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Biological approaches to psychology Simple revision points What is the biological approach to psychology? It assumes that people are controlled by their biology. We evolved in response to our environment; so we are controlled by genetics and physiology. If we become psychologically ill, it is because of genetic damage, disease or accident. We should only look at the physical elements of human behaviour What two strengths are there to the biological approach? If we know what causes illness then we can treat it using drugs or surgery and this can be done fairly easily. This approach explains some behaviours and illnesses that are difficult to understand using other approaches: schizophrenia and addictions What two weaknesses are there to the biological approach? It reduces everything to a simple level; depression may actually be an appropriate response to a bad situation and not a physical illness. Our behaviour often only makes sense if you look at the meanings people put to what they do. We are more than simple biological responses. How has the biological approach been applied to mental illness? It has used psychosurgery such as lobotomy It supports drug based therapies for mental illness. What two problems are there with psychosurgery? There are ethical difficulties as serious damage has been done to people’s personalities. Errors and mistakes cannot be corrected so it is a very radical approach to dealing with personality problems What two problems are there with chemotherapy? Drug treatments alone are often not particularly effective for some conditions and not all treatments are not appropriate for all patients with the same conditions. Many psychotropic drugs have severe and unpleasant side effects.