BIOLOGICAL APPROACH - CONTENT

  • The central nervous system and human behaviour
  • Genes and human behaviour
  • The role of biological factors in gender development
  • Hormones
  • Brain Lateralisation
  • Evaluating biological influences on gender development - Use of animal research, pseudo-hermaphrodites, problems with hormones, social learning theory, a combination of biology and the environment
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The central nervous system is made up of the brain and spinal cord.
The brain contains billions of nerve cells called neurons which pass
information around inside the brain.
It then communicates with the rest of the body through the nerve cells in
the nervous system telling different parts of the body what to do.
Neurons communicate with one another through synapses which are small
junctions between neurons where neurotransmitters are released and
passed from the terminal button of one neuron to the dendrite of the
receiving neuron.
Some synapses are excitatory and encourage the neuron to fire while
other synapses are inhibitory and tell the neuron not to `fire'.
The decision over whether to `fire' or not depends on how many
excitatory and inhibitory messages the neuron receives from it's
thousands of synapses.
If the number of excitatory messages far outweighs the number of
inhibitory messages, it is likely to fire and vice versa.
The central nervous system and human
behaviour…read more

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Synaptic transmission…read more

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Genes are made up of DNA which is responsible for the
protein synthesis which influences our development.
They are contained in chromosomes which are found
within the nuclei of cells; we inherit 23 chromosomes
from each parent which is thought to account for shared
behavioural traits between family members.
These genes are thought to dictate everything from our
eye and hair colour to our gender, and many people also
believe that many of our personality traits are
determined by our genes.
Genes and human behaviour…read more

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All humans share certain behaviour, such as the need for sleep
or the drive to eat, and we also share a lot of the same genetic
make-up so many people believe that these shared genes
account for the shared behaviours.
At the same time, the differences in our genetic make-up may
account for differences in our behaviours.
This makes up a large basis of the nature/nurture debate.
Nature refers to the idea that our behaviour is determined by
our biological make-up and is therefore beyond our control.
Nurture refers to the influence of the environment and
experiences after birth on our behaviour.
The debate is over how much nature and/or nurture actually
controls what or who we become.
Genes and human behaviour…read more

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We all inherit 23 pairs of chromosomes from each
parent.
22 of the 23 pairs determine physical appearance such as
hair colour, eye colour, height but the final pair
determines gender.
In females, the final pair of chromosomes is XX where
the foetus inherits an X chromosome from each parent.
In males, the final pair of chromosomes is XY where
the foetus inherits an X chromosome from the mother
and a Y chromosome from the father.
The role of biological factors in
gender development.…read more

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