The Biological approach to explaining OCD - Neural explanations

View mindmap
  • Neural explanations
    • The role of serotonin
      • If a person has low levels of serotonin then normal transmission doesn't take place and mood/other mental processes are affected
      • One explanation concerns the role of serotonin - believed to help regulate mood
      • Some cases of OCD may be explained by a reduction in the functioning of the serotonin system in the brain
      • Neurotransmitters are responsible for relaying information from one neuron to another
    • Decision-making systems
      • May be associated with abnormal functioning of the lateral of the frontal lobes of the brain
      • Evidence to suggest that the left parahippocampal gyrus (associated with processing unpleasant emotions) functions abnormally in OCD
      • The frontal lobes are the front part of the brain responsible for logical thinking and decision making
      • Some cases of OCD seem to be associated with impaired decision making
    • Genes associated with OCD are likely to affect the levels of key neurotransmitters as well as structures of the brain
    • Evaluation
      • There is some supporting evidence
        • Some antidepressants work purely on the serotonin system, increasing levels of neurotransmitter
        • Effective in reducing OCD symptoms, suggesting that the serotonin system is involved in OCD
        • OCD symptoms form part of a number of other symptoms that are biological in origin
        • Suggests that biological processes that cause the symptoms may also be responsible for OCD
      • It is not clear exactly which neural mechanisms are involved
        • Studies of decision making have shown that these neural systems are the ones that function abnormally in OCD (Cavedini et al. 2002)
        • Research has also identified other brain systems that may be involved sometimes but no system has been found that always plays a role
      • We should not assume that neural mechanisms cause OCD
        • Evidence suggests that various neurotransmitters and structures of the brain do not function normally in patients with OCD
        • Not the same as saying that this is the cause
        • Could be a result
  • Evaluation extra
    • The serotonin-OCD link may simply be co-morbidity with depression
      • Many people who suffer from OCD become depressed
      • Having two disorders together is called co-morbidity
      • Probably involves disruption to the serotonin system
      • Leaves us with a logical problem when it comes to the serotonin system as a possible basis for OCD
      • Could simply be that the serotonin system is disrupted in many patients with OCD because they are depressed as well
    • Twin studies are flawed as genetic evidence
      • Twin studies are a standard source of evidence for genetic influence
      • Makes the assumption that identical twins are more similar in terms of their genes, but overlook that it may be because of shared environments


No comments have yet been made

Similar Psychology resources:

See all Psychology resources »See all Obsessive compulsive disorders resources »