Biological Method of Abnormality

A little bit about the Biological model.

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The Biological Model

  • Assumes psychological disorders are physical illnesses with physical causes.
  • Major psychological symptoms.

  • When same symptoms frequently occur together, they represent a reliable syndrome or disorder.
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The Biological Model: Causes

    • Genetics- Faulty genes can cause diseases with psychological effects e.g. Huntingtons disease --> leads to deterioration of mental ability.

    • Neurotransmitters- Too much/little can cause psychological disorders e.g. too much dopamine linked with schiz.- cocaine increases dopamine --> can cause schiz. like symptoms.

    • Infection- <--can cause disorders. General paresis caused by syphillis.

    • Brain Injury- Can cause psychological disorders.
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The Biological Method of Abnormality: Research

Gottesman- twin studies

Method: carried out meta-analysis of 40 twin studies.

Results: having identical twin gave 48% of having it too. 17% in non identical twins

Conclusion: Schiz. has strong genetic basis.

Evaluation: highe ecological validity --> carried out as field exp.

identical twins share 100% of genes --> both twins might suffer from same conditions.

fam. environment may play a big role --> identical twins treated more similarly than non identical twins.

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The Biological Model: Treatments

Drugs- changes neurotransmitter levels in brain. phenothiazines reduce dopamine --> releives symptoms of schiz.

Psychosurgery- brain surgery --> destruction or separation of parts of brain.


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The Biological Model: Strengths



  • Based on Biology --> a lot of evidence shows biological  causes can cause psychological symptoms.


  • Ethical- people not blamed for disorders --> they just have an illness.


  • Biological therapies help relieve conditions --> couldnt be treated well previously.


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The Biological Model: Weaknesses




  • Therapies can raise ethical concerns. --> effects of psychosurgery are irreversible.


  • Psychological disorders may not be linked to physical probs. --> psychological therapies as effective as biological treatments --> doesn't intefere with biological structure.
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really useful thanks :D good luck for your exam x

christina richards


this was really helpful, thank you!!!

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