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A) Describe the contribution of a biological perspective to our understanding of behaviour by drawing on examples from Book 1, Chapters 4 and/or 5.

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Introduction

A) Describe the contribution of a biological perspective to our understanding of behaviour by drawing on examples from Book 1, Chapters 4 and/or 5. The importance of Biology within the field of psychology has been and continues to be widely debated. Some scientists such as Francis Crick, believe that explanations for psychological differences can only be found by the means of studying the biology of the brain and genes, this belief is known as reductionism. However most psychologists now believe that biology and psychology go hand in hand and that both need to be considered; the biology and the social context, to be able to come to a more accurate explanation. In this essay I will look at how biology contributes to understanding behaviour and look at examples of this. Depression is a key example of how biology and psychology inter-linked can be the cause of changes in mood and behaviour. Depression is an illness that makes a person feel very 'low' in mood and often tired, irritable, anxious and antisocial. ...read more.

Middle

The low level of serotonin in alcoholics and the 'high' they then experience may be why they become addicted to this drug-like substance. This is very similar to drugs such as cocaine. Cocaine "blocks the re-uptake of dopamine and thereby increases the amount of dopamine at synapses." (Mapping Psychology 1, p258). After taking the drug; users describe a period of euphoria, reflecting the increase in levels of the neurotransmitter at the synapses. When the levels of neurotransmitter at the synapse decreases rapidly it then creates a feeling of dysphoria in the user causing low mood. This shows how certain drugs can in effect alter the biology of our bodies, to affect mood and behaviour. Studies on the brain have been carried out to look at how the brain affects behaviour, the main example being the study of brain damage (lesion). Research has found that damage to particular areas of the brain can affect personality and the behaviour exhibited. Phineas Gage has been a major example of how personality can be changed by lesion. In 1848 he was involved in an accident and a tamping iron passed through his brain. ...read more.

Conclusion

Another way of how the environment affects behaviour is the example of homeostasis and temperature. Homeostasis is the body's way of maintaining a constant internal environment. When the external environment becomes too hot the body sweats and makes blood vessels close to the skin surface dilate to loose heat. However not all animals are able to regulate their body temperature so when they get too hot, their bodies rely on their behaviour to help them cool off e.g. finding shade under a rock. The external environment affects their behaviour and determines their actions. Therefore it seems that biology does offer a significant contribution to the understanding of behaviour, however other factors also need to be considered such as social context and the environment. In this essay I have given examples to show how biology can be significant in affecting behaviour, but how it is not the only factor. The contribution that biology offers is likely to change over time, as scientific and psychological knowledge and understanding increases. As we learn more about the biology of the brain, it is likely biology will become more and more relevant, yet it is unlikely it will ever explain all situations. ...read more.

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