Introduction To Biological Approach Psychology
The biological approach psychology refers to the way our biology impacts our thoughts and behaviors. The biological approach emphasizes how hormones, genes, and other biological systems like neurotransmitters influence our behavior, which in turn affects our thoughts and feelings in various ways.
There are several different approaches to understanding psychology, each based on different theories, but many psychologists have embraced the biological approach Psychology due to its large array of research-based findings that show how certain hormones and neurotransmitters affect our physical, mental, and emotional states.
What is Biological Approach Psychology?
The biological approach psychology was developed in the early 1900s. The modern biological perspective of psychology studies how our biology impacts our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. It is a more naturalistic approach to studying human behavior than the psychological approach.
The biopsychological perspective takes into account the ways that both nature and nurture affect people’s behavior, thoughts, feelings, perceptions, memories, etc. People who use this perspective believe that what makes us different from other animals are things like language or social norms. They see it as important to study an individual’s biology but also their environment because these two factors work together to form a person’s character.
For example, if someone had one-third of the genes for addiction they would be at a higher risk for alcoholism than someone with one-sixth of those genes. On the other hand, if they lived in a home where there were no alcoholic beverages around they would have less risk of developing an addiction.
The importance of identifying thoughts, feelings, and actions
It is important to identify your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors so that you can better understand how your biology impacts them. This is the core of the Biological Approach Psychology. The modern biological approach psychology perspective of psychology studies the biopsychological perspective which examines how biological factors affect our psychology.
Biological approach psychology at a level helps to answer what is biological approach psychology. The biological approach to psychology investigates how biological approach psychology forces have an impact on thoughts and behavior.
Biological approach Psychology psychologists study cognitive science which looks at how humans process information with both conscious and unconscious thought processes as well as physiological aspects such as genetics, hormones, neurons, and neural networks in the brain. Biological Approach Psychology Psychologists study this field to gain a greater understanding of why humans act in certain ways based on their biological approach psychology makeup or genetics.
Limbic System (Feelings)
The Limbic system is the area of the brain responsible for our feelings. It is made up of a number of different structures that are interconnected, with each region having its own special function. The most important regions in terms of emotions are the anterior cingulate cortex, amygdala, hippocampus, hypothalamus, and insula.
Thalamus Nuclei (Reaction to Feelings)
The Thalamus is a structure deep in the brain that acts as a relay station for sensory information. The Thalamus Nuclei receive messages from different parts of the brain, process them, and then send them on to the appropriate cortical region or another part of the body. The Thalamus Nuclei are also important for regulating feelings. When someone has a strong emotion, the Thalamus reacts by releasing chemicals that affect how we feel about things.
Amygdala (Fight/Flight Response)
The amygdala is a small, almond-shaped part of the brain that serves as the control center for your fight or flight response. Whenever we feel threatened or afraid, the amygdala sends messages to other parts of our brains to prepare us for danger.
It activates these responses by releasing stress hormones like adrenaline into the bloodstream, causing an increase in heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate. These reactions are designed to give you more energy so you can either run away from danger or defend yourself against it with increased strength and endurance.
Prefrontal Cortex (Decision Making Center)
The prefrontal cortex is the part of the brain that controls decision-making, personality, and social behavior. This region of the brain is highly developed in humans but it is still unclear how it evolved. It has been suggested that this brain area can be linked to a period in evolutionary history where our ancestors had to make decisions about danger more quickly than their counterparts.
Research has shown that individuals with damage to this area are more likely to take risks, have emotional outbursts, engage in impulsivity, and behave immorally (biological approach psychology a level).
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Brain Structures Involved in Anxiety
Research has shown that the brains of people with anxiety show higher levels of activity in the amygdala, which is part of the limbic system. The amygdala is an almond-shaped structure located deep inside the brain which is important for triggering fear and other emotions. This heightened level of activity in people with anxiety may be due to a variety of factors, such as genetic predispositions or a history of trauma.
Once these structures are activated, they can produce the physical sensations of panic (i.e., rapid heart rate) and trigger unhelpful thoughts about potential disasters. Anxiety is often linked to depression since chronic stress can contribute to chemical imbalances in our brains (such as low serotonin).
What does the endocrine system do?
The endocrine system produces hormones that regulate a number of functions in the body. These hormones are released into the bloodstream, which carries them to all parts of the body. When these hormones attach to receptors on cells, they trigger responses that can change mood, appetite, metabolism, and much more.
The endocrine system is composed of glands that produce hormones such as the thyroid gland (producing thyroxin), pituitary gland (producing growth hormone), and adrenal glands (producing cortisol).
The Hypothalamus & Hypothalamic Pituitary Adrenal Axis HPA Axis (Hormones)
The HPA axis is a key hormonal system that regulates the body’s response to stress. The hypothalamus releases corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) which stimulates the release of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) from the pituitary gland. ACTH then tells the adrenal glands to release cortisol.
If cortisol levels are high, they can cause fatigue and weight loss, whereas if they are low, they can cause depression, insomnia, or anxiety. CRH also inhibits insulin production and increases blood sugar, while ACTH can increase blood sugar.
Insulin affects energy metabolism by activating muscle cells and inhibiting fat cell activity, in turn affecting appetite regulation as well as how cells use glucose for energy. Hormones like leptin regulate appetite by telling the brain when you’ve had enough food to eat so your stomach feels full; ghrelin does the opposite.
The Somatic Response to Stressors
The hypothalamus, the fight-or-flight response, and the sympathetic nervous system are all examples of how our biology influences our behavior. The hypothalamus is a small section in the brainstem that monitors the internal environment of your body for any irregularities.
An example of this would be monitoring if you’re hungry, thirsty, or tired. If there is an irregularity, it will trigger a reaction in your body. When faced with a stressful situation, the hypothalamus releases hormones called corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) and arginine vasopressin (AVP).
CRH triggers changes in the brain that allow us to go into ‘fight-or-flight’ mode. AVP stimulates the production of more water in the kidneys so that we can run away from danger without becoming dehydrated. These hormones also cause changes to the lungs which helps them take in more oxygen for long periods of time.
The Role of Genetics in Psychological Disorders
The neurotransmitter serotonin is known to play a large role in regulating mood, anxiety, sleep patterns, appetite, and impulsivity. The amount of serotonin in the brain seems to be regulated by genetics as well as environmental factors such as diet, exercise level, social relationships, and work-life balance.
When there is not enough serotonin (e.g., with major depression), symptoms can include fatigue, apathy, decreased interest in pleasurable activities, low self-esteem, and hopelessness. There are also genetic links to schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorder.