Biological vs Cognitive

  • Created by: axx10
  • Created on: 21-04-21 14:14

Biological vs Cognitive


  • (+) successful real life applications which benefit society
  • (+) highly scientific; strength because scientific methods such as laboratory experiments allow great control over variables. This makes it easier for psychologists to establish a cause-and-effect relationship between variables.
  • (-) reductionist bio; weakness because by simplifying explanations, it ignores psychological factors such as individual differences and socioeconomical influences which could provide a fuller explanation of behaviour
  • (-) reductionist cog; weakness because the human is a product of all the processes working together, not just individual parts  -> for example, Baron-Cohen's research into autism ignored other issues such as hormone levels.


  • (-) cog is mechanistic; weakness because  it broadly ignores that influence of human emotion and motivation on the cognitive system and how this may affect how info is processed. -> for example, research has found that human memory may be affected by emotional factors (Loftus)
  • (+) cog takes into account both nature and nurture
  • (-) cog lacks ecological validity; Lab experiments are low in eco validity because they create unusual situations for ppts. This may lead to ppts to behave strangely, producing behavior that is not representative of normal life = means that we cannot be completely confident about generalizing the findings. e.g. Loftus' research shows that EWT can be unreliable.
  • (+) bio is determinist; strength because it increases the likelihood of being able to treat people with abnormal behaviour and provides explanations about the causes of behaviour. This understanding can then be used to improve people’s lives.
  • (-) bio is determinist; weakness as it might make the individual feel powerless in the case of mental illness and reduce personal responsibility in the case of crime
  • (-) bio focuses on nature;  weakness as it can take away the importance of a person's environment in dealing with or explaining the development of a behaviour

Overall comparison

In conclusion, both approaches are equally useful as they are highly scientific meaning psychologists can test its theories in an objective way to explain behaviour, leading to successful therapies of both approaches which equally benefit society. for example, an individual could do both drug therapy and CBT in order to live a better quality life


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