You are here

Essential Biological Psychology

Essential Biological Psychology

Additional resources:

March 2013 | 416 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

Biological processes play a central role in psychology. Drawing on the latest research, this clear and concise textbook provides students with a solid grasp of the relationship between mind and behavior, and a detailed understanding of the underlying structure and physiological mechanisms that underpin it. The functions of the nervous system are explained and implications for health are explored. Throughout the book, Barnes encourages students to evaluate essential concepts and theoretical issues.

A companion website found at consists of PowerPoint lecture slides and a testbank for teachers (50 questions per chapter) as well as interactive self-assessment testbank for students (10 questions per chapter)


Chapter 1: Neurons, Neurotransmission and Communication
Chapter 2: Neuroanatomy and Brain Mapping
Chapter 3: Genes and Evolution
Chapter 4: Development and Plasticity of the Brain
Chapter 5: Visual System
Chapter 6: Non-Visual Sensory Systems
Chapter 7: Motor Control and Movement
Chapter 8: The Biopsychology of Motivation
Chapter 9: Sleep and Biological Rhythms
Chapter 10: Biopsychology of Emotions, Stress and Health
Chapter 11: Memory, Learning and Amnesia
Chapter 12: Lateralisation and Language
Chapter 13: Biological Basis of Behaviour Disorders


Barnes Companion Website

For Lecturers:

  • Multiple choice question-based test banks arranged by chapter that can be used for student assessment
  • PowerPoint™ Slides arranged by chapter, which capture key points as well as figures and tables

  For Students:

  • Interactive Multiple Choice Questions for on-going self-assessment

'A highly informative introduction into the most important concepts in biological psychology from cell level to systems level. Covering a wide range of topics including genetics and neural plasticity, this well-structured and accessible text is an excellent starting point for studying processes of the mind and brain' -
Uta Sailer
Senior Lecturer in Psychology, University of Gothenburg, Sweden

'Comprehensive and accessible; this text beautifully marries historical aspects of biopsychology with contemporary advances in neuroscience via a student-centred and readily digestible format. The inclusion of a chapter focussing on the biological basis of behaviour disorders is a much needed and welcomed addition to texts in this field' -
Tim Jones
University of Worcester

'Jim Barnes' book "Essential Biological Psychology" introduces the student to key concepts, theoretical issues and up to date research in a clear and engaging manner. This textbook is easy to follow and brilliantly written and I will be recommending it to students' -
Sandra S nram-Lea
Lancaster University

'The author promises "short easily digestible chapters… a journey around the nervous system". The book succeeds admirably in this aim, and would make an excellent text for a course in Years 1 or 2. I particularly liked the clear descriptions of techniques in neuroscience' -
John Harris
Emeritus Professor of Psychology, University of Reading

'Essential Biological Psychology provides an excellent account of the structure and function of the brain and nervous both as a story about the intrinsic nature of living creatures and as a means of understanding the essential biology of behavior. Chapters 1 to 4 provide a necessary comprehensive basis that is up-to-date yet extremely interesting reading. Veritably, the chapters on "Motor Control and Movement", "Motivation", "Sleep and Biological Rhythms", "Emotions, Stress and Health", "Memory, Learning and Amnesia" and "Biological Basis of Behaviour Disorders" all offer an important text for Biological Psychology courses at several different levels including the Ph.D. level. Throughout, the figures, illustations and artwork are impressive and pedagogical' -
Trevor Archer
Göteborg University

Clear and beautiful book. It is especially useful for undergraduate students.

Dr Kerem CANLI
Psychology, Dokuz Eylul Universitesi
August 3, 2017

I like how clear the book presents the facts. Even though the book lacks of some visual material, I found it more understandable through the highlight and the schemas that were being used. The chapters does not go beyond what my sophomore students would need.

Dr Filiz Gözenman
Psychology , Yasar Universitesi
July 28, 2016

This text makes excellent use of case studies to contextualise theory.

Mr Charles Birtwisle
School of PE and Sport Sciences, Bedfordshire University
January 29, 2015

Nice book with clear descriptions. Easy for students to read and understand

Dr Siobhan Lynam
Psychology, Social Work & Human Sci, University of West London
October 14, 2014

This is the ideal text for undergraduate students as well as Postgraduate level who needs to have a very good understanding of the biology of Psychology. It is written in such a way that even the second language student can understand the text. A must for every Psychology student.

Dr Petro Erasmus
Psychology , University of the North West
September 1, 2014

This is a very attractively presented book with some very colourful and clear diagrams. Jim Barnes's text is straightforward and concise, so provides essential information quickly with economy.

Dr Hew Gill
Academic Directorate, TMC Academy
June 10, 2014

Excellent recomended reading at the course in cognitive developmental psychology, gives an extra "spice" to the other litterature.

Dr Gunvor Larsson Abbad
Department of behavioural sciences and learning, Psychology
November 21, 2013

Determined to advanced for student level

Mr Robert Milstein
Gen Ed, Northwestern College
November 15, 2013

Provides an interesting overview of the mind and behaviour, including an exploration of structures and mechanisms

Dr Jenny Freed
School of Education, University of Manchester
September 9, 2013

For instructors

Select a Purchasing Option

Rent or Buy eBook
ISBN: 9781446290217

ISBN: 9781847875402

ISBN: 9781847875419