Individual Differences Approach and Studies

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  • Individual Differences Approach
    • It assumes every individual is genetically unique and this uniqueness is displayed through their behaviour. This means that everyone behaves differently.
    • Strengths
      • Practical Applications- the findings from research have many practical applications as they can have a +ve impact on individuals and society, as it can identify how abnormal behaviour can be treated.
      • Understanding- it allows us to learn more about human behaviour, as all behaviours, including abnormal ones are studied. The approach can explain why some people are different.
    • Weakness
      • Ethics- it often raises ethical concerns such as consent, deception, invasion of privacy and stress. This may discourage future participation in research and may lower the status of psychology.
      • Un-Scientific- this means they are not reliable or objective as they are open to bias. This means that the usefulness of the approach is reduced and the findings are less likely to be taken seriously.
    • Studies
      • Rosenhan
        • The approach could explain abnormality. AS the pseudopatients reported hearing voices, this is not 'normal' behaviour. Using criterion in the DSM II they were diagnosed with schizophrenia, or 'abnormal'.
      • Griffiths
        • The approach can explain gambling, as it focuses on differences between people. Griffiths found that there were differences between regular and non-regular gamblers, this implies that individual differences are strong factors that affect gambling.
      • Thigpen and Cleckley
        • The study is concerned with the psychological disorder Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD) or Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). The approach is a 'person approach' which makes great use of observation and correlation.


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