Biological approach

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  • Biological Approach
    • Basic Assumptions
      • Behaviour and thought processes have an innate, biological basis
      • The mind and the brain are the same
      • Human genes have evolved to adapt behaviour to the environment
      • Human characteristics, i.e. intelligence, are due to the genetic make-up
    • Bock and Goode
      • Found that when mice were reared alone, they showed a strong tendency to attack other male mice when first exposed to other animals
      • The mice were not taught to be aggressive, that's from the parents; they just exhibited the behaviour
      • This research therefore implies a natural, or genetic, tendency in relation to biological aggression
    • Influence of genes
      • DNA on each chromosome carries units of info called genes
      • Our genes interact with the environment to influence every aspect of bodily structure and function
      • Research on the genetic influence of behaviour has often been conducted on non-human species, i.e. rats and mice, as they have a shorter gestation period
      • Psychologists are able to manipulate certain genes in order to measure the effects on behaviour
        • Genetic mapping, genetic engineering and selective breeding programmes have contributed enormously to our understanding of genetic basis of behaviour
    • Evaluation
      • Strengths
        • Uses scientific, experimental procedures
        • Provides strong arguments for the nature side of the nature-nurture debate
        • Useful applications - drugs that alleviate bipolar depression
      • Limitations
        • Reductionist - explains thoughts and behaviours in terms of the actions of nerves or chemicals
        • Over-simplistic. It fails to fully appreciate the influence that environmental factors have on behaviour
        • Ethical issues -genetic it right to artificially manipulate our genetic make-up?
    • Charles Darwin
      • 'The origin of the species'
        • He proposed that all species of living things have evolved over time from common ancestors through the process of 'Natural Selection'
        • The principle of natural selection therefore explains how the strongest genes survive and passed onto the next generations whilst 'weaker genes' die out
        • Darwin provided scientific evidence to show how random physical and behavioural changes either enable it to adapt to its strongest genes and therefore survive or to become maladaptive and die out


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