PSYB4 Biological Approach
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What assumption is made about human behaviour?
- It is strongly influenced by our genetic makeup and our genetic inheritance.
- Behaviour is innate and runs in the family
What should Psychology be seen as?
- A science
- Behaviour should be studied in a scientific manner allowing cause and effect to be discerned and the studies replicated by others
- Lab studies should be used
What is essential in order for thought and behaviour to take place?
- The central nervous system, especially the brain
- An understanding of these will lead to an understanding of behaviour
- Scanning techniques are used to study people with brain damage
What is responsible for psychological functioning?
- Chemical processes
- Chemical imbalances may cause mood disorders (serotonin and depression)
Where does the mind reside?
- Within the brain
- All thoughts, feelings and behaviours have a biological cause
Which theory underpins the biological approach?
- Darwin's theory of evolution
- We have much in common with animals close to us on the evolutionary tree
- Animal tests can tell us about human behaviour
The study of the genetic make- up of organisms and how genes influence physical and behavioural characteristics
The traits, characteristics and behavioural tendencies inherited from one's parents and ancestors
- The genes present within a cell represented by 23 pairs of chromosomes.
- With the exception of genetic twins, each person has a unique genotype
The expression of your genetic make up when influenced by environmental factors
What do adoption studies compare?
The occurrence of characteristics of children adopted early in life with its frequency in their adoptive parents and with their birth parents
How may adoption studies suggest a genetic basis to behaviour?
If there is a high concordance rate between the occurrence of the characteristic in adopted children and their birth parents
What is the reasoning behind twin studies?
- If one identical twin has a particular characteristic, and the characteristic is genetic, the other twin should show it as they are genetically identical
- There should be a 100% concordance rate
- There should be a much lower concordance rates for fraternal twins and brothers
What is the purpose of the nervous system?
To collect, process and respond to information, from within and outside the body, and to co-ordinate the workings of different cells within the body
What is the peripheral nervous system made up of?
Neurons that transmit messages or information to and from the central nervous system
What is the function of the autonomous nervous system?
To transmit information to and from internal bodily organs allowing them to carry out life processes such as breathing, digestion and arousal
What is the function of the Sympathetic nervous system
- To prepare the body for action
- It can also adversely affect performance in tasks involving high levels of anxiety
What is the function of the parasympathetic nervous system?
- To support normal bodily activity, conserving and storing bodily energy
- Acts as a brake and reduces the activities of the body that have been increased by the sympathetic nervous system
Give 5 somatic effects of the parasympathetic nervous system
- Pupil contraction
- Salivation stimulation
- Lowering of the heart rate
- Stimulation of digestive activity
- Bladder contraction
Give 5 somatic effects of the sympathetic nervous system
- Pupil dilation
- Accelerated heart rate
- Relaxation of bronchi
- Inhibition of digestive ability
- Stimulates the release of glucose in the liver
How can the biological approach be applied to gender role development?
- The belief that gender behaviour is based on the biological sex of a person
- Drug treatment can be used to help people who wish to change their gender
How can the biological approach be applied to abnormal behaviour?
- The belief that abnormal behaviour is based on genetic disorders, chemical imbalance or structural defect
- Drug treatment, surgery or guidance for those with genetic conditions can be implemented
How can the biological approach be applied to criminal behaviour?
- Hormones, genetics and the structure of the brain are studied in order to theorise about criminal behaviour
- No specific criminal gene has been discovered and treatment is limited due to ethical constraints
How can the biological approach be applied to drug treatment?
- Drug treatment is used for many psychological ailments such as schizophrenia and bipolar depression
- Drugs offer a quick way to alleviate symptoms, however do not address underlying issues
Why are experimental methods used by biological psychologists?
They allow measurement of the effect of an independent variable on a dependant variable allowing a cause and effect to be established
Why are Lab experiments used by biological psychologists?
- Conditions can be monitored with almost all variables controlled by the researcher
- They can be measured objectively meaning the study can be said to be more scientific than other methods such as case studies
Why are brain scans used by biological psychologists?
CAT, PET and MRI (etc) allow us to observe parts of the brain and investigate their functions
Why are family, twin and adoption studies used by biological psychologists?
- Allows us to investigate concordance rates for people who share genes or environment
- Allows us to see if genes are implicated in causing certain characteristics and behaviour
How is the biological approach nomothetic?
It uses scientific methods to produce methods to produce laws which can be generalised to everyone
What type of data is collected by biological psychologists?
Objective, quantitive data due to the very scientific nature of the methods employed
From where does the biological approach derive support?
A large number of empirical studies and scientific evidence to support the biological theories
How can cause and effect be established by the biological approach?
The experimental method employed and the control of almost all extraneous variables allows us to discern the cause of behaviour without inferring from case studies
How can the biological approach be said to have many practical applications?
- An understanding of the influence of biology on our behaviour is provided
- Knowledge of genetic transmission can be used to provide genetic counselling, however there are ethical issues surrounding this (designer babies)
- Drugs can be used to treat mental conditions such as stress or depression
Why can the biological approach be said to be reductionist and mechanistic?
- It focusses solely on biological factors on behaviours and sees individuals as biological machines
- It gives the impression that humans are powerless to their genetic endowment and does not take into account other factors such as the environment
Why is the nature aspect of the biological approach criticised?
The role of nurture is neglected or understated Researchers tend to see an interaction between the two (an interactionist approach)
How can the biological approach be seen as deterministic?
- It suggests that our behaviour is determined by our physiology, genes and evolution or a combination of the three
- Free will is not considered so individuals can claim that they are not responsible for their actions
How can the biological approach be said to be simplistic?
- Subjective experiences and individual meaning is not taken into account
- The complex interplay of the body and mind and the role of consciousness on our thoughts and behaviour is not given full credit
How is the evolutionary explanation of behaviour criticised?
- Behaviour is only explained after it has happened and future behaviour cannot be predicted
- Speculation of how we behaved in the past os also involved and thus is subjective and retrospective, damaging its reliability
What criticisms are made regarding lab experiments?
- Lab experiments are unlike real life settings
- There is low ecological validity as findings cannot be definitively applied to the real world
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