The biological approach summary

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  • Created by: Nafeesa16
  • Created on: 07-11-14 18:36

Biological assumptions

·        Biochemistry:

Behaviour is controlled by messages passed via nerves. – Serotonin = depression. + Dopamine = schizophrenia. Electrical impulses in brain = neurotransmitters.

·        Neuroanatomy:

Diff parts in brain – control diff behaviours, e.g. thalamus control sensory information such as Auditory (ears), Visual (eyes), Tactile (touch), Gustatory(taste) 

·        Endocrine system:

Hormones in the bloodstream transmit messages to diff areas of the body, for example ovary gland – oestrogen – stimulates ovaries to produce eggs

·        Genetics:

Disorders can be inherited from parents, especially if parent had them – causes pre-disposition (vulnerability to diseases)

Hans Selye’s stress & GAS theory.

In 1936, Hans Selye used rats to experiment stressors. Conclusion: No matter what the stressor, the body’s response to stress is very similar.

GAS:  general adaptation syndrome. Explain how our bodies adapt to stress & how diff stressors affect our body.

Explanation of stress: he did the experiments on animals– found that animals responded in the same way to a variety of damaging experiences. He then studied humans, the same psychological responses to various stressors = GAS.


ANS is activated. Info is sent to the hypothalamus through sensory organ – hypothalamus triggers endocrine system – adrenaline released. Hypothalamus activates SNS. Fight or flight stage. Pupils dilate, accelerated breathing/heart rate.


Body fights against stressor. Hormones release to help support/increase bodies resistance. PNS is activated – helps body cope with fewer resources. PNS is dominant but SNS has higher activity than normal. Slow breathing, stimulates digestion, & constricts eye pupils, contacts bladder.


Body can no longer cope with the stressor; signs of stress come back from stage 1. Constant activity could cause permanent damage. For example leaving the immune system weakened. Blood returns back to face, eye pupils return to normal, bladder eases up.                       

Therapy of the biological approach

Chemotherapy: Can change/improve biological state. It changes the body & the nervous system through drugs.

Psychoactive drugs: changes the way a person thinks & behaves by altering the chemical functioning of brain. Affects NT’s – restores chemical imbalance. There are 3 psychoactive drugs – Anti Psychotics, anti-depressants, anti- anxiety

·        Anti-psychotics:


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