Psychological Perspectives - Biological Approach

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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.

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
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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 ...

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