Degree Requirements: Bachelor's Degree
Completion Time: 2 - 3 years
Earned Credits: 37
Through education in physiology, psychology, and technology, Saybrook University's psychophysiology degree program trains students to assess and assist two types of people:
- Healthy people desiring to enhance performance through behavioral control of their physiological systems
- Unhealthy individuals who can be trained to recognize and control dysfunctional physiological systems.
Saybrook’s M.S. Psychophysiology program is intended for people with undergraduate degrees who are seeking basic skills in psychophysiology and associated areas. The program is designed to prepare graduates for transition into Saybrook’s Applied Psychophysiology Doctoral program and trains people to incorporate psychophysiological techniques into their current professions.
Typical coursework in our master’s program includes:
- Foundations of Psychophysiology
- Psychophysiological Recording, Assessment, and Intervention
- Basic Hypnosis: Optimal Functioning
- Basic Biofeedback
- Basic Neurofeedback
- Psychophysiological Research
- Basic Bioscience
Because psychophysiological interventions and techniques are applicable across a broad range of careers, graduates of Saybrook University’s psychophysiology degree program may have the opportunity to affect lives in fields and industries such as sports, education, business, and the military.
Program Learning Outcomes
- Assess and appraise the knowledge of the biological basis of behavior and accurately relate and interpret behavioral dysfunctions to underlying biological dysfunctions
- Evaluate and interpret psychophysiological recording methodology and set, monitor, recognize, and consistently perform correct recordings utilizing psychophysiological equipment
- Create, organize, and conduct independent psychophysiological research studies utilizing accepted design and analysis techniques so that students recognize common mistakes in published studies involving design and analysis and can teach others how to do so
- Explain and assess the physiological and stress responses underlying both behavioral and physiological sequences impacting optimal functioning in order to design and conduct appropriate training utilizing psychophysiologically based techniques to optimize functioning in business, education, sports, and (when appropriately licensed) clinical environments
- Explain and integrate ethical principles and professional practice standards as promulgated by the field’s professional organizations, within the field of applied psychophysiology
More program information can be found in our academic catalog.
The M.S. Psychophysiology degree program teaches students to assess and assist (a) reasonably well functioning people to perform better through behavioral control of their physiological systems, and (b) people with ailments caused by moderate dysfunctional patterns in their physiological systems. Students in our program learn to be research-oriented professionals who use knowledge of the biological bases of behavior to assess their clients’ behavioral and physical problems and then correct them through physiologically oriented behavioral interventions.
The degree takes 2 to 3 years to complete, including the completion of a research-based thesis. Students attend three in-person meetings each year they are enrolled in the program. Each is about five days long. Two of the meetings are Saybrook University’s Residential Conferences, and one is the annual meeting of the field’s professional society: the Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback.
Essentials of Bioscience
This course teaches the fundamentals of electronic circuitry, biochemistry, human electricity, math, and human physiology as used in professional psychophysiology. Required knowledge of electronic circuitry must be sufficient to understand how a psychophysiological recording device functions and what the controls actually do, including roll-off, signal to noise ratios, frequency spectrums, etc. Knowledge of biochemistry must be sufficient to understand the structure of major neurotransmitters, behavior, enzyme interactions, etc. Knowledge of human electricity must be sufficient to understand impulse propagation, the direction of electric fields, etc. Knowledge of mathematics must be sufficient to understand behavioral genetics, field studies, and basic statistics. Knowledge of human physiology must be sufficient to understand synapses, motor chains, hormonal feedback cycles, respiration, SNS complexes, etc., as used in professional psychophysiology.
Fundamentals of Psychophysiology
This course explores the manifold ways the brain and body work together to produce behavior and the cycle between behavior and physiology. The course begins with a description of the body’s organizational structure and genetics as related to behavior. The basic physiological ways information is received from the external and internal environments through a variety of sensors and then processed by the hormonal and nervous system are described. Typical psychophysiological dysfunctions and interventions are also described.
Pain Assessment and Intervention
This course describes the underlying psychophysiology of pain and summarizes the strengths and weaknesses of evidence supporting the efficacy of self-regulatory interventions for the prevention and reduction of various pain problems. Interactions between pain, stress, and muscle tension are emphasized. Extensive examples of how to perform psychophysiological interventions for various psychophysiologically maintained and magnified pain states are provided. The pathophysiology of migraine, tension, cluster, rebound, medication induced, and other types of headaches are reviewed. The current schema for differential diagnosis of the various types of headaches is discussed in relation to interactions among behavioral medicine providers, neuropsychologists, psychiatrists, neurologists, and other health care providers. The evidence supporting the efficacy of behavioral interventions for various types of headaches is reviewed. Detailed examples of patient education and training materials are provided along with typical behavioral training regimes and pathways.
EEG Biofeedback: Assessment and Intervention
This course teaches the principles of recording the brain’s electrical activities through EEG and other imaging techniques that pertain to applied to psychophysiological assessments and interventions. The basic psychophysiology of the EEG signal is reviewed in relationship to educational applications and disorders (such as epilepsy and ADHD) treated with EEG biofeedback. The strengths and weaknesses of evidence supporting the use of EEG biofeedback for a variety of clinical disorders are reviewed and the techniques for performing EEG biofeedback are detailed.