Flashcards in Exam 2- Biological Approach Deck (41):
what are the key assumptions of the biological approach
that the closer we are to someone genetically the closer characteristics we share with them
what is the ANS
the automatic nervous system which controls functions such as breathing and the heart
what makes up the CNS
the brain and the spinal cord
what is the PNS
peripheral nervous system, those things which we have conscious control of
what joins the brain together in the middle
what are the strengths of the biological approach as a whole
The approach is very scientific, and grounded in the 'hard' science of biology with its objective, materialistic subject matter and experimental methodology.
It provides strong counter-arguments to the nurture side of the nature-nurture debate.
Biopsychology's practical applications are usually extremely effective, e.g. the treatment of mental disorder
what are the weaknesses with the biological approach as a whole
Reductionism - the bio-psychological approach explains thoughts and behaviour in terms of the action of neurones or biochemicals. This may ignore other more suitable levels of explanation and the interaction of causal factors.
The approach has not adequately explained how mind and body interact - conscious and emotion are difficult to study objectively.
Over simplistic - neuro-biological psychology theories often oversimplify the huge complexity of physical systems and their interaction with environmental factors.
what are nerves part of
what is the process of an action
incoming information from senses
brain processes that information
brain controls outgoing behaviour
what does the spinal cord allow us to do
pass messages from
the body to the brain
the brain to the rest of the body
what are the 4 main parts of a neuron
1. Cell body
4. Axon terminals
what does the cell body do
Contains the nucleus, which holds the genetic information for that neuron. Also contains other material for the cell to function, such as the mitochondria
what do the dendrites do
Receive messages from other neurons in order to be able to continue to pass messages along.
what is the purpose of the axon
Plays a key role in sending messages. The axon carries the electrical impulse (message) towards the axon terminals where information can be passed onto the next neuron.
what is the purpose of the axon terminal
These have terminal buttons on the end where the nerve impulse is passed onto the dendrites of the next neuron, or to the part of the body they control, such as a muscle.
what are neurotransmitters
Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that travel in the brain between neurons.
what is the difference between motor neurons and sensory neurons
Motor neurons receive messages from the CNS, sensory neurons transmit messages from the senses.
how do neurotransmitters work
-An electrical impulse travels down the axon to the terminal button
-Vesicles containing neurotransmitters are released into the synaptic gap
-The receptors on the nearby dendrite receives the neurotransmitter if it ‘fits’ or not. (lock and key)
what happens if a neurotransmitter is taken up
if it is taken up the message continues to travel down that neuron’s axon so the message continues.
what happens if a neurotransmitter is not taken up
If it is not taken up the message is stopped
what happens if a neurotransmitter is not used
Neurotransmitters that are not used are recycled (reuptake) back into the pre-synapse
what are the main neurotransmitters our body produces
What is an action potential
Action Potential is the process where a nerve impulse (electrical impulse) travels down a neurone. It is an electrochemical impulse that travels along an axon in one direction only, carrying information.
How is action potential transported
it has a resting membrane potential. it is triggered by a change in the electrical potential of the neuron. nerve impulse passes down the axon stimulating release of neurotransmitters
what is an agnostic drug
Some drugs are Agonists, these bind to receptors and stimulate them to increase the messages (eg Cocaine, heroin, morphine, nicotine)
what is an antagonistic drug
Antagonists, these will bind but don’t stimulate receptors instead they reverse or deactivate the effect of agonists (beta blockers, methadone, naloxone)
what are the three ways drugs can work
block receptors- antagonist
attach to receptors to mimic the effect of neurotransmitters- agonist
prevent recycling of neurotransmitters- agonist
describe the effect of one drug in detail
amphetamine- used to make you feel alert and energised, increases dopamine and noradrenaline, increased sex drive and can cause high blood pressure- agnostic
what is the mode of action for alcohol
interferes with brains communication pathways affects how the brain works and changes mood and behaviour
what is the mode of action for nicotine
the strong mood-altering effect occurs, acts on the brain as a stimulant and a relaxant.
agonist (mimics neurotransmitters)
what is the mode of action for cocaine
causes short-lived high following an immediate depression
agonist- stops recycling of neurotransmitters
how does taking drugs lead to addiction
most drugs work on the dopamine pathway
as repeated use occurs a tolerance is built up
people then take more to reach the same level of high, continued use then ends up being a dependency
why might someone take drugs after just taking them
the dysphoria or comedown faced straight after taking a drug motivates them to take more
what is the dopamine pathway
the pleasure principle- area of brain sensitive to dopamine and GABA causes pleasure
what is desensitisation
over time brain releases more neurotransmitters such as dopamine when not on the drug to get to a "normal" level
what leads someone to addiction and withdrawal symptoms
is drugs research generalisable
There is a lot of evidence to support the biological effects of drugs on the brain e.g. Olds & Milner (1954) found a pleasure centre in the brain of rats and Straiker et al (2012) looked at the effect of cannabis and found an effect in the hippocampus of mice. However, as much research is carried out on animals this is not generalizable to human beings as species are qualitatively different.
is drugs research reliable
Although research uses standardised procedures and scanning tools which accurately record information, scanning receptor activity is not straightforward and requires greater sophistication, therefore the interpretation of information can be subjective.
are drugs research applicable
Observations re: desensitisation and tolerance, work in enhancing the reliability of theories and can be used to advise treatments e.g. the effective treatment of addiction via drugs
are drugs research valid
Validity id reduced as the complexity of how the transmission works in the brain is hard to capture. Current tools cannot measure transmission.