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Chapter 2

PSYCH 270 Chapter Notes - Chapter 2: Electroconvulsive Therapy, Human Genome Project, Psychosurgery

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Mikaela Bradley
Chapter Two Study Objectives
**Note there are multiple parts to some of the objectives
1) Describe the biological model.
The biological model states that to obtain a complete understanding of someone’s
emotions, thoughts, and behaviors, it must include a understanding of their biological basis.
What are the causes of abnormal behavior from this perspective?
Biological theorists consider abnormal behavior to have been brought on by
malfunctioning parts of the organism. Usually, these malfunctions were seen as problems
in brain anatomy or chemistry.
What are the most effective treatments? (39)
The belief of proponents of the biological model is that the most effective treatments are
biological ones.
2) What are neurons?
A type of nerve cells that receive, process, and transmit information throughout the body.
Used a lot in the brain to transmit messages to actions.
Describe how messages are communicated between neurons.
A message is received by a neuron’s dendrites and then travels down the axon in the form
of an electrical impulse to the nerve ending. There, neurotransmitters are released and help
carry the impulse across the synapse to the receptors of the neighboring neuron. A signal
says whether to continue the release of the signal or to stop the signal. The messages
continue in this manner.
Describe the functions of the following structures: dendrites, axons, synapse, receptor
sites on the receiving neuron (also known as terminal buttons or axon terminals) (39-
Dendrites: antenna-like extensions located on one end of the neuron that receive the
Axons: a long fiber connection the dendrites to the cell body down which the impulse
Synapse: connect neurons and aid in transmission of information
Receptor Sites: located on dendrites on the neighboring neurons. When correctly bonded
to the receptor sites, the neurotransmitters will give a message to the receiving neuron to
fire the impulse.
3) Describe three sources of biological abnormalities. (39-41)
There are three principal categories of sources of biological abnormalities: genetics,
evolution, and viral infections. Sometimes, genetic inheritance is the reasons behind brain
anatomy that is abnormal or chemical abnormalities. Genes also are a factor in mood
disorders and schizophrenia. Using studies such as twin or family studies, and with the help
of the human genome project, understanding how genetics contribute to biological
abnormalities has become more apparent over the past decade. Evolution also contributes
to abnormalities. Mutations can occur over time in genes in order to adapt to certain
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Mikaela Bradley
situations; however, sometimes there is an adaptation that occurs as an error in DNA
replication that can cause harmful results. Advantageous mutations change over time and
it is possible that the same genes that helped our ancestors can be detrimental to our health.
Finally, viral infections contribute to biological abnormalities. For example, infections in
a mother during pregnancy could negatively impact the fetus and development of the child.
Researchers in the past ten years have linked viruses to anxiety, depression, bipolar
disorders, and psychotic disorders.
4) Describe three types of biological treatments. (42)
Drug therapy is the most common of the biological treatments. Discovered in the 1950s,
psychotropic medications are a group of medications that target emotions and thought
processes. There are several subgroups, all of which target a certain mental symptom.
However, these drugs tend to be overused, which is a problem. Furthermore, not everyone
reacts the same way to drugs and they are not effective for everyone.
Electroconvulsive therapy is used primarily on depressed patients and is administered by
attaching two electrodes to a patient’s forehead and administering electric current shocks.
As a result, the patient has an induced brain seizure. This process works over the course of
several days and is used on tens of thousands of depressed patients each year.
Psychosurgery, also known as neurosurgery, is considered one of the more experimental
treatments and is only used in severe situations when other forms of treatment fail to work.
Nevertheless, the idea of psychosurgery has existed for several decades and became
modernized in the 1930s with the introduction of the lobotomy. Since then, procedures
have become more precise.
5) What are 4 types of drugs used in therapy? (42)
Antianxiety drugs, also known as minor tranquilizers or anxiolytics, are used to assists in
reducing tension and anxiety.
Antidepressant drugs are used to improve the mood of people who suffer from depression.
Antibipolar drugs, also known as mood stabilizers, help maintain steady moods in people
suffering from bipolar disorder, which is a condition identified by mood swings of
alternating mania and depression.
Antipsychotic drugs help to reduce hallucinations, delusions, and confusion of psychotic
disorders, which are marked by a departure from contact with reality.
6) What are the shortcomings of the biological approach? (44)
Despite the respect that the biological model has, there are a few limitations of this
approach. First, some of the advocates of this model seem to expect that all of human
behavior can be explained and threated using biological methods, which limits the
understanding of abnormal functioning. Seconds, several of the biological treatments
present today can produce undesirable side effects. For example, antipsychotics may cause
movement problems such as severe shaking and extreme restlessness.
7) Describe the psychodynamic model.
This is the oldest and most well-known model of modern psychology. Theorists of the
psychodynamic model believe that whether a person’s behavior is normal or abnormal is
determined significantly by underlying psychological forces of his or her unconscious.
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