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10 Cards in this Set

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Assumption 1: Evolutionary unfouences

-explain how the human mind and behaviour has changed over millions of years to adapt to the demands of our individual environments.

-Darwins theory of natural selection: genetically determined behaviour enhances individuals chance of survival and reproduction will be 'naturally selected'.

-Example: Altruistic behaviour is where parents risk their lives to save offspring.

-Theory of natural selection would suggest that altruism is inherited as saving offspring enhances survival of that individuals gene pool.

-EEA: environment to which any species is adapted and the selective pressures that existed at that time.

-only the behaviours that will ensure survival in that individuals particular environment are adapted.

-Humans most recent period of evolutionary change was 2 million years ago: humans moving from forest life to the developing savannahs in Africa.

-EEA explanation for humans large brain: human brain has developed in response to complex social organisation of our species.

-Humans with particular abilities would be more likely to survive e.g. Those who are better at forming alliances and good relationships are more likely to survive in a complex social world.

Assumption 2: Localisation of brain function

Frontal lobes: located in frontal and upper cortex of brain. Used to make decisions, where our personality is formed, thinking and creativity.

Parietal lobes: located in upper, back of the cortex. Info such as taste, temperature and touch are integrated.

Temporal lobes: located in bottom middle part of the cortex. This is where sensory information such as sounds and speech from the ears. It is also key to being able to comprehend meaningful speech. It makes sense of the all the different sounds and pitches.

Occipital lobes: located in bottom back part of the cortex. Important to being able to correctly understand what your eyes are seeing. These lobes have to be very fast to process the rapid information that our eyes are sending.

Assumption 3: Neurotransmitters

- Neurons are electrically excitable cells that form the basis of nervous system.

- Flexibility of nervous system is enhanced by having many branches at the end of each neuron (dynamites) so that each Neuron connects with many others.

- One neuron communicates with another neuron at a synapse where the message is relayed by neurotransmitters.

- Neurotransmitters are released from presynaptic vesicles in one neuron and will either stimulate or inhibit receptors in the other neuron.

Neurotransmitters and mental health

- Serotonin plays role in mood, sleep and appetite

- Little serotonin is found in people with depression

- High levels of dopamine been associated with schizophrenia

Biological Explanation for relationship formation: Evolutionary theory

- Relationships form with individuals who possess certain traits

- Traits that can enhance successful reproduction are naturally selected.

- Males to females: More fertile, (young) and healthy, smooth skin, glossy skin, thin waist, wide hips, red lips - men are more physically orientated

- Females to males: Resources, Shelter, Money and status - women are more materialistically orientated

- Trivers (1972): parental investment theory suggests females should be choosier in finding a partner as they will be carrying the baby hence will seek out a male who can offer the most and best resources


- E.g. Dopamine has been associated with pleasure seeking and reward driven behaviour: so setting goal of finding partner and being driven to achieve this will give us a hit of dopamine

- Oxytocin linked to human bonding and increasing trust and loyalty.

- High levels of oxytocin=romantic attachment

Formation of sibling relationships

- Kin selection: traits that enhance the survival of those who have similar genes are also selected to promote the survival of our groups genes .

Drug therapy

- Psychological disorders have a physiological cause

- Medical model: mental illnesses are like physical illnesses (they have a physical cause characterised by clusters of symptoms and there can be treated in a physical way.

- Medical model proposes patients should be treated for their mental illness in a physical way which is through direct manipulation of their physical body

- Changes in neurotransmitter systems will affect our mood, feelings, perception and behaviour

- Psychotherapeutic drugs can be used in this instance as they can alter the the action of neurotransmitters and treat mental illnesses

- Works by increasing or blocking the action of neurotransmitters in the brain.

Antipsychotic drugs

- Treat mental disorders such as schizophrenia

- Patient with a psychotic mental disorder has lost touch with reality and has little insight into their condition

- Conventional antipsychotics are used primarily to combat positive symptoms of schizophrenia (e.g. Delusions and hallucinations)

- Work by blocking action of neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain by binding to but not stimulating, dopamine receptors

- Atypical antipsychotic drug (clorazil): Act by temporarily occupying dopamine receptors and then rapidly dissociating to allow normal dopamine transmission

- Explains why AAs have lower levels of side affects (tardive dyskinesia-involuntary movements of the mouth and tongue) compared with conventional antipsychotics

Antidepressant drugs

- Depression is thought to be due to insufficient amounts of neurotransmitters such as serotonin being produced in the nerve endings (synapse)

- Normal brains = neurotransmitters constantly being released from the nerve endings, stimulating the neighbouring neurons.

- To terminate their action, neurotransmitters are reabsorbed into the nerve endings and broken down by an enzyme

- AD work either by reducing rate of reabsorption or by blocking enzyme that breaks down neurotransmitters

- Both mechanisms increase amount neurotransmitter available to excite neighbouring cell

- SSRIs (Prozac): work by blocking the transporter mechanism that reabsorbs serotonin into the presynaptic cell after it has fired.

- = more of the serotonin is left in the synapse, prolonging its activity and making transmission of the next impulse easier


- Group of drugs commonly used to treat anxiety and stress are benzodiazepines (BZs)

- BZs slow down activity of central nervous system -> by enhancing the activity GABA (a biochemical substance that is the body's natural form of anxiety relief)

- Beta blockers (BBs) = reduce activity of adrenaline by binding to receptors on the cells of the heart and other part of the body that are usually stimulated during sympathetic arousal.

- By blocking these receptors it is harder to stimulate cells in this part of the body = heart beats slower with less force, blood vessels do not contract so easily. -> less stress on the heart = person feeling calmer and less anxious