Rather than the more commonly seen 15 chapters in this type of text, Biological Psychology has 13 chapters and an epilogue, all of which are divided into four parts: I. The Brain in Context; II. The Nervous System: Essential Components; III. The Nervous System: Essential Functions; and IV. Neurobiology in Action.
Although the content of Biological Psychology retains the classic work and categories that characterize the discipline, its presentation/format also represents the changing field. Over the past several decades, the psychology curriculum has changed. For example, whereas most biological psychology texts include two chapters on sensation and perception, Biological Psychology includes only one. Incorporating the sensory information into a single chapter (Chapter 6) allows me to superimpose overarching themes about the functions of each sensory system in interpreting crucial environmental variables. Of course, more specific information about each sensory system is often covered in the traditional Sensation and Perception course.
In addition, aside from the more traditional learning and memory chapter(s), several texts also include other chapters on cognitive-related topics: language and communication; lateralization; and neurocognition, for example—all topics covered in various cognitive courses in contemporary psychology departments. Instead of covering these topics separately and extensively, Biological Psychology includes a single chapter emphasizing learning, memory, and decision- making (Chapter 12). However, topics such as language and lateralization are covered in other chapters. Specifically, language is presented in a novel way in the movement chapter (Chapter 7—as language is itself a specialized movement), and lateralization is included in the chapter on structure and functions of the nervous system (Chapter 2). The delegation of these topics to other relevant chapters permits more extensive coverage of decision-making, representing the most recent exciting findings in the literature and providing innovative ways to think about topics such as language.
Finally, the reproduction chapter is also unique. Because the role of affiliative social relationships has been increasingly investigated in the past several decades, positive social interactions are emphasized in the “Affiliative and Reproductive Strategies” chapter (Chapter 11)—addressing topics such as the neurobiological mechanisms accompanying parenting and interactions with offspring, maintaining trust in social interactions, and social responses characterizing disorders such as autism spectrum disorder. Antagonistic social interactions (i.e. aggression) appear in the “Emotional Expression and Regulation” chapter (Chapter 10).