Holism Vs reductionism

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  • Holism Vs reductionism
    • Reduction to separate parts.
      • Looking at things as parts rather than as whole.
    • Reduction to a lower level:
      • Psychology sits between sociology and biology as a science.
    • Psychological level of explanation:aspects internal to the person.
      • Cognitive processes; personality; emotions.
    • Biological reductionism:
      • Explains behaviour in terms of neuropsychology, biochemistry or genes.
      • Made up biological components.
      • Other levels of explanation are unimportant.
      • Evaluation:
        • Strengths:
          • Explains conditions like schizophrenia, addiction, depression, crime and forgetting.
          • Precise and concise.
          • Easier to understand than social
          • Fits with idea of 'science'.
        • Limitations: Few ideas accept bio reductionism as an adequate explanation.
    • Behaviourist:
      • Only overt behaviour should be the data for psychology.
        • Physical and muscular level.
      • Higher levels are readily observable.
      • Reduced to stimulus- response behaviours.
      • Radical behaviourism= all psychological phenomena are behaviours and should ignore cognitive processes.
      • Evaluation:
        • Strengths:
          • Highly scientific.
          • Objective.
        • Limitations:
          • Research conducted on animals.
            • Ethical problems.
            • Humans more complex?
          • Humanistic psychologist argue that humans qualitatively and quantitively different from animals.
          • Gestalt: learning was not association between S-Rut reconstruction and reorganisation of whole situation.
    • Evaluation:
      • Strengths:
        • Reductionism consistent with science.
        • Simplifies and behaviour and explains it in concrete and concise terms.
      • Limitations:
        • Complexity of behaviour is missed.
        • Distract attention from other levels of explanation.
    • Gestalt (holism):
      • It is essential to look at unified wholes, complete structures and totals.
      • Behaviour not explained by parts that make up a whole.
      • 'Dividing phenomena can destroy character'.
      • Gestalt view opposed S-R behaviour.
    • Cognitive:
      • Investigates all aspects of the person.
      • Drive for self- actualisation gives purpose and unity to behaviour.
      • Rogers and Maslow were central.
      • Interactionist:
        • Considers several levels of explanation.
        • Explains abnormal behaviour.
    • Evaluation:
      • Strengths:
        • Provide more complex picture than reductionist.
        • Do not ignore complexities so more meaningful.
      • Limitations:
        • Difficulty investigating.
        • More hypothetical than falsifiable.
        • Cohen (1977):
          • Behaviour is variable and determined by many factors.
          • Lower levels can be helpful.
          • More than one level is necessary.

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