Holism and Reductionism

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  • Holism and Reductionism
    • Holism - perceiving the whole experience rather than individual
      • Gestalt
        • It was coined by German psychologists and focuses on perception and things only make sense in a whole
      • Humanistic
        • The individual reacts as an organised whole, not stimulus-response links
      • Cognitive
        • Each unit is linked to other units, the links develop through experience, it behaves as a whole.
    • Reductionism - breaks complex phenomena into small components
      • Levels of explination - how behaviour can be explained
        • High - cultural and social explinations
        • middle - psychological explinations
        • Low - biological explinations
      • Biological
        • Since all animals are made up of atoms, human behaviour must be explained at this level (Physical)
      • Environment
        • All behaviour can be explained by stimulus response links (relationships)
      • Experimental
        • reducing behaviour into isolated variables so research can be done
    • Evaluation
      • Lower levels of explination
        • If lower levels are taken in isolation, the meaning of behaviour may be overlooked
      • Biological
        • It has led to the development of drug therapies = reduction in institutionalisation
      • Environment
        • This is about animals so the studies may not be applicable to human behaviour
      • Experimental
        • This research may not tell us much about everyday life as it is artificial research
      • Mind-Body
        • Describing relationships between the mind and the body e.g. dreams and REM sleep


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