Approaches

  • Created by: amm242
  • Created on: 08-05-18 15:01

Origins of psychology

Introspection - First systematic experimental attempt to study the mind by breaking up concious awareness into thoughts, images and sensations (structuralism)

Introspection rejected - Subjective, varies from person to person, cannot be observed

Standardised procedures - Same instructions for everyone allows replication

Scientific procedures - Inferences made from tests in highly controlled lab experiments

Biological methods - scanning techniques to see brain activity and genetic research 

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Evaluation 1

P = Some of Wundt's methods are not scientific

E = Relient on self-reports of private mental processes.  Also thoughts vary so general laws cannot be established.

E = Too subjective and not predictive as a science should be.

L = Do not meet today's scientific criteria.

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Evaluation 2

P = Modern psychology is quite scientific

E = Same aims as natural sciences - to describe, understand and predict

E = Learning, cognitive & biological approaches rely on scientific methods eg. lab studies

L = Methods are typical of natural science so it's fairly scientific

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Behaviourism approach

  • Studies behaviour that can be directly observed
  • Uses controlled lab studies 
  • Environment and experience effects behaviour (classical/operant conditioning)

Classical conditioning (Pavlov) - Learning through association

Dogs can be conditioned to salivate (UCR) at the sound of a bell by food (UCS) becoming associated with bell (NS).  Bell becomes CS and salivating becomes CR.

Operant conditioning (Skinner) - Maintenance of behaviour

  • Postive reinforcement - rewarding good behaviour to encourage it
  • Negative reinforcement - avoiding unpleasant consequence so behaviour is encouraged
  • Punishment - unpleasant consequence to discourage bad behaviour
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Evaluation 1

P = Gave psychology scientific credibility

E = Careful measurement of observable behaviour in controlled lab setting

E = Important scientific processes used eg. objectivity, replication, etc.

L = Scientific methods being used in psychology give it more credibility as a science

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Evaluation 2

P = Environmental determinism

E = All behaviour is determined by past experience so ignores free will

E = Sense of decision making is an illusion - all down to past experience (Skinner)

L = Very extreme view - ignores all cognitive processes

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Evaluation 3

P = Animal research has ethical issues

E = High control is kept over subjects eg Skinner's box

E = Animals exposed to stressful conditions which can influence response

L = Validity of results is questionnable

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Social-learning theory

Learning occurs indirectly in social contexts through observation and imitation.

Vicarious reinforcement - Behaviour of others is observed and it's consequences are taken note of.  Rewarded behaviour is more likely to be copied.

Mediational processes - Attention, retention, motor reproduction, motivation.  First two relate to learning, last two to performance

Identification - children imitate behaviour of role models

Bandura's research

Children watched adult's behaving aggressively or non-aggressively to Bobo dolls, being either punished, rewarded or no consequence. Children who saw aggressive adults behaved aggressively towards own dolls.  Children who saw that rewarded behaved much more aggressively. 

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Evaluation 1

P = Importance of cognitive factors

E = Classical/operant conditioning alone aren't a full enough explanation

E = Information is stored about others so we can make our own judgements

L = More complete explanation

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Evaluation 2

P = Evidence from controlled lab study

E = Highly controlled conditions lead to demand characteristics

E = Children will behave as they believe is expected

L = Tells little about how children really learn 

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Evaluation 3

P = Underestimates biological factors

E = Boys consistently showed more aggression to Bobo doll than girls

E = Differences in testosterone affect behaviour

L = Not all factors are considered.

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Cognitive approach

Contrasts behaviourism - mental processes are studied

Inference - mental processes are private and can't be observed, so assumptions have to be made

Theoretcial models - information processing approach describes mental processes eg. multi store model

Computer models - human mind and computer are similar - processors, codes and storing information.

Schema - mental framework of beliefs that influence cognitive processing - developed from experience.  Born with simple motor schema.

Cognitive neuroscience - brain scanning technology shows influence of brain structures on mental processes and neurological bases of some disorders.

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Evaluation 1

P = Uses scientific and objective methods

E = Controlled study methods (lab studies)

E = Joins biology and psychology (cognitive neuroscience)

L = Studying the mind has a very scientific basis

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Evaluation 2

P = Based on machine reductionism

E = Comparisons made between human mind and computers

E = Emotion influences accuracy of recall - computer analogy doesn't consider this

L = Ignores important aspects that influence behaviour

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Evaluation 3

P = Research lacks external validity

E = Inference has to be used so too abstract and theoretical

E = Artificial stimuli eg. remembering numbers or letters is not realistic

L = Not generalisable to real cognitive processing

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Biological approach

All human behaviour is influenced by genes, neurochemistry or the nervous system.

Behaviour is inherited or effected by levels of neurochemicals

Twin studies show concordance rate between psychological characteristics being shared 

Genotype - Genetic make-up

Phenotype - Way genes are expressed - influenced by environment

eg. PKU is a genetic disorder that can be prevented by a restricted diet

Theory of evolution - genetically determined behaviour that increases survival and reproduction will be passed on to future generations eg. attachment behaviour

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Evaluation 1

P = Scientific investigation methods

E = Uses scanning techniques and drug trials

E = Accurate measurements made of biological/neural processes

L = Based on reliable data

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Evaluation 2

P = Real-life application

E = Understanding of biochemical processes allows development of psychoactive drugs

E = Revolutionised treatment of psychological disorders

L = Sufferers can lead relatively normal lives

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Evaluation 3

P = Determinist view

E = Behaviour determined by biological processes we have no control over

E = Problem in court as criminals would not be responsible if they possessed 'criminal gene'

L = Negative impact on society

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