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The biological approach/Medical model

Key features (assumptions)
This is a physical approach
Behaviour caused by the body's physiological process such as the
nervous system (e.g. brain)
Abnormality is seen as an `illness' (based on the disease model).
Mental illness has a physical or organic cause (e.g. damaged brain
structure or…

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Strengths and weakness of the biological
approach (medical model)

Strengths
Modern brain scanning techniques have helped to support a link
between abnormal levels of brain chemical (neurotransmitter) and
disorders such as depression and schizophrenia.

Research into genetics such as family and twin studies have
supported the existence of a possible…

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The difference between biological
approaches and psychological approaches

Biological approaches assume that the body is the cause of disorders
and that it can be cured by modifying the body's chemicals or performing
a surgery. It also supports the idea of nature rather than nurture.

The psychological approaches assume that environmental,…

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The psychodynamic approach

Key features (assumptions)
Behaviour is the result of complex (dynamic) interactions between
conscious and unconscious process (e.g. Freud)
The personality (psyche) is made of 3 elements
Abnormality results when there is a state of imbalance in the 3
elements of the psyche usually as the result of…

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Another key element in Freud's psychoanalytic theory of normal and
abnormal behaviour is psychosexual development. This consists of the:
o Oral stage ­ This lasts from birth to 18 months. Id
impulses are satisfied by feeding, and so the mouth is the
focus of this stage. Activities are sucking initially,…

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Over reliance on defence mechanisms due to underlying anxiety (e.g.
repression, displacement) which are used to protect the conscious
self
Fixation on an erogenous zone at a particular stage of psychosexual
development can result in abnormal behaviours.
Unresolved Oedipus or Elektra complex.

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Strengths and weaknesses of the
psychodynamic approach

Strengths
It is supported by Ainsworth (Pg58) that early childhood influences
adult behaviour
Helped people understand abnormality. This can see seen as the
language used to describe it, is now used in normal everyday
language.
Helped create other psychodynamic models

Weaknesses
Over emphasises…

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Behavioural approach

Key features (assumptions)
This is a nurture rather than nature approach.
All behaviours are learned by:
o Classical conditioning:
Association
Links with phobia
Watson and Rayner (1920) ­ stimulus generalisation
o Operant conditioning:
Positive reinforcement ­ increase behaviour
Negative reinforcement ­ increases behaviour
Punishment ­ decrease behaviour
Depression…

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