Psychological Perspectives - Biological Approach
by tormenteddreamer98gmailcom (student)
Health and Social Care National Extended Diploma
Psychological Perspective: Biological Approach
The biological approach is a psychological perspective that believes us to be as a consequence of our genetics and physiology. It is the only approach in psychology that examines thoughts, feelings, and behaviours from a biological and thus our physical point of view. Therefore, all that is psychological is first physiological. http://www.godandscience.org/images/dna-helix.gif
The key theorist for the biological approach is Arnold Gesell (1880-1961) followed the works of Darwin and many other evolutionists, eventually developing the Gesell Maturational Theory. His theory suggests that development in childhood and adolescence is primarily biological or genetic in origin. Biology and genetics inheritances determine predictable patterns in biological behaviour that Gesell termed as norms. He believed that children need a nurturing, stable environment, and very little else to mature both biologically and psychologically. Gesell was the first theorist to systematically study the stages of development, and the first researcher to demonstrate that a child’s developmental age (or stage of development) may be different from his or her chronological age http://www.gesellinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/gesell-theory-image.jpg
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Gesell’s theory was ground breaking because it implied that learning, illnesses, injuries and life experiences were all secondary, if at all influential to the biology and evolution of the genetics that program a child’s development. However, if the child’s environment was so distorted as to be harmful, he felt that children were born with all the information their bodies needed for development and maturation. He believed that genetics determine the developmental process and the timing of maturation, and parents could affect very little of this, except by being sensitive to cues learned from the descriptive norms.
Gesell emphasized that growth always progresses in a pattern through predictable stages or sequences, and that while an individual progresses through these stages at his or her own pace, the sequence remains the same. The cycles of development are divided into six well-defined stages which are repeated throughout life. One cycle includes the following stages: Smooth, Break-Up, Sorting Out, Inwardizing, Expansion, and Neurotic “Fitting Together”.
This theory assesses whether the behaviours demonstrated by an individual matches their chronological age, especially when dealing with children. This approach can be beneficial in health and social care because when looking at a genetic inheritance, we can see where certain illnesses or health related behaviours may come in, such as asthma and schizophrenia. It also shows a clear distinction between the impacts of nature vs nurture. This gives more ground for the debate.
Recent research has challenged Gesell’s age norms, showing that newborns may have more abilities than was reported and that his developmental picture may be too slow. Newborns have been found to be a lot “smarter” than Gesell originally reported showing advanced competencies at early ages. Despite the many criticisms, paediatricians and infant specialists still use Gesell’s norms to help them determine what babies should be able to do at various stages in their lives.