The Biological Approach: the Influence of Genes, Biological Structures and Neurochemistry on Behaviour. Genotype and Phenotype, Genetic Basis of Behaviour, Evolution and Behaviour

Each individual is born with 23 chromosomes which they’ve inherited from both of their birth parents. There is a suggestion that behavioural characteristics, such as intelligence and mental illness, are inherited in exactly the same way our physical characteristics, such as eye colour and height, are. Twin studies are used to determine the likelihood that certain traits have a genetic basis by comparing concordance rates (the extent to which 2 people share the same characteristic). If monozygotic (identical) twins have a higher concordance rate than dizygotic (non-identical) twins it would suggest a genetic basis because monozygotic twins share 100% of their DNA, and dizygotic only around 50%.

The Cognitive Approach (to human behaviour)

Main Assumptions of the Cognitive Approach:

  • People actively respond to environmental stimuli, depending on schemas and thoughts
  • People are information processors
  • Human mind operates in the same way as a computer
  • Cognitive processes can be modelled in order to make them observable and should be tested scientifically.

Learning Approaches: the Behaviourist Approach

Learning Approach: The Behaviourist Approach including;

Classical Conditioning and Pavlov’s research
(2) Operant Conditioning, types of reinforcement and Skinner’s research.
(3) Social Learning Theory including imitation, identification, modelling, vicarious reinforcement, the role of mediational processes and Bandura’s research.

Origins of Psychology and the Emergence of Psychology as a Science

Wundt is often referred to as the ‘Father of Psychology’ (who defined Psychology as ‘the scientific study of the human mind and its functions, especially those affecting behaviour’). Wundt set up the first lab dedicated to psychological enquiry in Germany, in the 1870s. He promoted the use of introspection as a way of studying mental processes.

Psychological Report Writing

Through using this website, you have learned about, referred to, and evaluated research studies. These research studies are generally presented to the scientific community as a journal article. Most journal articles follow a standard format. This is similar to the way you may have written up experiments in other sciences.

Primary and Secondary data, including Meta-Analysis

Primary data – information observed or collected directly from first-hand experience. Data that has been collected by the researcher for the study currently being undertaken, specifically relating to the aims and/or hypothesis of the study. Examples of primary data are the results of an experiment, answers from a questionnaire etc.

Measures of Dispersion (Range and Standard Deviation)

In order to summarise a set of scores, a measure of central tendency is important, but on its own it is not enough. A measure of central tendency (such as the mean) doesn’t tell us a great deal about the ‘spread’ of scores in a data set (i.e. is the data made up of numbers that are similar or different?)