the hippocampus in learning and memory. This can be achieved by surgical removal of the hippocampus from the rat brain followed by an assessment of memory tasks by that same rat.
In the past, physiological psychologists received much of their their training in psychology departments in major universities. Currently, physiological psychologists are also be trained in behavioral neuroscience or biological psychology programs that are affiliated with psychology departments, or in interdisciplinary neuroscience programs.
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