WJEC Biological Approach Revision Guide

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Psychology PY1 Revision Guide: Biological Approach Ash
[Pick the date]
Biological Approach Examination Key Points and Ideas Case Studies
Outline two assumptions of the 1. Behaviour can be explained in terms of
different areas of the brain.
biological approach.
2. Behaviour can be explained in terms of
3. Behaviour can be explained in terms of
Describe Selye's General Adaption Hans Selye's: Research with Rats
Selye worked in a hospital and noted
Syndrome. The GAS Model:
Selye's (1936,1950)research led him to conclude that all the patients suffered from a
common set of symptoms (aches and
that when an animal is exposed to an unpleasant
stimuli. It displays a universal response to all the pains, loss of appetite) no matter what
stressors. He named this the `General Adaption was wrong with them (in general).
Syndrome (GAS). Later when conducting research on
It is `general' because it is the same the effects of hormones on rats,
response to all agents. Selye (1936) noticed the `generalised'
The term `adaption' is used because it is response. No matter what the
adaptive--the healthiest way for the body substance was the rats always came
to cope with extreme stress. out with a similar result.
It is a `syndrome' because there were He suggested that there was only one
several symptoms in the stress response. internal mechanism for dealing with
`noxious agents'--which he called
Seyle proposed that three stages that led up to
`stressors'. The aim of this study was
the illness, thus linking stress and illness--stress
to test his hypothesis.
results in a depletion of psychological resources,
which lowers the organism's resistance to

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Psychology PY1 Revision Guide: Biological Approach Ash
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Stage 1: Alarm Reaction: Rats were exposed to various noxious agents:
The threat or the stressor is recognised and a cold, surgical injury, production of spinal
response is made to the alarm. The shock (cutting the spinal cord), excessive
hypothalamus in the brain triggers the production muscular exercise, or intoxications with
of adrenaline form the adrenal glands (which lie sublethal doses of diverse drugs (adrenaline,
on top of the kidneys).…read more

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Psychology PY1 Revision Guide: Biological Approach Ash
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Describe how the biological physiological triad seen in the first
approach has been applied in either stage.
psychosurgery or chemotherapy? The results support the `doctrine of non
specificity', that there is a non specific
response of the body to any demand made
upon it. Selye suggested that the responses
observed in rats to noxious agents might be
Chemotherapy (Drugs) similar to general defence reactions to illness.…read more

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Psychology PY1 Revision Guide: Biological Approach Ash
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Strengths and Weaknesses Strengths and Weaknesses
Strengths Strengths
1. Scientific Approach 1. Scientific Approach Case Study
The biological approach has clear Research has been investigated the
variables that can be measured, tracked links between psychoactive drugs and
and examined. This enables the the production of certain
psychologists to conduct scientific neurotransmitters (i.e. dopamine), and
research studying these variables. linked this to behaviour.
2. Deterministic Approach 2.…read more

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Psychology PY1 Revision Guide: Biological Approach Ash
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Explain and Evaluate the Mental illnesses have many different The biological approach looks at
methodology used by the biological causes however the biological approach schizophrenia by measuring the
approach. only focuses mainly on the nature side, abnormal levels of certain
and tend to ignore any experience or neurotransmitters rather than looking
environment influences the individual may at the condition the patient is in. That
have. rather ensure that the biological state
3.…read more

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Psychology PY1 Revision Guide: Biological Approach Ash
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MRI scans can take a long time and be
uncomfortable for the patient.
Twin Studies
One of the assumptions of the biological Twin Studies:
Bouchard and McGue (1981)
approach is the influence of genes on
They studied the inheritance of IQ. They
behaviour. Psychologists use the study of
measured the intelligence of twins and then
genes to compare the effects of genetics compared their IQs .
(nature) and experiences (nurture).…read more

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Psychology PY1 Revision Guide: Biological Approach Ash
[Pick the date]
genes, but are also often raised in
exactly the same environment, and are
treated in the same way in all areas of
life (family, education, etc).
Concordance rates from psychological
research are therefore be treated with
caution as it's difficult to untangle the
relative effects of genetics versus
The study of twins reared apart is also
problematic.…read more


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