Idiographic and Nomothetic

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  • Idiographic and Nomothetic
    • Idiographic - focuses on individuals and emphasises uniqueness
      • Qualitative methods
        • It studies behaviour by studying individuals in depth. Quality not quantity
      • Examples
        • Freud used case studies to look at behaviour e.g. little Hans
        • Humanistic - as they study the whole person and is subjective
    • Nomothetic - create general laws based on the study of groups
      • Quantitative methods
        • Data from a group of people rather than individual cases
      • Examples
        • Biological - basic principles of how the brain and body work
        • Behaviourist - They seek one set of rules for all people
        • Cognitive - It creates general laws of behaviour but uses case studies (HM)
    • Evaluation
      • Combined methods
        • Idiographic can be used to create hypotheses to be tested in a nomothetic approach
      • Time consuming
        • Idiographic approach is time consuming as data can't be processed quickly
      • Predictions
        • The idiographic approach does not allow us to make accurate predictions
      • Scientific basis
        • The idiographic approach is not scientific enough
      • Individual level
        • Too much emphasis on measurement = idiographic to focus psychology on humans


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