IB Psychology: The Biological Perspective

Introduction (from IB Course Guide)
The focus of this perspective is the interaction between the physiological and psychological factors that contribute to behavior. To understand this interaction, a basic understanding of physiology is needed.

Until the middle of the 19th century, most humans regarded themselves as very distinct from animals. Since Darwin’s discoveries were published, there has been a general acceptance that humans have evolved from animals, that we have a substantial number of physiological and behavioral characteristics in common, and that we also share much of our genetic make-up with them.

This acceptance has led psychologists to increase research into basic physiological processes as a way of explaining human behavior. Changes in behavior can be regarded as arising from an interaction between genetic disposition and environmental factors. Research has frequently, but not exclusively, used the experimental method to investigate behavior. There are issues that are relevant to the biological perspective, including criticisms that this may involve a reductionist approach and that behavior exhibited by non-human animals is not always relevant to humans.

There is an increasing awareness, due to the use of brain-scanning techniques, that physiological mechanisms play an important role in the behavior of individuals in areas as diverse as aggression and stress. The greater insight that researcher have provided into biological processes and psychological treatment, to alleviate symptoms caused by psychological disorders.

Learning Outcomes (otherwise known as "reworded versions of test questions")