Biological Approach

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  • Created by: Rebekah
  • Created on: 17-04-14 18:55
What does the biological approach look at? Assumptions?
> chemical activity in the brain > gender development via genes > brain lateralisation
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What are used as research methods?
twin studies and adoption studies
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Why are twin and adoption studies used?
To study the influence of genes on behaviour
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What debate can twin and adoption studies give support for?
Nature-nurture debate
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What is nature?
What we are born with and is controlled by our genes
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What is nuture?
What we experience from the environment as we develop e.g. parents, culture, interactions, experiences
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What are monozygotic (MZ) twins?
Identical - DNA is 100% identical - one sperm one egg divided into two
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What can studies of monozygotic (MZ) twins show?
Comparing specific aspects can show whether differences are down to nature or nurture
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What is epigenetic modification?
how different environmental differences affect which genes are switched on and off - elder twins have more epigenetic differences than young twins
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What are dizygotic (DZ) twins?
Non identical twins - share 50% of genes - developed from different eggs
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Can dizygotic (DZ) twins share characteristics genetically?
Yes, but not to an extenet as monozygotic (MZ) twins
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What do twin studies do?
Compare the differences between MZ and DZ twins
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What is it when twins share the same characteristic?
Concordance rate
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What characteristics have been involved in twin studies mainly?
> schizophrenia > IQ > alcoholism > depression > personality > anorexia
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Give a strength of twin studies
1) No other way to study genetic differences clearly due to MZ twins having 100% of DNA in common
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Give two weaknesses of twin studies
1) epigenetic modification can occur and has to be taken into account - they can develop differently due to environmental influences 2) MZ twins may be treated more similarily than DZ twins so environment may not be as controlled as thought
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Why are adoption studies carried out?
Because they have genes in common with their family but are raised in a different environment so can be compared
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What does it mean if adopted children share a characteristic with their biological parent?
It is down to genes (nature) rather than environment (nurture)
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Give two strenghts of adoption studies
1) environment is controlled as they don't share with biological family - clear 2) studies can be longitudinal so trends can be studied
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Give a weakness of adoption studies
1) sometimes the adoptive family is matched to biological family so that might cause some similarity in environment
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What does a PET scan stand for?
Positron emission tomography
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How does a PET scan work?
When the glucose is taken up the tracer decays and emits positrons which collide with each other and produce gamma rays which are detected by scanner to produce image
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What is a PET scan best for examining?
Processes in the brain such as language
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Give two strengths of a PET scan
1) valid: findings match other findings and measure what they claim to measure 2) reliable and replicable
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Give two weaknesses of a PET scan
1) injecting with a radiactive material and injections can be distressing - non ethical? 2) Broad on their imaging - hard to pinpoint the specific area of the brain
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What does an MRI scan stand for?
Magnetic reasonance imaging
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How does an MRI scan work?
Electromagnetic waves pass through the body - nuclei in H molecules emit wave frequency which scanner picks up
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What is an MRI scan best for examining?
Brain structure - whether there is any damage or tumours
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Give two strengths of an MRI scan
1_ Valid: scans are real structures 2) Allow researchers to compare structures of brains and identify tumours/whether somebody has had a stroke
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Give two weaknesses of an MRI scan
1) limited: only certain info can be found. 2) strong magnets: not suitable for people with pacemaker, braces, replacement joints
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Card 2


What are used as research methods?


twin studies and adoption studies

Card 3


Why are twin and adoption studies used?


Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4


What debate can twin and adoption studies give support for?


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


What is nature?


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