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Approaches To Psychology (Edexcel A Level) > Biological > Flashcards

Flashcards in Biological Deck (180)
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What is aggression?

Feelings of anger resulting in hostile or violent behaviour; readiness to attack or confront


What are the 3 main biological influences on our behaviour?

1) The Central Nervous System (brain, spinal cord, neurones)- this is a system of communication within the body

2) Evolution + Natural Selection - our behaviour is determined in genes that we inherit from our parents

3) Hormones- chemical messages that transmit information around the body in the blood stream. This can lead to psychological characteristics.


What is the Topic Overview of Biological Psychology?

Students must show an understanding that biological psychology is about the mechanisms within our body and understand how they affect our behaviour, focusing on aggression.

Individual differences and developmental psychology must be considered when learning about issues such as aggression caused by an accident and how the function of structures of the brain can be affected by the environment.


What is a Summary of Biological Psychology?

Biological psychology is about the brain as well as aspects of our physical make up such as genes, the idea of survival of the fittest, and hormones.

Your course will focus on aggression, looking at what parts of the brain relate to aggression and how hormones link to aggression, for example. More general biological issues are also considered including the theory of evolution.


What is the Structure of the Neurone?

Cell Body: energy is made here
Terminal Buttons: at the end of axon terminals; contain neurotransmitters


What is the Role of the Neurone?

The purpose of the neurone is to transmit messages around the body.
There are networks of millions of neurons in the brain and body that are all connected and communicate with each other.


How does Communication along Neurones happen?

1. The dendrite receives a message, often from another neurone

2. This triggers an action potential (electonic message within the cell body)

3. This action potential travels down the axon. The myelin sheath & nodes of Ranvier help speed up the process

4. The action potential reaches the axon terminals and terminal buttons

5. The terminal buttons pass this message to the next part of the body. This could be another Neurone, a muscle or a gland.


What is the Structure of a Synapse?


How are messages sent through the synapse?

1. And electrical message (action potential) is sent along the axon of the presynaptic neurone

2. Eventually it reaches the axon terminals

3. Neurotransmitters are released into the synaptic cleft, and diffuse across the space between the two neurones

4. The neurotransmitters attach to the receptor of the dendrite of the postsynaptic neurone

5. When enough receptors are activated (the threshold is reached), a new action potential is created on the next neurone

6. Any neurotransmitter that remains in the synapse is taken back into the presynaptic neuron in a process called reuptake


What is the Function of Neurotransmitters?

Different neurotransmitters are responsible for regulating different feelings and behaviours


What is the Role of Dopamine?

Dopamine is associated with pleasure reward and reinforcement.

It is involved in addictive behaviours.

It is also involved in posture and the control of movement


What is the Role of Serotonin?

Serotonin is involved with mood control and feelings such as happiness.

It is also involved in pain, sleep, temperature and hunger.


What is the Role of Norepinephrine/Noradrenaline?

Norepinephrine is associated with the fight and flight response, with attention, and being ready for action.


What is the Role of Acetylcholine?

Stimulate muscle contraction, and is involved in motor control the movement.

It is linked to memory, thinking and learning.

It is also involved in expressions of some emotions e.g. anger and sexuality.


What is the Effect of Alcohol on Behaviour?

Short-Term: Varies depending on the individual, the mood and their environment. It can reduce anxiety and inhibition, or make an individual more aggressive.

Long Term: It can be addictive, lead to liver failure and damage to the brain & nervous system


What is Alcohol's 'mode of action'?

Has a depressant effect on the CNS, by inhibiting messages in the neurones and synapses.

It does this by increasing GABA (an inhibitory neurotransmitter).


What are the Effects of Cocaine on Behaviour?

Highly addictive.

Short Term: Cocaine usually makes the user feel euphoric, energetic, talkative, and mentally alert. It's can also temporarily decrease the need for food and sleep.

Long Term: Addiction, irritability and mood disturbances, restlessness, paranoia and auditory hallucinations.


What is Cocaine's 'mode of action'?

Cocaine acts on the dopamine reward pathways in the brain.

It blocks the reuptake process so that dopamine levels increase and the 'message' continues for longer.


What are the effects of Nicotine on Behaviour?

Highly addictive.

Short Term: Feelings of pleasure, a 'kick', feeling relaxed

Long Term: Cravings, irritability from withdrawal, cancer and heart disease


What is Nicotine's 'mode of action'?

Works on dopamine reward pathways in the brain.

It increases the amount of transmission of dopamine by blocking the enzyme that breaks it down


What are the effects of Ecstasy on Behaviour?

Short Term: Feelings of mental stimulation, emotional warmth, empathy towards others, a general sense of well-being and decreased anxiety

Long Term: Anxiety, restlessness, irritability, sadness, impulsiveness, aggression, sleep disturbances, lack of appetite, depression


What is Ecstasy's 'mode of action'?

Ecstasy increases levels of dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine (especially serotonin)


What are the Individual Differences regarding the effect of recreational drugs on the transmission process in the CNS?

Neurotransmitters: people may have unusually high or low levels of certain neurotransmitters, which may predispose them to set a mental disorders. (Medication can be given to correct these levels)

Recreational Drugs: they are known to have different effects on different people. This may be due to biological differences in their brain structure and function


What is the role of the Hippocampus?

The hippocampus in involved in synaptic functioning; and is in the medial temporal lobe


What are the 4 Lobes?


- Lobes feature when studying the structure of the brain


What is the Corpus Callosum important for?

Taking messages between the 2 hemispheres of the brain


What is Evidence for the Link between the Prefrontal Cortex and Aggression?

- Lots of dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine connections are found in the prefrontal cortex. These neurotransmitters link to emotions; suggesting the prefrontal cortex has a role in emotions

- Becharer + van der Linden (2005) agreed from their findings that the prefrontal lobe regulates behaviour + defers rewards, being about planning; lesion (damage) might be wanting more immediate gratification, making someone impatient, so linking to aggression. The prefrontal lobe inhibits messages from the amygdala, which links to it having a planning role + damage there might lead to more negative emotions

- Raine et al found that people who had showed emotional impulsive violence differed in their prefrontal cortex compared with controls


What is the Limbic System and how does it Link to Aggression?

- Limbic System: Hippocampus, Amygdala, Hypothalamus

- Has a role in Self Preservation; including response to emotions and the 'Fight-or-Flight' response, which arouses us when we're in danger

- In animals, if the amygdala is stimulated (using an electric current), there is an aggressive response. If the amygdala is removed, the animal is passive


What is the Link between the Prefrontal Cortex and Aggression?

- Raine et al. found the prefrontal cortex is involved in aggression

- Aggression is due to a lack of control from the prefrontal cortex: If the prefrontal cortex is damaged, or functions poorly / abnormally, then people can become very impulsive, impatient and aggressive

- Depression links to the orbifrontal, vetromedial and lateral prefrontal cortex.


What is the Structure of the Pre-Frontal Cortex?

The prefrontal cortex is the outer layer of the brain, is in the prefrontal lobe, is found in both hemispheres and has a role in emotions