Answering Approaches Questions
Essay title: Answering Approaches Questions
Answering the approaches question
Using the biological approach to explain a behaviour
“Lottery addict children
Britain is producing a generation of child gamblers hooked on the Lottery and
fruit machines. Disturbing new research by two eminent academics shows
that hundreds of thousands of children-some as young as 11- are now
addicted despite the supposed legal restrictions. The findings will fuel
warnings from lottery critics that the country is storing up social problems and
is likely to trigger pressure for a uniform age limit of 18 on all gambling.”
(Reproduced from AQA A specimen material.)
In the A level examination you will be required to explain a target behaviour
using any approach. The aim of this activity is to offer you, the candidate, the
opportunity to express your true understanding of the approach by your ability
to use it in a novel situation.
How would you explain lottery addiction in terms of the biological
approach? The currency of the biological explanation is brain activity or
brain anatomy, nervous impulses and neurotransmitters, hormones, and
various organs in the body. A possible explanation could be as follows:
Why are young people hooked on the lottery and fruit machines? A
psychologist might use the biological approach to explain this
behaviour. Such a psychologist would explain the behaviour in
terms of brain activity and the action of the central and autonomic
nervous systems. The psychologist might also mention hormones.
An answer like this would attract relatively few marks as it does little
more than sketch out the possible elements of a biological explanation
and has not demonstrated a true understanding of the approach. In
order to do this you really need to try to put together an explanation of
the target behaviour.
An explanation of lottery addiction using the biological approach
would focus on how biological systems can be used to explain and
understand this behaviour. When an individual stands in front of a
fruit machine the flashing lights are physiologically arousing,
creating a sense of excitement and probably pleasure. Physiological
arousal causes the body to produce certain hormones that prepare
the person for fight or flight. We can also understand the
individuals behaviour in terms of nervous impulses. The eyes watch
the pictures on the fruit machine go round and send impulses to
the brain where they are interpreted and further messages sent to
the hands to press a button at an appropriate moment to stop the
In the A level examination you will be given an opportunity to evaluate
one of your explanations so you can take the opportunity, as below, to
indicate in what way the explanation offered in the first part of the
question is lacking. This highlights the fact that your explanations may
not be satisfactory! They simply need to demonstrate your understanding
of the named approach.
The problem with the biological approach is that for many aspects
of behaviour it ignores some of the key elements of behaviour. In

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A Level Examination And Currency Of The Biological Explanation. (April 3, 2021). Retrieved from