The biological approach

  • The biological approach:
  • AO1:
  • Key assumptions of the biological approach:
  • The biological approach suggests that everything psychological is at first biological, so to fully understand human behavior we must look to biological structures and processes within the body, such as genes, neurochemistry and the nervous system. 
  • The genetic basis of behaviour:
  • Behaviours are inherited in the same way as physical characteristics such as height and eye colour. For example, the 5HT1-D beta gene implicated in OCD. This is in contrast to the cognitive approach which see the mind and as separate from the brain. Concordance rates between twins are calcualted - the extent to which twins share the same characteristics. Higher concordance rates among identical (monozygotic, MZ) twins that non-identical (dizygotic, DZ) twins is evidence of a genetic basis. For example, 68% of MZ twins have have OCD compared with 31% of DZ twins (Nestadt et al). 
  • Genotype and phenotype:
  • A person's genotype is their actual genetic make-up, whereas phenotype is the way that genes are expressed through physical, behavioural and psychological characteristics. The expression of a genotype (phenotype) is influenced by environmental factors. For example, identical twins usually look slighly different because one has exercised more, or dyed their hair etc. This suggests that much of human behaviour depends on the interaction of nature and nurture. 
  • Evolution and behaviour:
  • Charles Darwin propsed the theory of natural selection. The main principle of this theory is that any genetically determined

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