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The biological approach aims to explain all behaviour and experience in terms of physical bodily
Assumption 1 behaviour can be explained in terms of different areas of the brain. The cerebral
cortex covers the surface of the brain. This area is responsible for higher cognitive functions. The
cerebral cortex is divided into 4 lobes. The most important; the frontal lobe is responsible for fine
motor movement and thinking.
Assumption 2 behaviour can be explained in terms of hormones. Substances that are produced in
one part of the body and circulate in the blood, having a target on organs. Examples of hormones,
testosterone (male) and oestrogen (female) and adrenaline.
Selye's GAS model -
Therapy 1: Psychosurgery
Psychosurgery goes back to the ancient practise of trepanning. Holes of about 4cm in diameter were
cut in the skull of a living person using a sharp knife or circular drill. Common in Ancient Greece and
Rome. In 1940s and 1950s a new form of psychosurgery was pioneered by Egas Moniz.
Psychosurgery is a surgical procedure that is performed on the brain with the aim of treating
mentally ill disordered behaviour.
Prefrontal lobotomy is a surgical procedure involving the destruction of the nerve fibres. Purpose is
the alleviate some of the severe symptoms of mental illness. Operations were performed on
patients with affective disorders OCD and depression. Moniz^ developed a surgery, by drilling
holes in each side of the skull, and inserting a instrument to destroy severe nerve fibres, it was
believed that it would relieve patients from illness.
Neurosurgeons nowadays use brain scanning, such as MRI scans to locate exact points within the
brain and sever connections very precisely. ....................................
Deep brain stimulation
Surgeons thread wires through the skull. No tissue destroyed. The wires, which are embedded in the
brain, are connected to a battery pack implanted in the chest. The batteries make a high-frequency
current that interrupts the brain circuitry involved in OCD.
Strengths & Weaknesses of Biological Approach
Successful applications successful applications have had a huge impact on our understanding of the
link between stress and illness. The biological approach has led to many forms of treatment for
mental disorder s, such as Psychosurgery.
Scientific approach - it lends itself to scientific research that can then be used to support biological
explanations. The biological explanations have clear variables that can be measured, tracked and
Other pages in this set
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Individual differences the approach looks to make generalisation about people and find similarities.
Biological researches study a few individuals and assume that everyone's biological system behaves
the same way.
Reductionist approach is a part of understanding how systems work, but the problem is that, in the
process, we may lose a real understanding of the thing we are investigating.…read more