Biological Approach

  • Created by: Bham369
  • Created on: 14-11-17 12:15

Maturational theory

  • Definition: A theory of how a child will develop developed by Dr Arnold Gesell 
  • Believes that the environment around us has minimal effect on our behaviour 
  • It implies that genes are set at birth as it is passed down from parents and eventually dictates our behaviour as they unfold over time determining our cognitive, physical and other developmental processes 
  • Rather than relying on the environment around us to help us to mature, it assumes that it is all down to our genes 
  • Presupposes that it is all nature without any nurture involved 
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Gesell’s theory of maturation

  • Believes that development happens over a course of stages that cause you to mature 
  • There are four stages to it: 
    • Stage 1: 
      • Necessary body systems begin to form e.g. heart and nervous systems 
    • Stage 2: 
      • Bones and muscle become stronger allowing the child to try new movements e.g. try to stand with aid
    • Stage 3: 
      • They become a fully functioning human being that is able to walk and talk 
    • Stage 4: 
      • The personality begins to develop due to genes allowing the person to develop 
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Genetic Influences on Behaviour

  • This assumes that only your genes that play a part in your behaviour 
  • Genetic can affect the way that you behave in many ways e.g. Huntington’s disease is cause when a dominant gene is passed on by either parent 
  • Despite environmental factors diseases/illnesses like this will occur if the gene is passed on 
  • They are known as genetically determined factors 
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Huntington’s disease

  • First begins to surface between the ages of 30-50 and are more likely to die after around 15 years after the disease first surfaces 
  • Symptoms include: 
    • Hallucinations/Delusions 
    • Severe confusion
    • Progressive memory loss 
    • Inappropriate speech 
    • Change in personality 
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Gene Vulnerability

  • Sometimes a gene may need to be triggered in order for the person to get the disorder e.g. a person can go through a terrible time but still not develop depression as they won’t have the gene for it to be triggered 
  • Often twins are used in studies to see if it is nature (genes) or nurture (environment) is the cause of certain disorders/behaviours 
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Twin Studies

  • Monozygotic (MZ) twins are identical as they have come from the same fertilised egg that has split 
    • They share the same DNA 
  • Dizygotic (DZ) twins are not identical and come from 2 different eggs that have been fertilised from 2 different sperm 
    • They share 50% of genes (same as any brother and sister)
  • If a monozygotic twin, then if only our genes he other will have the same disorder no matter what 
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Influence of the nervous and endocrine systems

  • The central nervous system (brain and spinal cord):
    •  All natural reactions that you don’t need to think about e.g. pulling your hand away when you touch something hot
  • The peripheral nervous system:
    • This activates the autonomic nervous system (ANS)
    • The ANS has to pathways it then separates into two pathways
      • The sympathetic system
      • The parasympathetic system 
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Sympathetic System

  • Which activates the fight or flight system to keep you safe. It kicks in when you have an acute stressor and need to keep safe. 
  • E.g. the mouth will become dry so that more oxygen can get to the lungs and in turn the muscles to help them to move quicker 
  • Once the stressor is removed then the parasympathetic system kicks in to help you to calm down 
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The parasympathetic system

  • Once the stressor has gone your parasympathetic system will kick in to help you to calm down 
  • E.g. Your heartbeat will lower to lower your blood pressure back to a normal level 
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Autonomic Nervous System

  • Stimulates the release of hormones 
  • E.g. Oxytocin is released to stimulate milk production in new mothers 
  • Some hormones are produced due to the environment around you e.g. the sight of food makes you feel hungry 
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Evaluation: Positives

  • Quickly and effectively treats symptoms e.g. antidepressants 
  • There is evidence that our biology affects our behaviour 
  • E.g. people who have schizophrenia have a different brain structure to those without schizophrenia 
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Evaluation: Negatives

  • It doesn’t take in to account environmental factors or free will making ungeneralizable to everyone 
  • While it is good at treating symptoms it is not good at treating the cause of the problem e.g. a patient with depression is more likely to relapse once they stop treatment 
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