Biological approach

The biological approach is one of the units in the core. Personally, I teach of the core units as a stand-alone unit, but as you will see in the curriculum materials, I do not address all of the learning objectives of the unit in the biological approach unit. I focus on the biology or memory to help students understand the basic concepts and save those that are not as relevant until later in the course.

This section contains activities and curriculum tips, teaching ideas, revision strategies, key studies, a question bank and writing samples for different SAQs and ERQs.

Learning objectives

The curriculum does not have clearly defined learning objectives, but the questions are set by using the first two columns of the grid in the curriculum guide.  Below you will find the key areas of understanding that students must address within the unit.


  • Ethical considerations related to research studies in the biological approach to studying behaviour.
  • How and why particular research methods are used in the biological approach.
  • Evaluation of research methods used to study the brain, hormonal and/or genetic influences on human behaviour.

The brain and behaviour

  • Techniques used to study the brain.
  • The role of localization of function in behaviour.
  • Neuroplasticity
  • Neurotransmission and its role in human behaviour

Hormones and behaviour

  • Hormones and their role in human behaviour
  • Pheromones and their role in human behaviour

Genetics and behaviour

  • The role of genetic inheritance in human behaviour.
  • Evolutionary explanations of behaviour.

HL extension: animal research

  • The value of animal models in understanding the role of the brain/ hormones/genetics in human behaviour.
  • To what extent can animals provide insight into human behaviour.
  • Ethical considerations in animal research
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