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Approaches in Psychology
The Cognitive Approach
One advantage of this approach is that it can help us understand and help people
who have not developed their cognitive abilities in the normal way.
An example of this can be seen in the Baron-Cohen, Leslie and Frith study. They
demonstrated that it is possible that children with autism lack a theory of mind.
Another advantage is that cognitive research also helps understand differences
between people such as the ability to perceive pictures accurately.
An example of this can be seen in the Deregowski study. He asked the question: "Do
all people in the world see in the same way?" He collected data from a range of
studies on cultural aspects of perception.
One disadvantage of this approach is that cognitive psychology has a narrow focus
on mental processes. It does not automatically take account of individual, social or
biological factors in behaviour.
An example of this can be seen in the Gardner and Gardner study. They taught sign
language to a chimpanzee to see if it had the capacity for language.
Another disadvantage is that many of the theories produced by cognitive
psychologists are very hard to test because mental processes are hidden from view
in the complexities of the brain.
An example of this can be seen in the Loftus and Palmer study. They investigated the
accuracy of memory and the interaction between language and memory.
The Developmental Approach
One advantage of this approach is that the research in this area provides us with an
understanding of how humans develop and change over the whole of their lifetime.
An example of this can be seen in the Hodges and Tizard study. They investigated
sensitive periods in child development. They looked at the impact of maternal
deprivation on very young children and how the effects of that experience may last
into the late teens.
Another advantage is that developmental psychology takes many perspectives on
human behaviour social, psychoanalytic, cognitive & physiological.
Jessica Thair (G)
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An example of this can be seen in the Samuel and Bryant study. They challenged
Paiget's explanation of why children make mistakes in the conservation tasks.
One disadvantage of this approach is the ethical problems faced when researching
An example of this can be seen in the Bandura, Ross and Ross study. The
methodology seemed to teach young children to be aggressive.
Another disadvantage is that where children are studied over a long period of time, it
may be that researchers become more subjective.…read more
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The Social Approach
One advantage of this approach is that humans are social animals. People usually
surround us and psychologists need to understand how far other people influence us
in our behaviour.
An example can be seen in the Milgram study. Milgram demonstrated how people
were prepared to follow the orders of an authority figure.
Another advantage is that social psychology can also help us understand how we
behave when we are in groups.…read more
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One disadvantage of this approach is that the concept of abnormality is a highly
controversial issue. This type of research can create labels.
An example of this can be seen in the Rosenhan study. He asked the question: "Is
abnormality a characteristic of certain individuals or is it something that is perceived
because of the context they are seen in
Another disadvantage is that the individual approach to human behaviour may be