Biological explanation of abnormailty

Behaviour is shaped by physiological factors. Abnormal behaviours are illnesses that are caused by a combination of factors. 

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  • Created by: sarah
  • Created on: 03-05-11 10:11

Biological Explanation - A01

The four factors are...

Genetics - This is when some people may be genetically at risk for some mental disorders. Studies on twins (McGuffin)
Biochemistry - People suffering psychological disorders have an imbalanced amount of neurotransmitters in the nervous system. Excessive amounts of dopamine have been related to schizophrenia. low levels of serotonin is associated with depression. (Hormone -cortisol.)
infection - Infection and illness can give rise to mental illnesses. 
Brain structure/ Damage - Abnormal behaviour can occur if the structure of the brain is damaged. E.g people with schizophrenia normally have larger ventricle (sacks of fluid on the brain).Alzheimer's is caused by loss of cells in the nervous system.

Human Genome Project: genes- look at DNA to provide a genetic link in psychiatric disorders.

Brown et al: Infection- 14% cases of schizophrenia related to flu exposure in the womb.

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Biological Explanation- A02

3 criticisms of the biological explanation of abnormality:

1. No Blame (deterministic)- People with mental illnesses are not responsible for their actions. Releases sympathetic response from others, so they feel that they need help.

2. Relinquishing Responsibility- encouraged to become passive patients, so hand responsibilty of their illness to someone else. resulting in them not feeling responsible for their own recovery.

3. Reductionist- Medical model breaks down a complex issue to a level that is just a combination of biological factors.

McGuffin et al (1996) schizophrenia twin research.
46% concordance in Mz twins compared to 20% in Dz twins out of 109 pairs. Shows depression can be genetic. Mz have same genes and higher rate. 

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