Unit 3: Addiction and the Brain

A study of addiction will act as a bridge between our units about learning and the brain.  Our driving question will be, 'What causes addiction?'  We will continue our look at operant and classical conditioning, considering their role in the development and maintenance of addiction, both for serious substances and everyday ones like sugar - or even your cell phone.  Reasons for addiction, the role of the brain in addiction, and various human and animal studies will be considered.  

After looking at addiction, we will begin to connect it to a topic any study of psychology must include - the scientific study of the brain. We will learn about the nervous system, neurotransmitters (the chemical messengers of the body), the parts of the brain, and the relevance to the study of psychology.  There will also be a look at what happens when the brain doesn't function as it is "supposed" to, the ways that the brain "fixes" itself through neuroplasticity, and what that means for our everyday lives.

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