You need to be able to:
1. Describe the biological approach to
2. Describe 3 biological causes of
3. Outline the nature-nurture debate in
relation to the biological approach.
1. A short description of the biological
approach to psychopathology. Make sure
you include technical terminology. This is
your A01 material.
3. An outline of the nature-nurture debate
and how it relates to the biological approach
2. A short explanation of 3 biological
causes of psychopathology.
You need to have produced:
According to the biological
approach or medical model
abnormal behaviour reflects an
underlying ‘disease’ process and
can be thought of as an illness.
The Biological Approach
Mental health problems are regarded as illnesses.
Mental health problems are caused by damaged or
Different parts of the brain
control specific psychological and
How we think.
What we feel.
Neurotransmitters are the chemicals
that brain cells use to communicate.
Biological cause 1
An imbalance in neurotransmitters can
lead to abnormal thinking, feeling and
According to the biological approach depression is
linked to an imbalance in a neurotransmitter
People become depressed when the level of
serotonin in in areas of the brain that regulate
feelings is too low.
According to the biological approach schizophrenia
is linked to an imbalance in a neurotransmitter called
People become schizophrenic when the level of
dopamine in the brain is too high.
Biological cause 2
Depression may be caused by structural abnormalities in the
Schizophrenia may be caused by tissue loss in the brain, especially
Research has shown that schizophrenics have enlarged spaces in
their brains due to the shrinkage of brain tissue.
Biological cause 3
According to the
biological approach we
inherit mental illnesses in
the same way we may
Read p.184 of your textbook:
(a) List three biological causes
of psychopathology (3 marks)
(b) Outline one of the causes
selected in (a) (3 marks)
from disorders of
Mental disorders are
‘illnesses’ and treated
like physical illness.