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What does this approach see behaviour being rooted in?

The physiology and biology of the body, including the processes that occur


What are the three core assumptions of the biological approach?

Behaviour is affected by:
- Genetics
- The central nervous system
- The chemistry of the body


What is a genotype?

The genetic make-up of an individual, which occurs at conception


How many genes is each individual thought to have?

Around 10,000


Give an example of a characteristic that a genotype affects

Hair and eye colour


What is a phenotype?

The characteristics that are shown by an individual that occur through genes interacting with environment


Give an example of a phenotype

Height: The genotype relates to genetic instructions, such as having the potential to be tall, but if the environment does not provide the optimum conditions then the individual will not fulfil this potential, making the height they actually become their phenotype


How many pairs of chromosomes is an individual typically born with?



What type of twins are used in studies of genetics and why?

Monozygotic because they share 100% of their genes, so a concordance rate can be established


How much genetic material do dizygotic twins share?



When do twin studies argue that there is a genetic component?

If the MZ twins show a higher likelihood of sharing behaviours/disorders than DZ twins


What does concordance rate mean in twin studies?

The amount of shared behaviour


How does evolution shape human behaviour?

1. A random mutation in the genetic make-up of an individual occurs that changes behaviour or characteristics of that individual

2. If that change means that the chances of survival/reproduction are reduced the gene is not passed on, but if it increases these chances the mutation is passed to the individual's offspring (adaptive value)

3. The gene becomes common within the species,although this occurs over many generations


Why do biological psychologists believe that examination of non-human behaviours is useful?

The behaviour in animals occurs in a similar evolutionary process as humans


Give an example of an animal behaviour that is widespread and adaptive, and can also be found in humans?

Aggression: Increases access to resources, protects territory and aids finding a mate


What genetic basis of aggression have biological psychologists found and how common is it?

MAOA (warrior gene), found in one third of men (Lea et al.)


What are the three key biological structures that are useful in explaining human behaviour?

1. The nervous system
2. The neuron
3. The endocrine system


What is the nervous system divided into?

The central and peripheral nervous systems


What is the central nervous system?

The brain and spinal cord; transfers messages to and from the environment and acts as the centre from which all physiology of the body is controlled, and most actions and reactions are generated from the CNS


What is the peripheral nervous system?

Sends and receives information to and from the central nervous system and collects information from the environment. The autonomic nervous system is important for survival and affects reaction to the threat. The somatic system comprises the muscles attached to the skeleton and is therefore important for movement


What is a neuron?

A nerve cell which transfers information between the nervous systems. There are billions within the human body and their structure varies depending on their function


What is the endocrine system's job?

To maintain hormone levels in the blood and other bodily fluid by using glands within the body, the most important of which is the pituitary


Why is the pituitary gland nicknamed the "master gland"?

It instructs the other glands to secrete hormones when necessary


What is neurochemistry?

The biochemistry of the central nervous system; the chemicals that travel around the brain are called neurotransmitters, and are thought to affect behaviour


Give an example of neurochemistry affecting behaviour?

High levels of a neurotransmitter called dopamine is linked to schizophrenia


How can the biological approach be criticised?

- Too simplistic and do not do the complexity of human behaviour justice

- Supports the nature side of the nature-nurture debate


What are the strengths of the biological approach?

- It uses scientific and objective methods of investigation, e.g. brain scans and biochemical levels

- Practical applications such as drugs that help symptoms


What is the difference between the central and peripheral nervous systems?

1. Different functions - One controls response, the other provides information

2. Different areas of control - Brain and spinal cord, muscles and sensory neurones


What is the genome project?

An assessment of behaviour is made and then your geneology is cross-referenced with everyone else in the database to compare your behaviour with other people who contain the same gene to find similarities in behaviour. This has allowed biologists to pinpoint genes responsible for behaviour