Biological Approach to Psychology

emilyoliviatapp
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AS Level Psychology Mind Map on Biological Approach to Psychology, created by emilyoliviatapp on 12/08/2013.

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Created by emilyoliviatapp almost 6 years ago
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Biological Approach to Psychology
1 KEY ASSUMPTIONS
1.1 Mental disorders are equivalent to physical disorders = illnesses.
1.2 All behaviour is governed by the brain. Changes or flaws in brain function lead to disordered behaviours.
1.2.1 Phineas Gage had a spike through his head which removed a large part of his brain when he was working on the train tracks and developed aggressive behaviour post-accident.
1.3 Mental disorders are created by biological causes: genes, biochemical substances, neuroanatomy, and/or microorganisms.
2 EG'S OF HOW BIOLOGICAL FACTORS CAN CAUSE PSYCHOLOGICAL DISORDERS
2.1 GENES
2.1.1 A person's genes heavily influence the development of their body.
2.1.2 Twin studies have shown high concordance rates. EG KENDLER ET AL (1991) found that MZ twins are at 26% v DZ twins at 16% concordance rate for bulimia nervosa.
2.1.3 Genes are also instrumental in the production of certain neurotransmitters and hormones such as serotonin. A lack of serotonin is linked to depression.
2.2 BIOCHEMICAL SUBSTANCES
2.2.1 Neurotransmitters and hormones affect brain function.
2.2.1.1 A lack of noradreneline and serotonin has been linked to depression.
2.2.1.1.1 BUNNEY ET AL (1965) found that an excess of serotonin has been linked to anxiety disorders.
2.3 NEUROANATOMY
2.3.1 Brain structure can cause disordered behaviours.
2.3.1.1 Schizophrenia may be caused by abnormal neuroanatomy. Many schizophrenics have ventricles in their brains.
2.3.1.1.1 However not ALL schizophrenics have ventricles in their brains.
2.3.1.2 eg Phineas Gage.
2.3.2 MENZIES ET AL (2007) found that OCD patients had abnormalities in areas of their brains that regulate control.
2.4 MICROORGANISMS
2.4.1 Some disorders are caused by biological organisms infecting the brain.
2.4.2 General Paresis is an example of this - it is also known as neural syphilis. (STI)
2.4.2.1 In the third stage of syphilis the brain is infected and tissue is destroyed by the bacteria.
3 EVALUATION OF THE BIOLOGICAL APPROACH
3.1 STRENGTHS
3.1.1 Use of brain scanning techniques has identified biological aspects in many psychopathologies.
3.1.2 Research into genetic tendencies has revealed that hereditary does affect the likelihood of developing a disorder... though concordance rates are never 100%.
3.1.3 It has lead to more acceptance and humane treatment of those suffering.
3.1.4 Somatic treatments have been shown to have had great affect with some suffers of mental disorders.
3.2 WEAKNESSES
3.2.1 The biological approach is reductionist. Only the physical aspects are taken into account when really a full picture of the causes of the disorder should be considered.
3.2.2 Somatic treatments are never effective for all suffers of mental disorders. Drugs are largely ineffective for conditions such as phobias, for eg.
3.2.3 Abnormal biochemistry could be an EFFECT rather than a CAUSE of mental illness. The link is correlational.
3.2.4 WATSON ET AL (1998) found that when he isolated monkeys from their social ground they had a reduced production of serotonin.
3.2.4.1 SO environmental factors can affect brain chemistry and may be the root of some disorders.

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