Biological Approach (Unit 1)

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Biopsychology;
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Biological Approach (Unit 1)
  1. Basic Assumptions
    1. Behaviour and thought processes have an innate, biological basis
      1. Mind and brain are the same
        1. Human genes have evolved to adapt behaviour to the environment
          1. Human characteristics e.g. intelligence, are due to our genetic make-up
          2. Research
            1. Bock and Goode - when mice were reared alone, they showed a strong tendency to attack other male mice when first exposed to other animals → implies a natural, genetic tendency in relation to biological aggression as it was inherited from their parents
              1. Genetic mapping, genetic engineering and selective breeding
              2. Influence of genes
                1. Cells in the human body - structure called the nucleus, containing 46 chromosomes made up of DNA → carries information called genes which influence every aspect of bodily structure and function
                  1. Genetic mapping, genetic engineering and selective breeding - contributed enormously to our understanding of the genetic basis of behaviour
                    1. Bock and Goode
                      1. Aggression - one of a number of primitive behaviours that both human and non-human species display → process of evolution explains why some genes survived and others did not
                      2. Evolution of behaviour
                        1. Darwin (The Origin of Species) - all species of living things have evolved over time from common ancestors through the process of natural selection → explains how strongest genes survive and are passed onto the next generation, whilst 'weaker genes' die out
                          1. Provided scientific evidence to show how random physical and behavioural changes to a species either enables it to adapt to its environment and survive, or to become maladaptive and die out
                          2. Many examples of evolutionary behaviour in both human and non-human species e.g. sexual selection
                            1. Animal kingdom - male species display traits such as mating calls, brightly coloured plumage in order to attract a mate and reproduce → traits are passed on to offspring, making them more 'attractive' to females
                              1. Humans - evolutionary behaviours such as rooting reflex → newborn babies display this reflex at birth by turning their heads towards anything that strokes or touches their cheek or mouth, aiding breastfeeding and hence survival
                            2. Evaluation
                              1. + Uses scientific experiments - rigorous methods allows for cause and effect to be established
                                1. - Reductionist - explains all thoughts and behaviours in terms of the actions of nerves or chemicals
                                  1. - Over-simplistic - fails to fully appreciate the influence that environmental factors have on behaviour
                                    1. + Provides a strong argument for the nature side of the nature-nurture debate
                                      1. - Raises ethical issues e.g. genetic mapping → artificially manipulating our genetic make-up may be considered wrong
                                        1. + Applications - drugs e.g. antidepressants for bipolar depression
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