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- within a small, isolated population a

BIOLOGICAL APPROACH TO UNDERSTANDING gene can spread by accident through a
ABNORMAL PSYCHOLOGY process called “genetic drift;”
Biological Psychology: Ex: a dominant male with many offspring
- study of the physiological, evolutionary, and spreads all his genes, including neutral and
developmental mechanisms of behavior and harmful ones. However, a gene that is prevalent
experience; it is also a perspective; in a large population presumably has advantage.
A functional explanation identified that
- synonymous with the terms biopsychology, advantage. Example: many species have an
psychobiology, physiological psychology, and appearance that matches their background. A
behavioral neuroscience (which includes much functional explanation is that camouflaged
about anatomy and chemistry). appearance makes the animal inconspicuous to
Physiological Psychology: predators

-main interest; branch of Biological Psychology;

it is concerned with relationship between brain Contrasting the four explanations: Example
functioning and behavior from Birdsong
-basic approach:  Physiological:
COGNITIVE – deals with brain or mental process -a particular area of a songbird brain grows
REDUCTIONIST- attempts to reduce human under the influence of testosterone; hence, it is
behavior to its possible basic biological larger in breeding males than in females or
explanations immature birds. That brain area enables a
mature male to sing.
Four biological explanations of behavior
 Ontogenetic:
1. Physiological- relates a behavior to
-In many species, a young male bird learns its
the activity of the brain and other
song by listening to adult males. Development
organs; it deals with the machinery
of the song requires a certain set of genes and
of the body the opportunity to hear the appropriate song
Ex: the chemical reactions that enable during a sensitive period early in life.
hormones to influence brain activity and the  Evolutionary:
pathways by which brain activity controls
muscle contraction -Certain pairs of species have similar songs, e.g.,
dunlins and Baird’s sandpipers, two shorebirds
2. Ontogenetic explanation- Describes species, give their calls in distinct pulses, unlike
how a structure or behavior develops other shorebirds—suggesting that the two
including the influences of genes, evolved from a single ancestor
nutrition, experiences, and their
interactions  Functional:

Ex: the ability to inhibit impulses develops -In most bird species, only the male bird sings.
gradually from infancy through teenage He sings only during the reproductive season
years, reflecting gradual maturation of the and only in his territory. The functions of the
frontal parts of the brain song are to attract females and warn away other
males. As a rule, a bird sings loudly enough to
3. Evolutionary explanation- Reconstructs be heard only in the territory he defends. In
the evolutionary history of a structure short, birds have evolved tendencies to sing in
of behavior ways that improve their chances of mating.
Ex: Frightened people get goose bumps The biological tradition
(erection of the hairs especially on their arms
and shoulders) Goose bumps are useless to  Hippocrates(460-377 B.C.)
humans because we normally do not have hairs
-Father of western medicine
on arms and shoulders or they are short; but in
most other mammals, hair erection makes a -Suggested that psychological disorders could
frightened animal look larger and intimidating be treated like any other disease.

4. Functional explanation- Describes why

a structure of behavior evolved as it did
- Believed that psychological disorders might thought processes; benzodiazepines(minor
also be caused by brain pathology or head tranquilizers) was developed to reduce anxiety
trauma and could be influenced by heredity --Emil Kraeplin—was dominant figure even
before 1930s and was influential in advocating
- Considered the brain to be the seat of the major ideas of the biological tradition
wisdom, consciousness, intelligence and
emotion, thus, disorders involving these Brain and conscious experience
functions would logically b located in the brain

-Also recognized the importance of Mind-brain or mind-body problem

psychological and interpersonal contributions
to psychopathology a) Dualism: mind and body are different
kinds of substances that exist
 Galen (129-198 AD)— independently
 Rene Descartes- mind and brain
-adopted Hippocrates’s ideas and developed interact at a single point in space,
them further most likely the pineal gland, the
- Humoral theory: Hippocratic-Galenic smallest unpaired structure in the
 rejected by most philosophers due
 blood(fire;heart) to their belief in the basic laws in
 black bile(earth;spleen) Physics, the law of the
 yellow bile(water;liver) conservation of matter and energy:
 phlegm(air;brain) the total amount of energy and
matter in the world has been fixed;
-this theory was,perhaps the first example of matter can transform into energy or
associating psychological disorders with a energy into matter, but neither one
“chemical imbalance” appears out of nothing, or
- excess humors were treated by regulating the disappears into nothing;
environment to increase or decrease heat
b) Monism: the belief that the universe
 The 19th century consists of only one kind of substance.
a) The discovery of the nature and cause —a belief that has many variations:
of syphilis
b) John P Grey *Materialism: everything that exist s is
- champion of biological tradition in the material or physical; as such, mental events
US don’t exist at all; but it is hard to believe that
- causes of insanity were physical; our minds are figment of our imagination.
therefore, mental patients should be *Mentalism: the view that only the mind really
treated as if they were physically ill, exists and that the physical world could not
with treatment including rest, died, exist unless some mind were aware of it
proper room temperature and
ventilation. *identity position: believes that mental
- invented the rotary fan to ventilate his processes and certain kinds of brain processes
large hospital are the same thing.; In other words, the
c) Development in the 1930s and universe has only one kind of substance which
onwards includes both material and mental aspects—
- development of new treatments: electric every mental experience is a brain activity
shock and brain surgery, the discoveries of though descriptions of thoughts sound so
which were merely by accident different from descriptions of brain activities;
--insulin shock therapy by Manfred Sakel (mind is not the brain, mind is the brain
(originated with giving insulin to facilitate activity)
appetite which also appeared to have a calming
effect; later abandoned due to possible effects
like coma or death. Genetics and Psychopathology
--1920s: psyachiatrist Josepy Von Meduna
observed that schizophrenia was rarely seen in  Genes: units of heredity that
those with epilepsy, concluding that induced maintain their structural identity
brain seizures might cure schizophrenia from one generation to another; a
--first effective drugs for psychotic disorders
portion of a chromosome, which is
were discovered (rawolfia serpentine or
composed of the double stranded
reserpine); later, neuroletptic (major
tranquilizers) was discovered which helped in deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)
diminishing hallucinatory and delusional
 strand of DNA serves as a template makes someone susceptible to develop
for the synthesis of the single- a certain disorder. When the right kind
stranded chemical ribonucleic acid of event (stressor) comes along, the
(RNA), which, in turn, serves as a disorder develops
template for the synthesis of protein
The Reciprocal Gene-Environment Model
molecules.  This gene-environment correlation
 The first 22 pairs of chromosomes model indicates that genetic
provide programs or directions for endowment may increase the
the development of the body and probability that an individual will
the brain, the 23rd pair, is called the experience stressful events.
sex chromosomes  In other words, people with a genetic
 influences our bodies and behavior predisposition for a disorder may also
through a series of steps that have a genetic tendency to create
produce proteins. environment risk factors that promote
 Dominant gene: one pair of genes the disorder.
that strongly influences a particular
trait. ‘inheritance” of BEHAVIOR
 Recessive gene: must be paired with
another (recessive gene) gene to  Epigenetics: the study of factors other
determine a trait. than DNA sequence, such as new
 Evidence indicates that genetic learning or stress, that alter the
factors contribute to all disorders phenotypic expression of genes
but account for less than half of the  Accordingly, genes are turned on or off
explanations and they come from by cellular material that is located just
many genes, each having a relatively outside the genome (“epi” , as in the
word epigenetics means on or around)
small effect.
and that stress, nutrition or other
factors can affect this epigenome,
THE INTERACTION OF GENES AND THE which is passed down to the next
ENVIRONMENT generation, and maybe for several
1983-Eric Kandel speculated that the process of  The genome itself is not changed, so if
learning affects more than behavior, but also, the stressful environment disappears,
that the genetic structures of cells may change eventually the epigenome will fade,
as a result of learnings if genes that were suggesting that environmental
inactive interact with environment such that manipulations, particularly early
they become active (i.e., the environment may parenting influences, may override the
occasionally turns on certain genes. genetically influenced tendency to
develop undesirable behavioral and
Such type of mechanism may lead to changes in emotional reactions.
the number of receptors at the end of a neuron,
which in turn, would affect biochemical Neuroscience and Psychopathology
functioning in the brain
Neurosciene: study of the nervous system and
It is assumed that the brain may be influenced its role in behavior, thoughts, and emotions
by environmental changes during development
but once maturity is reached, the structure and The brain circuits involved in psychological
function of our physiology are set, or in the case disorders are complex systems identified by
of the brain, hardwired. pathways of neurotransmitters traversing the
brain. The existence of these circuits suggests
An alternative view holds that the brain and its that the structure and function of the nervous
functions are subject to continual change in system play major roles in psychopathology.
response to the environment, even at the Though it is also believed that the circuits are
genetic level. also influenced, perhaps, by psychological and
social factors.
The Diathesis-Stress Model
 States that individuals inherit
tendencies to express certain traits or
behaviors, which may be activated
under conditions of stress
 Each inherited tendency is a diathesis
(or a vulnerability) , a condition which