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The Contribution Of A Biological Perspective To Our Understanding Of Behaviour

1427 words - 6 pages

The Contribution of a Biological Perspective to our Understanding of Behaviour

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. It causes a change in
their

behaviour; they isolate themselves from other people and it can cause

behaviours such as self harm, obsessive behaviours and suicidal

behaviours. Biology seems to show that depression is caused by

abnormalities in neurotransmission at synapses. Neurotransmitters are

specific chemicals released from a neuron, which travel across neuron

synapses to specific receptor sites. Low levels of neurotransmitters
at

synapses, have been found to cause low mood and depression. The re-

uptake of the neurotransmitter into the synapse causes the

neurotransmitter to become inactive. This means the level of the

chemical messenger at the synapse is lowered, causing low mood. Anti-

depressants such as Prozac act as re-uptake inhibitors; blocking
re-uptake

and so increasing the amount of neurotransmitter at the synapse. It is
also

believed by biologists that depression may be an inherited condition

passed down in the genes. However traumatic events are also known to

affect the nervous system and can cause these biological differences.
In

some cases it may be to do with inheritance/biology, but it can also
be to

do with people being exposed to certain levels of stress, traumatic
events

and differing life experiences. Biology doesn’t explain why anti-

depressants work for some people and not others. Treatment often

involves dealing with biology and psychology through means of anti-

depressants and therapy.

Pleasure drugs such as alcohol, heroin and nicotine can also affect

mood and behaviour. They all affect the nervous system and activity

levels at the synapses which is known to affect mood. Alcoholics tend
to

have lower levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin in their central

nervous system and alcohol temporarily increases...

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