Aqa Psychology B

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.3.1 Unit 1 PSYB1 Introducing Psychology
3.1.1 Key Approaches in Psychology Specification:
3.1.1 Key Approaches in Psychology The basic assumptions/distinguishing features of the
following
Approaches: biological; behaviourist; social learning theory; cognitive;
Psychodynamic and humanistic.
The research methods used within each approach.
Biological: the influence of genes; genotype and phenotype;
Biological structures; the evolution of behaviour.
Behaviourist: classical conditioning; operant conditioning.
Social Learning Theory: modelling; mediating cognitive factors.
Cognitive: the study of internal mental processes and the use of models to explain these
processes.
Psychodynamic: the role of the unconscious; psychosexual stages; the structure of
personality; defence mechanisms.
Humanistic: free will; concepts of self and self-actualisation conditions of worth.
The strengths and limitations of each approach. The strengths and limitations of research
methods used within each approach.

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Biological Approach
The basic assumptions of the biological approach are:
Behaviour and thought processes have an innate, biological basis
The mind and brain are the same
Human genes have evolved to adapt behaviour to the environment
Human characteristics e.g. intelligence are due to our genetic makeup
Key terms:
Chromosomes: Part of the cell that contains genetic information
Selective breeding: The artificial selection of male and female animals for a particular trait.
These animals are then put together to breed and produce offspring.…read more

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Outline one assumption of biological assumption in psycho logy?
2. Explain one strength and one limitation of the biological approach?
3. Suggest how sexual selection in humans may be explained in terms of evolutionary
processes?
Behaviourist
The basic assumptions of the behaviourist approach are:
Behaviour is learnt from the environment
Behaviour is determined by reinforcement or punishment of past learning
experiences.…read more

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Method: Albert was 11 months when the experiment was conducted. In the experiment, Watson
presented a white rat directly in front of Albert. When he reached for the rat, Watson would
simultaneously strike a metal bar with a hammer, thus creating a loud noise. This pairing of stimuli
occurred several times during a number of weeks.
Results: Watson found that when the rat alone was presented to Albert, he immediately became
frightened and showed an attempt to move away from the rat.…read more

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Summary Questions:
1. Describe one assumption of the behaviourist approach in psychology
2. What is meant by Law and Effect?
3. Explain one way in which the behaviourist approach has been applied in psychology?
4. Explain two limitations of the behaviourist approach in psychology
5. Jack is addicted to gambling. He visits his local betting shop every day. Although jack knows
that his gambling is destroying his marriage he can't stop himself because he regularly wins
money.…read more

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Key points:
Social learning theory takes into account the cognitive processes involved in learning
We can learn by observing others (role models) in our environment
There are four conditions necessary for effective modelling to occur, attention, retention,
motor reproduction and motivation
Social learning theory has been applied to many areas of psychology, for example gender
development
Bobo doll experiment (1960)
Bandura showed three-to-six year olds boys and girls a video in which children of a similar age were
shown to behave aggressively towards a `Bobo…read more

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The cognitive approach
The basic assumptions of this approach are:
Mental processes lie between the stimulus and response.
Humans are information processors
Humans actively organise and manipulate information from the environment
The mind operates in the same way as a computer-both encode store and output data.
Key terms:
Cognition: (comes from Latin) meaning `to know'
Artificial intelligence: the development of computer systems, or programs to mimic human
cognitive programming.…read more

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Strengths Weaknesses
The cognitive approach focuses on internal Cognitive models have been criticized as
mental processes, unlike behaviourism over-simplistic- ignoring the complexity of the
mind.
The approach uses scientific experimental Humans are viewed as machines with crude
methods, unlike humanistic psychologists comparison of the mind to a computer (software
and hardware)
Models such as the information processing Many cognitive theories are based on
approach have been effectively used to explain performance of artificial laboratory tasks
mental processes therefore unrepresentative of everyday
behaviours.…read more

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The Psychodynamic Approach
The basic assumptions of the approach are:
Unconscious processes, of which we are unaware determine our behaviour
Instincts, or drives motivate our behaviour and energise the mind
Childhood experiences determine adult personality
Personality has 3 parts: ID, EGO and SUPEREGO
Key terms:
Free association: a method used whereby patients are encouraged to talk freely about their
concerns and dreams so that the therapist can analyse any unconscious conflict.…read more

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Oral 0-18 Months An infant's pleasure centres around the mouth. The mothers
breast becomes the object of desire since feeding reduces
the infant's negative experience of hunger
Anal 18-36 Months The child gains pleasure from retention and expulsion of
faeces. During toilet training, the child can either please
parents by using the toilet, or defy parents by withholding it.
Phallic 3-6 Years The sexual instinct is focused on the genital area. Boys
experience the Oedipus complex and girls, Electra complex.…read more

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