IB Psychology HL Take Home Final - The biological level of anaylsis. Most human traits show influence by more than one gene pair. Psychological traits are likely to depend on multiple genes; any single gene would influence many different behaviors.

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Maham Ahmed

Period 5

IB Psychology HL Take Home Final

The Biological Level of Analysis


Complex human behavior is not caused by a single gene. Using high tech methods, researchers have identified the sequence of nearly all 3 billion units of DNA and have been able to determine the boundaries between genes and how the genes are arranged on the chromosomes. Even when the researchers located a gene, they were not right away aware of its role in physical or psychological functioning. Locating a gene was the first step in understanding what the gene is and how it works. Also due to the media reports some implied that some gene would be the only one which shows involvement in a complex psychological ability or trait, for example being shy or smart. Most human traits show influence by more than one gene pair. Psychological traits are likely to depend on multiple genes; any “single” gene would influence many different behaviors.


There is in fact a genetic/environmental correlation. During cell division if an error occurs in the copying of the original DNA sequence, genes can change spontaneously, and during the formation of one member of a chromosome pair to another, prior to the final cell division. As genes spontaneously mutate and recombine during the production of sperm and eggs, new genetic variations and new traits arise. In a particular environment, individuals with a genetically influenced trait tend to be more successful than other individuals in finding food, surviving the elements, and fending off enemies and therefore better at staying alive long enough to produce offspring-their genes will become more popular in population. Individuals, whose traits are not so adaptive to the struggle for survival, will not be so “reproductively fit”.


Culture plays a role if the biological analysis of behavior. For example, some cultures place a higher value on helping strangers than other cultures do. Community-oriented Hindus in India, for example, believe that people are obligated to help anyone who needs it-parent, friend, or stranger-even if the need is minor. Individualistic Americans do not feel as obligated to help friends and strangers, or even parents who have minor needs. Different cultures enable different behavior traits towards certain individuals.


Brain scans show the parts of the frontal lobes and the limbic system is larger in women, relative to the overall size of their brains, whereas parts of the parietal cortex and the amygdale are larger in men. Researchers are also using brain scans to search for average sex differences in brain activity when people work on particular tasks. There are at least three ethical problems with the conclusions drawn from the brain scans. First, the gender differences are stereotypes, the brain differences would not necessarily explain behavior or performance, and also sex differences in the brain could be the result rather than the cause of the behavioral differences.

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The Cognitive Level of Analysis


A schema is a mental model of the aspects of the world. Schemas consist of cultures, animals, occupation, and other features of the natural and social environment. Information from earlier experiences is stored in the brain and is called schema. For face to face interactions in an individual’s cultural environment, the knowledge from the cognitive structures can be considered as cultural schemas. There is not much of a difference in cultural schemas from other schemas other than them being shared by particular cultural groups than individuals. The cultural schema theory ...

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