Approaches to Psychology

The assumptions, strengths and weaknesses of the cognitive, developmental, social, individual differences, physiological, psychodynamic and behaviourist approaches

For OCR - behaviourist and psychodynamic perspectives are noted as approaches in A2

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  • Created on: 24-04-12 19:03
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A2 Psychology OCR G544
Cognitive Developmental
Assumptions: Assumptions:
Information received from our senses is processed by the brain and Cognitive, emotional and behavioural development is an ongoing
that this processing directs how we behave or at least justifies how process and that such changes result from an interaction of nature
we behave the way that we do. and nurture.
Interested in how the brain inputs, stores and outputs information.
Strengths Many of the studies are longitudinal which means that they do get to
Tends to use a scientific approach through the use of laboratory investigate changes and how these changes are influenced.
experiments Provide useful information about how we can better understand how
Useful contributions that have arisen children learn and deal with emotional difficulties and therefore
Able to provide a very sophisticated understanding of how the brain improve the lives of children.
processes information
Weaknesses Tends to generalise findings from often very limited samples. Often
Can only infer what a person is thinking and therefore the approach looks for general patterns of development based on non-
relies heavily on self-report measures and observation. representative samples
Takes a narrow focus and ignores social and emotional factors which Validity of measuring children's behaviours and thoughts. So are
may impact on cognition. psychologists measuring what they intend to measure?
Studies Studies
Loftus & Palmer Bandura et al
Baron-Cohen Samuel & Bryant
Savage-Rambaugh Freud
Ford & Widiger
Chamberlain & Zika
Gaab et al
Becker et al
Keating et al
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A2 Psychology OCR G544
Individual Differences Physiological
Assumptions: Assumptions:
To understand the complexity of human behaviour and experiences it Behaviour and experience can be explained by physiological changes
is necessary to study the differences between people rather than by investigating the brain, nervous system and other biological factors
those things we all have in common such as hormones
Strengths Strengths
Can provide useful information in improving the experiences of Uses sophisticated scientific equipment such as MRI scanners which
people with mental health problems provide an…read more

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A2 Psychology OCR G544
Social Behaviourist Perspective
Assumptions: Assumptions:
Behaviour is influenced by the actual, imagined or implied presence All behaviour is learned and shaped by the environment
of others
Strengths Development of useful applications. Offers very practical ways of
Attempt to use real-life situations. changing behaviour.
Makes useful applications as it can explain and even offer solutions to Emphasis on objective and scientific ways of studying behaviour.
problems in the real world
Weaknesses Ethical issues.
Ethical issues.…read more

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A2 Psychology OCR G544
Psychodynamic Perspective
All behaviour has a cause. All behaviour is determined
Highlighted importance of childhood
Use of case studies gains information over a period of time
Unscientific. Lacks empirical support.
Too deterministic. Rejects free-will.…read more


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