Biological Explanations of Schizophrenia (CONDENSED)

Biological Explanations of Schizophrenia (genetics and biochemistry) in note form.

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Psychology ­ Biological Explanations of Schizophrenia
Genetics
Intro: inherit faulty genes from parents...
AO1
o Twin Studies, Gottsman, 40 studies, found a concordance rate of 48% in MZ twins
and 17% in DZ twins
o Heston developed this and said 90% chance of suffering SOME SORT of disorder if
they're an MZ twin (reliability and validity)
AO2
o In support, further research by Gottsman said there is an even higher chance of
developing schizophrenia if the MZ are separated
o The concordance rates are not 100%
o Leohlin and Nichols said the research evidence wasn't MZ, it is simply that they are
treated more similarly (same gender etc...)
AO1
o Family studies, Gottsman said there is a 46% chance of developing schizophrenia if
both parents suffer from it, however only 16% if just one parent suffers from it
o Research has also found there is a 17% chance of developing schizophrenia if a
parent has an identical twin with schizophrenia
AO2
o Could be explained by SLT, learnt behaviour
Stand-alone AO2
o Methodological problems, a small sample size is implicated with the debate of is
psychology a science? It undermines the validity
o Tosato says that gene mapping has found no single gene that explains schizophrenia
(reductionist)
o However, it does offer up a practical application as it allows high risk individuals to
be identified
Biochemistry
Intro: states that schizophrenia is caused by biological factors such as level of
neurotransmitters in the brain
o Dopamine hypothesis, neurons fire too easily and too often increasing the level of
dopamine
o Snyder claims schizophrenia is due to high levels of D2 receptors which increase the
level of dopamine
o Davies says high levels of dopamine in the mesolimbic dopamine system (lower part
of the brain that deals with functions for example temperature) are linked with
positive symptoms, whilst high levels of dopamine in the mesocorticol dopamine
system (high part of the brain linked with thought processes) are linked to negative
symptoms.
AO2

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Randrup gave amphetamine to rats and saw schizophrenic behaviour appear and
then reversed the effect by giving them neuroleptic drugs which inhibit the
release of dopamine (issue of extrapolation)
o The drug L-dopa taken by Parkinson disease sufferers to increase their low
levels of dopamine can produce many symptoms of schizophrenia
o Anti-psychotic drugs which block dopamine activity eliminate the symptoms of
schizophrenia therefore strengthening the case that dopamine is a significant
factor implicated in this disorder
Stand-alone AO2
o Barlow and Durand found that…read more

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