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Social Learning Theory
Learning by observation and imitation
MAIN ASSUMPTIONS:
Behaviour is learned from other people's behaviour and imitating others.
Mental or cognitive processes are essential for learning to take place.
Strengths Limitations
SLT takes into account the cognitive SLT does not fully explain individual
processes that are involved in learning differences, that is to say what may be
perceived to be reinforcement for one
person may not be for another.
Social learning theorists use both SLT does not account for all behaviour.
experimental and non experimental
methods of research.
SLT has been applied to many areas of
psychology and has provided effective
explanations of behaviour.…read more

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Cognitive
We are ruled by our internal mental processes
MAIN ASSUMPTIONS:
The approach concentrates on the process and content of thinking; it studies
our internal mental processes.
Behaviour can be explained in terms of how the mind operates.
The cognitive approach looks at the role of cognitive factors, such as
thoughts, feelings, attitudes and beliefs on behaviour.
Strengths Limitations
The approach focuses on internal Cognitive models have been criticised
mental processes as over-simplistic and they ignore the
complexities of the minds.
The approach uses scientific, Humans are viewed as machines with
experimental methods the crude comparison of the mind as a
machine
Models such as the information
processing approach have been used to
explain mental processes…read more

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Humanistic
Humans are not machines
MAIN ASSUMPTIONS:
Humans should be viewed as a whole, and not reduced to component parts.
Humans are active agents-able to control and determine their own
development.
Humans strive towards achieving self-actualisation.
To be psychologically healthy, the real self and the ideal self must be
congruent.
Strengths Limitations
Humanistic psychologists view the Humanistic theories are hard to falsify.
person as an active agent, able to They lack predictive powers and are
control and determine their own therefore unscientific.
development.
Humanistic psychologists promote the In rejecting the use of the scientific
idea of personal responsibility-free will method, humanistic theories lack
as opposed to determininism. empirical support.
The subjective experience is of value Humanistic psychologists over-
and importance. emphasise the person's ability to
change and develop.
Person centred therapy is used by Individual emotions and consciousness
psychologists and counsellors in are difficult to study objectively.
therapy today.…read more

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Behaviourist
We are born a blank slate, we are shaped into the person we are by our social
world
MAIN ASSUMPTIONS:
Behaviour is learned from the environment through the priniples of classical and operant
conditioning.
Behaviour is determined by reinforcement or punishment.
Observable behaviour, not minds, should be studied
Psychology should investigate the laws of learning.
Strengths Limitations
Behaviourist's use of experimental The approach ignores all mental
research methods enhance the processes
credibility of psychology.
The approach gives the nurture side of The approach rejects the role of
the nature/nurture debate strong biological factors in human behaviour.
arguments.
The approach has provided many The approach views humans as being
practical applications and techniques passive learners, not active agents in
on how to shape behaviour. their own learning.
Classical and operant conditioning does
not account for spontaneous behaviour
Animals are used and laws of learning
are applied to them. Are we not more
complex than animals?…read more

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Biological
What is psychological is first physiological
MAIN ASSUMPTIONS:
Behaviour and thought processes have an innate, biological basis
The mind and the brain are the same
Human genes have evolved to adapt behaviour to the environment
Human characteristics are due to our genetic make up
Strengths Limitations
The biological approach uses scientific, The approach is reductionist. It explains
experimental procedures in its all thoughts and behaviours in terms of
investigations. the actions of nerves/chemicals
It provides strong arguments for the The approach is over-simplistic. It fails
nature side of the nature/nurture to fully appreciate the influence that
debate environmental factors can have on
behaviour
The approach has many useful The approach raises ethical issues.
applications…read more

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