Essay Plans for All Approaches (inc. applications & comparisons)!

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  • Created on: 12-06-16 16:50
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Biological (came up in the June 2014 paper, so unlikely to come up for June 2014)
AO1 ­ Key assumptions underlying the theory
Darwinian Theory ­ the evolutionary basis of behaviour (eg. fight and flight) and the
notion that animals are inherently similar to humans, and that we can thus
generalise findings from animal research to humans.
Determinism ­ human behaviour is determined by a combination of genes and
genetic inheritance (E.g. OCD/Schizophrenia). Animal behaviour is almost totally
determined by genes.
CNS/Brain ­ both play an essential role in thought and behaviour. It is thus
necessary to understand the workings/structure of the brain and NS more
generally to understand behaviour. (e.g. amygdala ­ responsible for emotions)
Chemical processes in the brain ­ responsible for different aspects of
psychological functioning. Imbalance = abnormal behaviour/thought. (e.g. OCD
and serotonin/ Schizophrenia and excessive dopaminergic activity)
AO2 ­ Strength and weaknesses
S ­ Highly scientific methods of research ­
E.g. MRIs to give detailed pictures of brain structure/function. Controlled lab
experiments for sleep patterns or to test drugs on animals.
High in internal validity
Developed new methods of investigation
Great advances in understanding the biological basis of behaviour
BUT ­ scientific methods my not provide the same level of detail.
HOWEVER ­ biological app. does sometimes use case studies of brain damaged
S ­ Useful theoretical applications
Explained OCD and schizophrenia, supported by empirical evidence
Offered explanations for criminality (extra Y chromosome theory)
Has furthered our understanding of certain behaviours/disorders
We can treat/prevent occurrence
BUT ­ theoretical apps may be limited in their use ­ deterministic/reductionist
This raises various issues regarding free will ­ the ignorance of
sociocultural/environmental influence on our behaviour is a negative outlook that
raises serious implications for the judicial system ­ if criminals cannot help their
actions, should they then be punished?
S ­ Useful practical applications
Led to the development of drug treatments ­ SSRIs for OCD, antipsychotics for
Research within the approach has been put to good use
Relieved individuals of their suffering

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BUT ­ biological treatments often have negative side effects
Only lead to partial improvement in symptoms
Other factors must be involved
W ­ Deterministic
Biological determinism ­ genes/neurotransmitters responsible for our behaviour
e.g. OCD caused by low levels of serotonin
Ignores role of free will
Resulting implications for society
People may adopt a fatalistic attitude ­ is there any point in trying to change if your
situation is totally out of your control I.e.…read more

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Info is coded, processed, stored, retrieved from memory and a response is
Information processing
Mental processes = information processing
Involves transforming, storing and retrieving info from memory
The use of models provides a mechanistic view of the human mind, which is useful
in helping us to understand how we process info
Scientific methods of investigation
Believes that cognitive processes should be studied scientifically (i.e.…read more

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Human attributes such as consciousness and self-awareness remain a mystery to
The idea of a `man as a machine' is seen as too simplistic and ignoring emotional
and social facts in human behaviour
E.g.…read more

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Psychology as the behaviourist views it is a purely objective, experimental branch
of natural science which needs introspection as little as do sciences of chemistry
and physics.…read more

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Such as offending ­ conditioning
Mechanistic/overly simplistic
Ignores the role of genes and cognitive processes
`Degrading and scientifically inaccurate'
IN CONTRAST ­ SLT takes into account the role of these mediating cognitive
factors in learning
W ­ Nurture, rather than nature ­
All human behaviour = environmental through conditioning
Ignores the nature side of the argument ­ perhaps taking an interactionist
approach is the best way to understand human behaviour
IN CONTRAST ­ Biological approach comes down on the nature side, providing
evidence of the…read more

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BUT ­ studies such as bobo doll study criticised on the grounds of ecological
Children may also respond to demand characteristics = lowers validity of study
S ­ Adopts a compromise position in the free will/determinism debate
Soft determinism ­ Bandura proposed the idea of reciprocal determinism ­
interaction between our environment and our cognitive processes = both influence
each other = behaviour
We have a `degree of free will'/personal agency
Less fatalistic ­ we are not passive. More pos.…read more

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AO1 ­ Key assumptions
Unconscious processes ­ mental processes can occur at conscious, pre-conscious
and unconscious levels. Human behaviour largely determined by unconscious
motives and conflict. Unconscious stems from the three elements/tripartite
structure of the personality ­ id, superego and ego, which are all in constant
Defence mechanisms ­ Our understanding of ourselves is distorted by defence
mechanisms. Our little insight into our conscious mind does not provide an
accurate picture of who we are.
Through these mechanisms (e.g.…read more

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Many patients he treated were NOT fully recovered
W ­ Deterministic and pessimistic
Humans are inherently bad
Perspectives on childhood experience/psychosexual development = troubling = i.e.
Oedipus etc.
Inappropriate and overstated?
Also, many children that have negative experiences/phases in childhood go on to
have perfectly normal adult lives
W ­ Relies on the case study method
e.g.…read more

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Humans are active agents, we have the power to choose and decide on our own
behaviour.…read more


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