Approaches in psychology PSYB4

This contains the psychodynamic, behaviourist, humanistic and cognitive approach with evaluation points for AO2

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The Psychodynamic Approach
Key Figures Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung
Main assumptions
All psychology is predetermined
The unconscious plays a very important role in motivating our
Childhood plays an important role in determining adult behaviour
Psychological determinism all behaviour is motivated, and the reasons we
behave in certain ways are unconscious.
The unconscious this was not a new idea, but before Freud, it was looked
at as a dumping ground for experiences that were no longer important. Freud
saw the unconscious as an active force, motivating much of our behaviour.
He included this in his concept of the structure of the mind.
Childhood Freud saw instinctual needs such as hunger, thirst and sex as
being very important sources of motivation at the same time however, he
thought that the social environment, which constrains the gratification of
these instincts, was crucial to a child's development.
The structure of the mind
Freud separated the mind into 3 areas:
The ID The id is present at birth. It is the seat of our instincts, and is
unconscious. It operates on the pleasure principle, in that it tries to
get immediate gratification and to avoid pain. It is the source of
psychic energy, the libido.
EGO This develops in childhood out of the id, as children learn that
immediate gratification is not always possible and that pain cannot
always be avoided. The ego works on the reality principle. It decides
what actions are appropriate, and which id impulses will be satisfied
and how. The ego tries to balance the demands of the id, the realities
of life, and the demands of the superego. Many ego processes are
conscious, but some are preconscious and others, especially the ego
defences we shall come to later, are unconscious.

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SuperegoThis consists of the values and morals of the child, and
develops around the age of five. It is the child's conscience and ego
ideal, a model of what the child would be like to be.
The forces of the superego are often in conflict with the id. The ego has the
job of balancing the two forces. This is not always possible. When conflict
arises the mind uses defence mechanisms to avoid anxiety and pain.…read more

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Recognisably adult sexual desires become apparent and mature feelings of
love come about.
If the child experiences frustration or gratification during any of these stages
Fixation can occur, this can show itself in adult life. E.g. anal stage fixation
can lead to being an anally retentive person, unusually tidy and organised.
Critical Evaluation
Freud's theories inspired more research and allowed psychology to
move on.…read more

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Pavlov's Dog Experiment
Pavlov found that the dog learned an association between the bell and
the food. Therefore when the bell rang in stage three the dog assumed
food was on the way and salivation was induced.
Watson's Little Albert Case Study
Watson and Raynor conditioned a fear in a young baby using classical
conditioning.…read more

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Differences between classical and operant conditioning
Classical Conditioning Operant Conditioning
Deals with involuntary behaviour Deals with voluntary behaviour.
Reinforcement strengthens Reinforcement strengthens the
conditioned response but is neutral it conditioned response and is either
works whether the human/animal likes positive or negative.
it or not.
The stimulus comes before the Reinforcement is always given after
conditioned response in each case. the voluntary behaviour has been
performed and either strengthens or
weakens behaviour.…read more

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Behaviourism ignores mental processes assuming all behaviour is
down to experience. (Contrast with cognitive)
It can be seen as too scientific, it dehumanises the subject and the
results can sometimes only demonstrate artificial rather than natural
The Humanistic Approach
Key Figures Carl Rogers
Main Assumptions
The main point of importance is the experiences of the being human.
With the focus on subjective experiences of the world.
It is a holistic approach.…read more

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Rogers believed that people are generally good, and had a generally
optimistic view of human nature, he was aware that we all have the capacity
for more negative behaviour. However he believed in the recognition of
choice. These choices depend on social conditioning. The presence of
social conditioning suggests that choices are not entirely free.…read more

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The development of the computer in the 50's and 60's allowed psychologists
a metaphor to which they could compare human mental processes.
The computer codes info, stores info, uses info and then produces and
output. Cog psychologists adopted this as a model of how human thought
Eye receives visual info and codes that info into neural activity, which
is fed back to the brain in an area called the visual cortex.…read more


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