Outline principles that define the Biological Level of Analysis


  • State what you are doing in the essay 
    • This essay will give a brief summary of the principles that define the biological level of analysis. 
  • Define the biological level of analysis 
    • The biological level of analysis (BLA) states that all cognitions, emotions and behaviours have a physiological basis. 
  • State the principles of the BLA 
    • There are three underlying principles that define the BLA 
  1. Emotions and behaviours are products of the anatomy and physiology of the nervous and endocrine systems 
  2. Animal research may inform our understanding of human behaviour 
  3. Patterns of behaviour can be inherited; behaviour is innate because it is genetically based 
  • Purpose of the Principles 
    • These principles are the main ideas that have driven focused research on specific areas of behaviour and physiology
    • They also allow us to understanding how behaviour can be caused or influenced by biological factors 
  • The BLA assumes that behaviour is a result of biological/physiological factors 
    • Links with the principle that there are biological correlates of behaviour. 
  • Bidirectional relationship between other levels of analysis 
    • Behaviour is not only a result of biological factors alone; other factors like cognitions and the environment interact with one another, resulting in specific behaviours
    • Cognition can affect biology and biology can affect cognition
    • The environment can also affect physiological processes and vice versa 
  • Nature vs. nurture debate 
    • Debate between whether human behaviour is attributed to biological or environmental factors
    • Psychologists have an interactionist approach and take both into account 
  • Reductionist approach 
    • At the BLA, researchers break down complex human physiology and behaviour into its smallest components to study 
  • Outline Essay
    • Two of the three principles will be outlined in the following essay.


The first principle states that
1. Cognitions, emotions and behaviours are products of the anatomy and physiology of our nervous and endocrine systems. There are biological correlates of behaviour

Describe the principle

  • Specific brain processes, neurotransmitters, and hormones can play a role in behaviour. 
  • These physiological processes are what forms the basis of the biological level of analysis, in relation to how it functions and therefore affects human behaviour in everyday life. 
    • For example, this relates to the idea of localization of function, in that each area of the brain is responsible for coordinating a certain part of our body/nervous system and thus our behaviour. 

Outline the approaches that can be made towards this principle 

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