Biological Materialism

Does all human expression, from severe mental disorder to classical music, owe its existence to a balance among brain chemicals? What about memory? The biological approach, for example, has identified an analogue to long-term memory in certain parts of the brain.

Other psychologists prefer the biological approach with its assumption that mainly neurophysiological factors, not the environment, are primary causes; that is, what is most related to bodily processes is also the most salient factor in shaping what we are psychically and behaviourally.

For example, there may be an initial assumption that people who are severely despondent suffer from a biochemical imbalance; hence, the search for a species of neurotransmitter in the brain which ’causes’ mood changes. Such an approach would contrast with the environmentalist’s view that poor family upbringing causes severe melancholia.

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