Biological Approach

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  • Biological Approach
    • Assumptions
      • Neurotransmitters
        • Nervous system is formed of neurons
        • Neurons communicate @ a synapse
        • NTs are released & cross the gap to deliver the info
        • Involved in certain behaviours
        • Too much dopamine= schizophrenic symptoms
      • Genes
        • Certain behaviours are inherited
        • Some are determined by a single gene
          • e.g eye colour
        • Most are determined by many genes
          • e.g intelligence
        • For example, children who's parents have schiz are 18X more likely to get it themselves
    • Theory
      • Seyle's research with rats
        • Aim: To investigate how rats respond to different stressors
        • Procedure: Rats exposed to variety of stressors
          • E.g extreme cold, lethal injections, etc
        • Findings:
          • 6-48hrs: triad of symptoms e.g enlarged adrenal glands, stomach ulcers, weakened immune system
          • 1-3 months: symptoms returned after dissapearing
      • GAS model
        • 1. Alarm reaction: SNS is activated, heart& breathing rates increase= more O2 so we can run away
          • Fight/flight response
        • 2. Resistance: If threat remains, body moves to long term protection, hormones are released
          • E.g cortisol increases blood sugar to give us more energy
        • 3. Exhaustion: a high level of hormones such as cortisol can impair immune functioning
    • Therapy- chemotherapy
      • Assumption- Psycho disorders are the result of an imbalance of NTs
        • Therefore, they can be treated by drugs that block receptors
      • Anti-psychotic drugs: alters the effect of chemicals, e.g dopamine, in the brain by binding 2 receptors
        • E.g chlorpromazine
        • Prevents hallucinations&severe mood swings. Treats anxiety, schiz, &depression
      • Anti-anxiety drugs: lowers blood pressure by blocking the effect of hormones. Treats OCD, stress, & ADHD
        • e.g beta-blockers
      • Anti-depressant drugs: increases levels of seretonin. Encourages neurons to make more NTs. Reduces feelings of stress & anxiety
        • E.g SSRIs
        • Treats OCD, stress, ADHD etc
      • Wahlbeck- not effective for everyone: 30% do not respond
    • Methodology
      • Brain scans
        • Assumption: behaviour is explained through hormone&NT activity in the brain
        • Allows psychologists to view brain activity
        • CAT scan: injected dye
        • MRI scan: magnetic field
        • PET scans: radioactive glucose
        • Scientific, high reliability
        • unethical, low validity
      • Twin studies
        • Looks for similarities/differences between genetically related people
        • A concordance rate is used- 100% means identical
        • MZ&DZ twins are investigted
        • Scientific, determinist, high in validity
        • Reductionist, naturist, lacks external reliability
    • Strengths
      • Determinist
        • Approach assumes that all human behaviour is dtermined by genes etc
        • Brain structure suggests we don't have free willover our behaviour
        • If we know what pre-determines out behaviour, we will be able to treat abnormal behaviour
      • Scientific
        • Approach is based on the assumptions of genes, hormones etc
        • Research is objective, falsifiable, replicale etc. For example, Seyle's research
    • Weaknesses
      • Naturist
        • Tends to ignore life experiences and psycho factors e.g how people think&feel
        • For example, Seyle's research doesn't take into account the rats' individual behaviour
      • Reductionist
        • Reduces complex behaviours into simple explanations
        • oversimplifies the complexities of human behaviour
  • Anti-anxiety drugs: lowers blood pressure by blocking the effect of hormones. Treats OCD, stress, & ADHD
    • e.g beta-blockers

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