A2 Psychology: Phobia (Biological Approach)

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Phobia: Biological Approach

-phobias are biological disorders (medical) so there is treatment available for it and it can be cured.

Causes for phobias:

  • genes
  • brain malfunction/ injury/ damage
  • chemical imbalance

Research Methods:

  • Twin studies- MZ (identical)twins have a higher concordance compared to DZ (non-identical) twins.
  • Family studies- concordance rates gets lower the further away (uncles, cousins etc) 


  • Drugs (Beta-blockers)
  • Brain surgery (last resort)


-Drugs can only cure the symptoms not cure the actual phobia

-theory ignores environmental causes

3 Biological Explanations:

1. Genes

2. Neurology (nervous system of the brain)

3. Evolutionary

Genetic Evidence- Family studies

Solyom, 1974

- In a study of 47 phobics

  • 45% had family history of phobics compared to 19% in general public

Fyer, 1990

- with immediate relatives of specific phobics

  • 31% were phobic BUT only 4% had the same type of phobia

Noyes, 1986

- immediate relatives…


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