The Biological Approach

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  • The Biological Approach
    • Main Assumptions
      • Everything psychological is originally biological in order to understand human behaviour we need to know biological structures
      • To find out the extent to which characteristics are caused by genes use twin studies monozygotic are identical twins share 100% genes and dizygotic twins which share 50% genes and twins determine the likelihood of something being caused by genes
    • Definitions
      • Genotype - the genetic makeup of an individual (genes present in each of your cells)
      • Phenotype - the characteristics expressed by an individual (whether they have brown or blue eyes)
      • Chemical processes - studies of the role of chemical changes in the nervous system and hormonal changes in aiding understanding
      • Evolution and Behaviour - Charles Darwin proposed evolution by natural selection. This is that any genetically determined behaviour that improves an individual's survival will continue in future generations
    • Evaluation
      • Uses scientific and objective methods such as EEGs, fMRIs and PET scans and twin studies - produce objective data which can be replicated and peer reviewed increasing reliability
      • Has real life application - based on the neurotransmitters psychoactive drugs have been developed which help treat mental disorders such as OCD and depression
      • It is a deterministic approach - it sees our behaviour as caused entirely by biological factors over which we have no control - encourages people not to take responsibility for their own actions
      • Cannot separate nature from nurture - could be argued twin studies don't separate nature from nurture because they are raised in the same environment - make more sense to use adoption studies in order to make this separation

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