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Animal studies – used to investigate biological mechanisms that govern human behaviour, often where ethical guidelines would not allow human participation. rats) are thought to have a similar biological makeup to humans, such that studies’ conclusions can be generalised to humans.
: Evidence has suggested that if one identical twin (monozygotic [MZ], with near-identical genetic information to the other) develops schizophrenia, there is a roughly 48% chance of the other also developing schizophrenia, whereas this is only about 17% with non-identical twins (dizygotic [DZ], who share about 50% of their genes).
Such findings support that genetics play a significant part in the disorder.
- The experimental methods used (gathering empirical [i.e.
observable] evidence) make this approach very scientific.
Neurochemical imbalances in the brain are often associated with abnormal behaviour – for instance, evidence suggests that imbalances of dopamine (a neurochemical linked with the brain’s natural ‘pleasure’ system) are associated with mood disorders such as depression.
The endocrine system is a slower-acting communication system that regulates the circulation of hormones, released by glands into the bloodstream.
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Charles Darwin’s publication – On the Origin of Species (1859) – described the process of natural selection; characteristics that are not suited to a species’ environment will die out as it struggles to survive, and with time will evolve over generations so that only adaptive characteristics remain in future offspring.
Genes are the genetic information carried by DNA in chromosomes, found within a cell’s nucleus; they are passed on through generations of a species if individuals survive and successfully reproduce.