Methodology Used by the Biological Approach

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The biological approach assumes that behaviour can be explained in terms of activity in the brain and nervous system. Biological psychologists seek methods that allow them to view brain activity, the development of brain scanning techniques in the past 30 years, much more precise methods of studying the brain have been developed. CAT scans involve taking a series of x-rays and combining them to form a comprehensive two or three dimensional picture of the area being scanned. Usually a dye is injected into the patient as a contrast material and then he/she is placed into a cylindrical machine that takes the pictures. MRI scans involve the use of a magnetic field that causes the atoms of the brain to change their alignment when the magnet is on and emit various radio signals when the magnet is turned off, a detector reads the signals and uses them to map the structure of the brain. PET scans involve administering slightly radioactive glucose into the patient, the most active areas of the brain use glucose and radiation detectors can see the radioactive areas so building up a picture of the activity in the brain, the scans take between 10 and 40 minutes to complete and are painless. PET scans reveal chemical information that is not available with other imaging techniques. This means that it can distinguish between beign and malignant tumours e.g. PET scans can also show the brain in action which is useful for psychological research. However this is an extremely costly technique and therefore not easily available for research, also as the patient has to be injected with a radioactive substance, the technique can only be used a couple of times. PET scans are less precise than MRI scans. Twin studies are also of value to the bio psychologists in investigating the assumption that behaviour is due to our genetic makeup. MZ twins share 100% of their genes, same behaviour is

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