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
found by the means of studying the biology of the brain and genes,
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
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
often tired, irritable, anxious and antisocial. It causes a change in
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
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
and so increasing the amount of neurotransmitter at the synapse. It is
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.
some cases it may be to do with inheritance/biology, but it can also
do with people being exposed to certain levels of stress, traumatic
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
have lower levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin in their central
nervous system and alcohol temporarily increases...