Unlike a lot of the historical perspectives on psychology, the new perspectives are more of a blend of different theoretical approaches. Instead of taking one avenue toward understanding psychology, they try to blend two or more.
One of these is the biological perspective. Looking at the word biological, you can see the word biology, which is the focus of this approach.
A biological perspective psychologist tries to understand behavior as a result of the internal physical, chemical, and biological processes that occur in human beings.
These psychologists try to relate things like thinking, feeling, and perceiving to different physical occurrences, such as what's going on inside of the brain, what chemicals are being sent, or what kind of genetic code allows those sorts of things to happen.
The biological perspective blends different classical approaches, like behaviorism, which looks at the mechanical processes of behavior, and structuralism, which tries to break things down into their component parts.
This perspective is also very deterministic, stating that there are certain physical occurrences that cause particular mental occurrences or behavior.
In this way, the biological perspective is opposed to humanism, which considers the human to be the agent or the actor that causes things to happen.
The biological perspective has two subcategories of thought, the first of which is the evolutionary approach to psychology.
The evolutionary view states that human mental processes and behaviors are the results of gradual changes over the entire history of the human species.
This approach looks at two specific forces that interact with humans to cause them to behave in the way they do:
The genetic force in the evolutionary perspective states that human beings are a product of their own genes; a lot of human behavior and mental states occur as a result of those genes.
EXAMPLEMany studies have been done with twins to see how they act similarly in certain ways because of their genetic background.
2b. Natural Selection
The other force that interacts with people under the evolutionary school of thought is natural selection.
Going back to other approaches to evolution (e.g., Darwinism), natural selection says that there are certain developments in different brain structures that occurred over time as a result of selections, or what improved humanity in different cases.
This natural selection approach to psychology allowed the integration of animal studies and the study of animal behaviors, since a lot of those behaviors, under natural selection, can be seen as the result of mutations over time.
This led to the study of rats in mazes, as you may see in classical psychology, as well as the study of monkeys, which are very similar to humans in a lot of their behaviors.
The second subcategory of the biological perspective is the biopsychological view of psychology, which states that a lot of behavior and mental processes like thinking, feeling, and perceiving are the results of the internal workings of the physical aspects of our brain and nervous system.
Thus, a lot of abnormal behavior is the result of abnormal structures that are occurring inside of the body.
EXAMPLESmall changes in the frontal lobes, hippocampus, and temporal lobes have been present in over half of patients with schizophrenia. In this way, schizophrenia can be understood as having a biological basis.
Biopsychology is part of the larger, overarching field of neuroscience, which includes professions like biologists and biochemists, who are attempting to uncover other physical processes that impact behavior. These professions also study the physical body and the different diseases that can occur within it.
Source: Adapted from Sophia tutorial by Erick Taggart.