synoptic toolkit IDA fulfillment

everything to do with general synopticity for psychology A

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Synoptic Toolkit for A2 Psychology (AQA)
In A2 psychology, an understanding of synoptic issues and debates is an essential part of the evaluative material.
Each approach sees human beings in a particular way
Each approach therefore presents a different model of human behaviour.
The guiding metaphor sums up how the approach sees the human being.
Biological approach:
Guiding metaphor: The human is a biological machine ­ all behaviour is down to physiological
factors and biological processes.
Provides clear predictions
Hypothesis can be easily tested
Reductionist (see below) ­ biological processes are rarely the whole story. Genes
may predispose an individual to a behaviour but there must be social factors too as
identical twins don't always show identical behaviour.
Psychodynamic approach:
Guiding metaphor: children and icebergs ­ behaviour stems from childhood experiences and the hidden
motivations for behaviour (the tip of the iceberg is the conscious and that below the water is the
Recognises the importance of unconscious factors and the complexity of behaviours and
Difficult to clarify ­ people may deny disliking someone but Freud would say they are
just repressing the feeling of dislike, which may not be the case.
Behavioural approach
Guiding metaphor: blank slate ­ the human starts off as a blank slate and all behaviour is learned in
response to external stimuli.
Clear predictions
Explanations can be easily tested
Reductionist Partial account ­ totally ignores genes, emotions and higher level
motivation (morals)
Cognitive approach:
Guiding metaphor: computer ­ the human is an information processor.
Lends itself to research because the explanations produce hypothesis that are easy to
Overly mechanistic ­ lacking social and emotional factors
Evolutionary Approach:
Guiding metaphor: humans are adaptive, natural selection, differences largly due to genetic variation
Explains human behaviours that are no longer adaptive in modern society.

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Fails to acknowledge cultural influences on behaviour
o Bias is important because most research shows some sort of bias ­ it is a great evaluation point
o A lot of research is done in cultures where the male experience is seen as correct and the best.
o Objectivity can never be achieved because each psychologist sees the participant in relation to
their own gender, values and culture ­ this influences the way the research is carried out and
must be evaluated.…read more

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How to avoid it?
Greater use should be made of research carried out in the culture by members
of that culture
Cross cultural research should be encouraged
o Gender bias
o Set of moral guidelines used by a group of professionals
o Committee ­ review all research to approve that a study will be ethical before it begins, follow
guidelines. They can prevent unethical studies from going ahead.…read more

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The ethics committee must decide if the benefits of the experiment to society are worth
the cost to the participants in terms of psychological harm.
For example, research into the effects of violent games on kids could have a huge
impact on society so allowing children to view the games is worth the cost to the
participant in terms of making them aggressive.…read more


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