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Discuss the holism and reductionism debate. Refer to at least one topic area you
have studied in psychology to illustrate your answer (12 marks)

Holism is the approach or belief that things can only be explained by
considering the whole rather than the constituent parts. This includes examining the

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methodology which is reducing complex behaviours to isolated variables which is a
useful strategy for conducting research. It underlies the experimental approach in
which behaviours are reduced to operationalised variables that can be manipulated to
determine causal relationships. Another is reductionism as an explanation; the best
explanations or theories are…

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election. A detailed biochemical and physiological examination will not be very
informative. Voting behaviour is determined by social attitudes, group pressures
rather than directly by underlying biochemical processes. Adopting a reductionist
explanation of behaviour often distracts attention away from other levels of
explanation. To dismiss human aggression as an inevitable…


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