Slides in this set
Aims to find physiological explanations for human
behaviour using a combination of psychology and
Ranges from the basic differences in gender to more
complex phenomena such as memory, language and
Definition of the biological
The biological approach is still quite an early development in
comparison to approaches such as psychodynamic and learning.
Psychologists have used brain scans that allow us to see the living
brain and how it works.
Also used to develop drugs to treat mental illness, research into the
genetic basis of academic ability and research into the causes and
effects of stress.
Research methods used are scientific with an emphasis on control
laboratory setting with strict control over variables.
The biological approach focuses on two assumptions about where
our behaviour originates from:
1. Our behaviour is the result of genes that we possess from
2. Our behaviour is controlled by the activity in the central nervous
Advances in the biological approach…read more
Psychologists within the biological approach aim to
look for genetic explanations for who we are, to
support the argument that our behaviour is
One way this is done is to study identical twins as
they share exactly the same genes or to study
children who have been adopted and not brought up
by their biological parents.
Any similarities in behaviour between those with a
close genetic relationship can be attributed to that
Seeking genetic explanations…read more
Monozygotic twins Identical twins, two babies
who develop from the same egg and are therefore
genetically identical to each other as they share
100% of their genes.
Dizygotic twins Fraternal twins, two babies who
share the womb at the same time but develop from
two separate eggs. They therefore share 50% of the
same genes the same as any siblings.
KEY TERMS…read more
Used to see if behaviours are shared in those who are genetically similar.
Concordance rates are looked at to see what traits they share e.g. if one twin
has a certain trait, the other twin will also have the same trait.
By using this method on a large scale psychologists can work out the
likelihood of behaviours being genetic e.g. schizophrenia.
If there is a high concordance rate for any traits between MZ twins there may
be a genetic cause for that trait.
MZ twins are then compared with DZ twins to see if there is a genetic cause
because MZ twins share more genes than DZ twins.
If the concordance rate is higher for MZ twins it is likely that the trait is
genetic or genes play a strong part in the behaviour.
However, most twins also share the same environment so the similarities in
behaviour may be due to environmental factors rather than genes.
To overcome this psychologists try to study twins who are reared apart to
separate nature and nurture factors.
Twin studies…read more