Behavioural Physiology I.

Type of instruction




Part of degree program


Recommended in

Semester 2

Typically offered in

Spring semester

Course description
  1. Introduction and definitions (psychophysiology, psychophysics, psychosomatics, autonomic functions, viscera, etc.)

  2. Visceral afferentation (receptors, afferent systems, central structures, visceral pathways, visceral pain, viscero-somatic convergence, reception-sensation-perception, visceral learning).

  3. Visceral efferentation (the autonomic /vegetative/ nervous system, antagonism and synergism, transmitters, efferent brain centers, pharmacology of the visceral efferentation)

  4. Regulation of the visceral functions (autoregulation, local and global changes, systemic events, brain-stem connections, role of the limbic system, hypothalamic and amygdalar integration, visceral reflexes, the concepts of ’efferent modification’ and of ’central command’, visceral components of the emotional reactions)

  5. Homeostasis and variostasis (the concomittant-contingent debate, visceral functions and behaviour, Cannon’s homeostasis concept, criticism about the inner stability, homeostasis now, the necessity of variostasis, behaviour and reaction types)

  6. Pathology of the psycho-visceral relationships (terminology of the psychosomatic diseases, the multifactorial origin and the risk factors, main types of diseases, important theories about the ethiology: psychonalaitic, psychophysiological and dynamic psychopathological approaches, the bio-psycho-social approach).

  7. Ethiology and ground mechanisms: the family (potential basic physiological mechanisms, the role of the micro-social environment, structure and function of the family, system-theory approach to the family functioning, family in the modern society)

  8. Ethiology and ground mechanisms: coping (what is coping, main types of normal and pathological coping, models of pathological coping, psychosomatics and somatization, the extended Bahnson-model)

  9. Main characteristics of the pschosomatic diseases: internal factors (multifactorial ethiology, genetic heredity, cause/result problems, mediating factors)

  10. Main characteristics of the pschosomatic diseases: social factors (learning and functional disorders, mechanism of the social influence, major life-events and their consequencies, communication problems)

  11. Psychophysiology of the therapy (research and praxis, symptomatic therapies /e.g. biofeed/, systemic approach /e.g. relaxation methods/, and holistic therapies /e.g life-management therapy/)

  12. East and West: what connects and what separates? (main types of oriental therapies, relations to the western medicine, the Mérő-paradoxon, alternative and complementer medicine)

  13. Global approach to the psychosomatics (levels of the environment and their characteristics and significance, information-load and its consequencies, human-environment interactions)

  14. Psychosomatics and evolution (differential evolution: biology and culture, psychosomatics as adaptation problems, education and prevention)

  15. Summary and overview

  • B. Fadem. Behavioral science in medicine. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2012, ISBN 9781609136642.

  • James L. Levenson: Essentials of Psychosomatic Medicine, American Psychiatric Pub, 2007, ISBN 9781585622467

  • Wolman, B.B. Psychosomatic disorders. Plenum 1988.