This approach linking human behaviour to evolution and genetics was first proposed by Charles Darwin in his concept of Natural Selection According to him, behaviour is passed on from one generation to the next, with behaviours that aid survival of the species being the most likely to be passed to the future generation, as those that predispose the species to danger being the least likely to be inherited.
Also referred to as Biopsychology, and Physiological Psychology, this approach studies the physical basis of human behaviour. It postulates that human behaviour is a consequence of genetics and physiology. How we think, feel and behave can therefore be traced back to a biological cause. i.e., how the brain is built.
Where the Psychoanalytic looks at human behaviour with a view to find its roots in childhood experiences that are subconscious to the person showing the behaviour such as aggression, and the behaviourist considers how such behaviour has been instilled by association, reinforcement and punishment, the biological perspective looks for biological causes of such behaviour. They may therefore consider aspects such as brain damage, hormonal imbalances or genetics.
Studies in this approach Focuses on the body, especially the brain and the central nervous system as a way of examining and understanding behaviour and mental processes. It can be therefore understood in three ways, thus;
i) Comparative method: Different animal species can be studied and compared. The research findings can then be used to understand human behaviour.
ii) Physiology: When the working of the nervous system and hormones, and the functioning of the brain have been studied, it has been shown that changes in their structure, and/or functioning can have impact on behaviour. This is proven by the way drugs such as antidepressants have been used to interact with the nervous system to change behaviour.
iii) Inheritance: what is passed on from one generation to the next.
This approach is linked to biology, neuroscience, and genetics.
A Psychologist interest in Biopsychology;
Analyses how injury or trauma to the brain influences behaviour
Investigates degenerative brain diseases and their impact on behaviour
Explores genetic influences on behaviour
Studies the links between genetics, brain damage and psychological disorders
With recent technological advancements, the brain and the Central Nervous System (CNS) are now being thoroughly studied through methods such as PET, MRI, and EEG. This has greatly helped in investigating how damage to the brain, diseases and drugs impact cognition and behaviour.
v Scientific: With the rigorous empirical methods, the biological approach yields reliable and practical results.
v Yields remedies and treatments for several psychological/mental disorders
v This approach fails to account for other influences such as societal pressure, environment, emotions, and past experiences in the formation of psychological disorders
As can be seen, this approach is not complete on its own, and may therefore need to borrow from the other perspectives when remedying a psychological issue.
· Psychodynamic Perspective
· Humanistic/Existential Perspective
· Cognitive Perspective
· Evolutionary Perspective
· Sociocultural Perspective