The biological approach looks at chemical activity in the brain, including how neurotransmitters act at synapses to enable messages to be transmitted. The biological approach included an evolutionary perspective, which examines how characteristics are inherited via genes. Also considered is brain lateralisation – how the two parts of the brain work together.
Functioning of neurotransmitters
This is one way messages are passed within the brain – by neurotransmitters. These are chemicals that pass from neuron to neuron. Between neurones there are gaps called synapses. If the receptors of on neuron are set to receive the neurotransmitters of another, then the message continues.
This is another way messages are passed around the body. These send messages more slowly than neurotransmitters and are used for different purposes. Hormones have a large part to play in development of either males or females. (Testosterone is a male hormone, oestrogen is a female hormone.)
How genes are passed on from parents to children and how they govern behaviour as well as physical characteristics. Children receive half their genes from their fathers and half from their mothers. The human gene has recently been decoded, which means that all genes have been identified. This does not mean that the function of each gene is known because it is often the combination or the position of genes that leads to certain characteristics, rather than one particular gene.
Parts of the brain and their functionsThe brain has many parts: the limbic system is linked to aggression, the hippocampus is thought to be where short-term memory occurs and the two halves of the brain are joined by the corpus callosum. It is though females used both halved of their brain more than males. And males are more right-brain dominant. Brain lateralisation is the term used when considering the two halves of the brain separately.