Biological Approach

By Bethany Hogarth

How the biological approach explains human behaviour:

Biological psychologists try and link the behaviour to the functions of the the brain and the nervous system. The brain can be divided into many different areas and structures and biopsychological explanations often focus on what areas of the brain are responsible for which types of thinking and behaviour and how they connect with other functions and brain areas. For example they believe that human language is controlled by two areas of the cerebral cortex. Broca's area is the first area and this area controls the speech and the other area is Wernicke's which controls the comprehension of speech. These 'speech centres' are connected to a variety of other brain areas including those who are involved thinking and the auditory working memory.


Others focus on the genetic influences in particular type of behaviour. For example, it is widely believed by biopsychologists that schizophrenia, a psychological disorder involving symptoms such as; hallucinations, delusions and disorganised thinking and speech is at least partly the result of a inheriting a faulty gene or genes. These genes can influence the development of the nervous system, making it vulnerable to malfunctioning and this causes the production of the symptoms of this disorder.


The professional also believe that chemical processes in the brain can be important influences on behaviour. The brain relies on multiple chemicals called neurotransmitters and hormones. These chemicals send signals between neurones. Too much or too little of any of these chemicals can result in over- or under- activity in various parts of the brain, which results in changes to thinking, feeling and behaviour. For example, some researchers have shown that if there is an increase in sex hormones that there is a change in their behaviour. An increase of testosterone leads to increased risk taking and an increase of oxytocin leads to increased nurturing and social responsiveness.

Evaluation of the biological approach :

The methods used by the biological approach gives its studies a high degree of reliability, validity and scientific credibility, which is enhances by its focus on objectively observable phenomena rather than subjective experiences.

The biological approach and key debates :