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Psychology summary…read more

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Biological approach-
· Initiation ­ Genetics
· Runs in families
· Twin studies ­ Shah ­ genetic transmission in men
· Black found first degree relatives of gamblers were more likely to suffer
from gambling than distant relatives. Therefore there is a strong link
· Maintenance ­ positive reward theory
· Gives the individual a rush of adrenaline
· Keeps them involved as they are not always winning
· Don't want to suffer withdrawal symptoms (not as bad as smoking)
· Orford found that gamblers and alcoholics have similar strengths of
addiction and experience similar withdrawal symptoms. (Orford used a
self report method)
· Relapse ­ to stop withdrawal symptoms/boredom
· Blascyznski ­ gmablers have higher boredom proneness than non
gamblers. Also no significant difference between different types of
gambling (slot machines, horses)
· Cues can also be associated with relapse ­ chips/dice.…read more

Slide 3

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Evaluation of biological -
· A03 ­ Orford used self report measures (-ve)
· Individual differences ­ can explain why some
become addicted and some don't (genes)
· Ignores environmental/situational factors ­ ignores
external factors (accessibility to gambling, access to
alcohol whilst gambling, and peer pressure)
· Cannot explain why some types of gambling is more
addictive than others ­ online/video gambling is
more addictive than betting on horses etc. (Breen
and Zimmerman)…read more

Slide 4

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Biological approach-
· Initiation: Genetics
· Heritability
· Vink studied 1572 twins and found individual differences in smoking initiation were
explained by genetics (44%) and environmental (56%)
· Boardman studied 321 same sex twins and found that the heritability for regular smoking to
be 42%
· Maintenance: Effects of nicotine
· Nicotine affects brain chemistry by activating nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, which leads
to the release of dopamine. This creates short lived feelings of pleasure then impairment of
mood/concentration as nicotine levels in the blood drop. Having another cigarette can
relieve this.
· Relapse
· Xian found that 54% of the risk for quit failure could be heritability.
· Uhl attempted to find a specific gene cluster associated with quit success and nicotine
dependence, with the aim of matching specific antismoking treatments with the smokers
more likely to benefit from them…read more

Slide 5

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Evaluation of biological -
· + Explains Individual Differences - Genetic explanations for addiction explains why some people
become addicted and others do not when they are both exposed to the same social situations or
stressors. Some people have a genetic predisposition for addiction (Diathesis Stress model), so are
more likely to become addicted to smoking or gambling in response to stressors than someone
without the genetic disposition.
· + Practical Application - Biological explanation makes it possible to treat addicts research such as
Kim & Grants in to Naltrexone show how addiction can be reduced.
· - Reductionist - Biological explanation reduces a complex phenomenon like addiction down to a
simple explanation - the influence of genes or imbalance of brain chemicals. Biological explanation
does not consider the influence of faulty cognitive processes or influence of peers and social
· - Absolves Addicts of Responsibility & Determinism - The biological explanation blames the genes of
the addict, the theory is determinist which means the addict cannot help behaving this way and thus
takes away the addicts responsibility for a dangerous or illegal addiction. Others would argue that
addicts do have free will and choose to initiate and maintain their addiction and therefor should be
· - Corrolation Studies - Many studies have found that there is an association between dopamine and
addiction. However social interaction can influence dopamine, a study on monkeys found that those
who lost social status soon had lower levels of dopamine, this can be the case in humans as well
especially when their life is characterised by stress and poverty.…read more

Slide 6

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Biological studies
· Thorgiersson - meta analysis, 140,000 participants, genetic factors linked toinitation and
amount of smoking
· Comings - 48.9% smokers + 25.9% general population have A1 V. of D2DR
· Volkow - Adults with fewer D2DR enjoyed dopamine rush from Ritalin.
· Shachter - Compared participants smoking low/high nicotine cigarettes, Low N. smokers
smoked 25% more cigarettes than High N. Smokers.
· Corrigal & Cohen - Rats self-administered less nicotine when release of dopamine was
blocked by other drugs.
· Lerman et al - Blood flow to parts of brain associated with rewards increase during
abstinence, quiting cause physiological changes leading to relapse.
· Meyer - found gambling causes increase heart rate/cortisol secretion so gambling does
cause biological changes.
· Black - First degree relatives of pathological gamblers are more likely to gamble than
distant relatives, show there is a genetic factor involved in gambling.
· Slutske - studied 5000 MZ + DZ twins, concordance rates for gambling twice as high for
MZ twins than DZ, also shows genetic factor involved in gambling.
· Wray & Dickerson - found 60% of gamblers reported withdrawal symptoms.
· Kim + Grant - found Naltrexone increases dopamine levels and reduces addictive
behaviour, this show dopamine is important factor in gambling.
· Weintraub et al - studied 3000 patients with Parkinson's and found dopamine agonist
caused 10% of patients to become pathological gamblers.…read more

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