AS Psychology - The Biological Approach, Unit 2

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What is bio-approach?
- Looks at biological theories of gender development, key issues of interest
- Combines psychology & biology to provide psychological explanation for human behaviour
from basic differences between male and female. Such as language, memory & perception.
- Nature vs Nurture
- Nature: our beh. is determined by our biological genetic make-up
- Nurture: Influences of the environment
Twin Studies:
- Identical twins come from the same egg ­ Non identical twins don't.
- Monozygotic (MZ) (Identical) have the same
- Dizygotic (DZ) (Non-Identical) have different
- Look at twins through to see what traits they have by looking at concordance rates)
- E.G. There is a high concordance rates for MZ twin's
- If there is a high concordance rate for MZ twins
then it may be a genetic cause for that trait.
- Concordance higher for MZ than DZ genes play
a strong part in the beh.
- However most twins share the same env. so the similarities may be due to
environmental factors and not genes.
Adoption Studies:
- nature vs. nurture
- Adopted children share no genes w/their adopted family but share the same env. But also
share 50% genes w/their biological parents but no longer the same env.
Evaluating Twin Adoption Studies:
- Even twins separated at birth share the same env. (pre-natal env./the womb) for
- Even twins adopted at birth share the pre-natal env. with the biological mother. This could
influence the child's behaviour.
- I.E. The mother's general health & nutrition and any drug-taking whilst pregnant could have
an affect the child development and could account for similarities in beh. Between biological
mothers and children.
Further Isuues:
- Twins who are separated often share similar env. Adoption agencies ofen find similar
families to raise twins who are separated.
- This makes the developmental experiences alike as possible.
- This could result that the similar traits are becos of their similar upbringings & not genes
they share.

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The number of separated twins are minimal, so sample sizes are small ­ hard to
Brain Scans:
Functional ­ How the brain functions
Structural ­ The structure of the brain (the frame)
MRI Scans: Seeing a picture of the brain inside the skull. Allows you to see the structure
and see if there is any damage or tumours. Patient is placed on a large scanner which
passes a very strong magnetic field through their head.…read more

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Able to have more control over animals as they can be caged.
Central Nervous System:
- Made up of the brain and spinal cord.
- Nerve cells are called neurons: which passes info around inside the brain. ­
communicates w/the rest of the body through the nerve cells.
- Neurons communicate w/one another through synapses: small junctions between
- Neurotransmitters are released and passed from the terminal button of one neuron to
the dendrite.
- Excitatory Synapses: Encourage the neuron to fire.…read more

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Brain Lateralisation:
- Refers to which each hemisphere of the brain is involved with different activities
- Some evidence suggest there are differences between males & females or how their brain
works & which hemispheres control the same behaviours
- Most research has been done on rats becos rats are born 22 days after conception.…read more

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Children however, there are serious ethical questions
Case of David Reimer:
- The decision to raise Bruce as a girl proved not to be a good decision, as Bruce always felt
more like a male and affected his self-esteem growing up
Surgery Decisions:
- Easier to create a working vagina than a working penis. That though drives decisions over
which gender to raise a child.…read more


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