Biopsychology in the Workplace
Module from SIOP
Biopsychology at Work
• Biopsychology is a subfield of psychology that
emphasizes the integration of human biology
and psychology (body and mind together).
• This means considering:
– How the body functions physiologically and
– How our mind and body operate together in
sensation and perception, and responding to
stimuli in the world around us
Why Relevant in the Workplace?
• Workers are human beings and therefore also
biological organisms
• We all have complex brains and central
nervous systems, which enable and
complicate our day-to-day functioning:
– Biologically we may be able to explain body
mechanisms that are associated with reward,
pleasure, pain, memory, etc.
– Other psychological aspects also likely factor into
how we react to stimuli in our environments
Practicing Biopsychology
• Expertise in biopsychology requires specialized
training that most I-O psychologists do not have.
– Most good I-O graduate programs do provide at least
one course in biological processes associated with
human functioning (part of licensure preparation)
• It is also common to forge collaborations
between I-O and neuropsychology or biology
researchers when applying a biopsychological
perspective to issues within work organizations
Example Topics
• Some researchers/practitioners of I-O are
more likely than others to need familiarity
with biopsychological factors and issues,
– Work-related stress and its effects on physical and
psychological worker wellbeing
– Worker emotions
– Influence of work environment features on worker
– Reward and motivation
Class Discussion
• Do you find yourself more interested in
biology or psychology? Why?
• What are the benefits of integrating a
biological and psychological perspective when
examining human functioning within
• What types of applied psychology topics are
likely to involve biological and psychological
Further Reading
• Landsbergis, P. A., Schnall, P. L., Belkić, K. L.,
Baker, D., Schwartz, J., & Pickering, T. G. (2001).
Work stressors and cardiovascular disease. Work,
17(3), 191-208.
• Muraven, M., Tice, D. M., & Baumeister, R. F.
(1998). Self-control as limited resource:
regulatory depletion patterns. Journal of
Personality and Social Psychology, 74(3), 774-89.
• Panksepp, J. (1998). Affective Neuroscience: The
Foundations of Human and Animal Emotions.
New York: Oxford University Press.

Biopsychology in the Workplace