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Individual Differences Approach

1. To understand the complexity of human behaviour and experiences it is necessary to study the
differences between people rather than those things that we all have in common. Therefore it largely
focuses on things such as personality differences and abnormality (e.g. addiction and mental disorders)…

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Rosenhan was particularly critical about both the reliability of labelling and the negative
effects which it has on the individual. Furthermore, such labels can lead to a self-fulfilling
prophecy in which expectations about a person can come true. Once diagnosed with
schizophrenia, this label can mean that people may judgements…

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2. One debate is whether an individual's behaviour is as a result of their personality or their social context
3. Importance of the social context in shaping behaviour

Strengths of the social approach

It attempts to use real life situations when studying behaviour. Human interactions are best studied
where participants…

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Strengths of the cognitive approach

Laboratory experiments are the most common methodology used in cognitive research. This allows
rigorous controls to be used to isolate the independent variable and establish cause and effect. This
level of control is often at the expense of ecological validity.
In the Baron Cohen study…

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Physiological Approach

1. Behaviour and experience can be explained by the physiological changes within the workings of the
body or brain.

Strengths of the psychological approach

Use of sophisticated equipment such as MRI scanners which provide an objective and precise way of
measuring brain structure:
Maguire et al used…

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Developmental Approach

There are clearly identifiable, systematic changes that occur in an individual's behaviour from
conception to death.
Cognitive, emotional and behavioural development is therefore an on-going process.
Changes occur as a result of the interaction between nature and nurture.

Strengths of the developmental approach

Research enables psychologists to…

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Behaviourist Perspective

All behaviour is learnt from our environment after birth
Nurture Approach
Behaviour is learnt through classical conditioning.
The other form of learning is operant conditioning

Strengths of the behaviourist perspective

Highlights to role of nurture in learning, and shows the important influence that environment has on our…

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Concentrates on the structure of the mind which has parts we are aware of and also parts we are
unaware of (conscious/unconscious)
The unconscious mind can show through in dream or slips of the tongue
Originates from the work of Freud but has been developed by others since


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