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PY1: Approaches to psychology
Biological approach
Outline two assumption of the biological approach. [4]
One assumption of the biological approach is that the behaviour can be explained in terms of
different areas of the brain. This is because many different areas of the human brain have been
identified as certain functions. The cerebral cortex is divided into four lobes. The most important is
the frontal cortex/lobe, as this is responsible for fine motor movement and thinking. Another lobe is
the occipital lobe which is responsible for processing sensory information. For example, if someone
was about to be poked in the eye, the occipital lobe will sense and send the information to the brain
through the central nervous system(CNS) telling it to react by closing your eyes immediately. Another
assumption is that behaviour can be explained in terms of the neurotransmitters. They are different
types of nerves (neurone) in our system which carries information throughout our body and brain.
They do so through synapses, this is where the message is relayed by chemical messages. For
example, when you take painkillers the morphine will follow the bodies' normal pain relievers. The
nerve cell communicates with each other from across the synapse using the chemical messengers
(neurotransmitters). The serotonin (NT) will then take effect which will change our mood and feeling.
Describe Selye's GAS model. [8]
Hans Selye research, such as the study of `the facing page' led him to conclude that when animals are
exposed to stressful situation, they display a universal response to all stressor. He called this general
adaptation syndrome (GAS). To prove his theory, Selye's came up with three stages that's leads to
illness, thus leading stress to illness- stress can result in a decrease of physiological resource, which
lowers the organism's resistant to infection. First stage Selye's proposed, was the alarm reaction.
This is when the stressor recognised and response is made to the alarm. The hypothalamus in the
brain triggers the production of adrenaline from the adrenal glands. This causes `adrenaline rush' this
leads to readiness for `flight or fight'. Stage two is the Resistance. This is when the body starts to
adapt to the environment, but at the same time resources are gradually depleting. The body seems
as if it's coping, but in physiologically things are deteriorating. And stage three is the Exhaustion
stage. This is when the body system can no longer maintain it regular functions. And the stressor is
unable to continue to deal with the stress, and this exhaustion can result in death if the stress
continues. Hans concluded that these stages show how psychological problems can lead to biological
Describe how the biological approach is applied to either psychosurgery or chemotherapy. [12]
Chemotherapy: the biological approach believes all behaviour is psychological in nature. One of the
main assumptions of the biological approach is that our behaviour can be explained by chemical
messengers in the brain, known as neurotransmitters. Chemotherapy is a therapy based on this
approach, and, based on this assumption aim altering neurotransmitter activity. Chemotherapy is the

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Antidepressant drug
for example, work on the neurotransmitter serotonin, as it is believed that depression is due to
insufficient amount of this. These drugs generally work by reducing the rate at which certain
neurotransmitters are re-absorbed into the nerve ending. For example, SSRI's (selective serotonin
reuptake inhibitors) work by blocking the mechanism that re-absorbs the serotonin into the synapse.
The result of this is that more serotonin is left in the synapse, alleviating the feeling of depression
(hopefully).…read more

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The biological approach would make use of non-invasive methods such as brain scan; these include
EEG, CAT, MRI and PET scan. EEG measures brain activities by placing electrodes onto the scalp, and
are useful for investigating things like hemisphere function and stages of sleep. However, they do
not provide us with images of the brain as do CAT and MRI scans.…read more

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Positive reinforcement is where we receive a reward for our behaviour, negative reinforcement is
where we manage to avoid something unpleasant happening.
Describe the social learning theory of aggression SLT [8]
The SLT of aggression would consider how children could learn aggression both directly and
indirectly. E.g. a child may be given attention for throwing a tantrum, and this is positively reinforcing
for them, as it acts as reward (learn aggression directly).…read more

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This approach is adapted for a large number of different anxieties or
phobias and is very effective, although can be criticised for being very time consuming.
Evaluate two strength of the behaviourist approach. [6]
The behaviourist approach is scientific. As they seek to study behaviour that is observed and directly
measured. Behaviourists believe that the use of scientific methods, will allows them to analyse,
qualify and compare behaviour. This is one of the strength because it allows us to identify reality
from beliefs.…read more

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For example by using a certain tone
of voice it could influence the participant's feedback. Another methodology used by the behaviourist
approach, is the animals in the researches. This is because they believe that there are only
quantitative differences between humans and animals. Animal learning have been successfully
applied to human behaviours. For example, classical conditioning principles were developed through
Pavlov's study of dogs and these principles have been successfully used in therapy, such as
systematic desensitisation for the treatment of phobia.…read more

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The true meaning of the dream which is likely to be hidden is known as
the latent content it is the process of the `dreamwork' that disguises latent content, and allows the
dream to continue forming a more acceptable storyline. For example, during dreamwork,
displacement may occur where our true feelings for someone will be transferred onto someone or
something else. Also symbolisation will disguise the meaning of the dream; this is where an object in
a dream may symbolise something else.…read more

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Cognitive approach
Outline two assumptions of the cognitive approach. [4]
The cognitive approach looks at how thinking shapes our behaviour. An assumption of the cognitive
approach is that behaviour can be explained by mental processes. This approach sees a human has
information processors, where our thinking processors all work together in order to make sense of
the world around us. Cognitive processes that have been studied include perception, attention,
memory and language.…read more

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Another important strength to this approach is the way that it has influenced different areas of
psychology, and the impact that it has had everyday life. For example, therapies like CT and CBT is
extremely widely used now in the UK for treating depression. Cognitive psychology has greatly
influenced the thinking within the field of developmental psychology too. For example, Piaget's
theory of cognitive development has been most influential within education.
Evaluate two weaknesses of the cognitive approach.…read more

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This can occur due to the close proximity between
experimenter and participant.…read more


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