Approaches - the biological approach

summary of the assumptions, research, application and evaluations of the biological approach for the synoptic topic, approaches. Information based on the a2 psychology exam for the AQA exam board, unit 4

Credit where credit is due: none of this would be possible without my amazing psychology teachers, thank you both so much!

  • Created by: Cara
  • Created on: 03-03-12 15:57

Assumptions and applications of the biological app

  • Physiological processes: these affect behaviour, mood and cognition
  • Genes: these can effect behaviour
  • Behavioural contiguity: studying animals can be of relevance in attempting of understand human behaviour
  • Scientific methodology: e.g. experiments, brain scanning
  • Application: drug therapy
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Possible research for biological approach

  • Johnson et al. - investigated the link between teenage smoking and anxiety in adulthood
  • Gottesman - percentage of concordance between a person with schixophrenia and different relations (twins, siblings, parents, etc)
  • Tienara - assessed the frequency of schizophrenia in the children of mothers who were and were not diagnosed as schizophrenic
  • Grove et al. - investigated concordance rates for criminal behaviour in separated pairs of MZ twins
  • Mednick et al. - studied the heritability of criminal behaviour is an adoption study
  • Raine et al. - compared brain volume in people with APD (antisocial personality disorder) and controls
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Strengths of the biological approach

  • Scientific: objective, experimental procedures often used
  • Applications: e.g. drug treatments for schizophrenia
  • Nature: provides strong counter arguments to the 'nurture' side of the nature-nurture debate
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Limitations of the biological approach

  • Oversimplified
  • Nurture: ignores the contribution of the environment to behaviour
  • reductionist: regards behaviour as resulting from genes, neurotransmitters, hormones etc, therefore loses signt of the 'whole' person
  • Deterministic: can be used to absolve people from blame (no moral responsibility)
  • Mind/body: doesn't explain the interaction - how do physiological processes affect thoughts and behaviour?
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