Origins of psychology

Lab in Lepzig in 1875. He focused on the aspects of the mind that could be observd and measured in conrolled conditions. He used introspection (descirbe own thoughts and feelings). Ptps exposed to stimuli and then asked to explain sensations (e.g. light). 


  • use of scientific methods (empiricle observable evidence)
  • outline first models of cog appraoch 

- Watson: too subjective. Watson studied stimulus-response behaviours 

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Classical Conditioning

come on babes u know this already, heres some applications:

  • Two process model of phobias
  • Learning theory of attachent 


- ignores role of biology, suggest every behaviour is due to stimulus-response 

- ignores role of cognition/ thought processes

+ researh in labs, so reliable due to controls 

+ classical conditioning used to develop therapies for conditions such as sytematic desensitisation

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Operant conditioning

Skinner: rats in a cage that delivered food when a lever was pressed. Variation: shocker under the feet until the lever was pressed, found that rats learned which would provide the most positive consequence. 

Positive (adding) negative (removing)

Reinforcement (reward) Punishment (punishment)

- skinners work may not be generalisable to humans 

- breaches ethics as caused harm to adults 

+ evidence suggetss a good way to learn e.g. schools use it to shape students behaviour 

+ token economies have been shown to reduce problem behvaiours such as criminality and aggression.

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Social Learning Theory

Mediational processes:

  • Attention 
  • Retention 
  • Motivation
  • Reproduction

Vicarious reiforcment, models, identification 

Bandura: childs reaction to agression with a bobo doll

- SLT ignore role of biological processes

- most SLT evidence is from labs, so not always ecologically valid or realistic 

+ accepts role of cognition in aggressive behaviour 

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Cognitive Approach

1. Internal processs can be studied in labs by inferring the actions of the mind by behaviour 

2. Human minds work like a computer, input from senses and output in behaviour.

Schema: cognitive frameworks that allow for interpretation of input, they help make predictions about new situatins. 

Computer models: e.g. MSM of memory

sensory information (input)  ----> mental processing----------> perceptions, behvaiours etcm(output)

Cognitive neuroscience: the study of how the brain in involved in mental processes. Brain scanning such as fMRI allows us to see how the brain functions while behvaiour are performed.

- reductionist, ignores emotions 

+ highly scientific, controlled lab research

+ useful applications 

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Biological approach

1. Nervous system control 

2. Genetics

3. Chemicals: neurotranmitters and hormones 

Genotype, phenotypes

MZ and DZ twins 


- doest take into account influence of environment 

- deterministic

+ highly scientific and falsafiable 

+ many practical applications 

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Psychodanimc approach

The unconsious influences our behvaiours. (Ice burg theory) 

1. Repression: the diversion of 'unacceptable' information 

2. Denial: refusal to accept reality

3. Displacement: projection of emotions onto something or someone else 

Id: primitive desires, demands gratification (from birth)

Ego: mediator between id and reality, gets ids desire but in a socially acceptable way  (2-3)

Superego: consious and ego-ideal, guilt principle (3-6)

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Psychodynamic 2

Psychosexual stages of development:

Oral: 0-2 years, mouth, gratification from feeding, Id, smoking 

Anal: 2-3, gratification from pooping, ego, 

Phallic: 3-6, genitals, Oedipus or electra, superego develops

Latenct: 6-12, relatinship focus, conflicts of previous stages repressed

Genital: 12+, sexual energy focused to partners 

- sexist and androcentric 

- ethnocentric to western culture

+ first talking cure for pschological disorders

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Humanistic psychology

Focuses on the subjective experince of being a human, considers everythings and practises non-reductionism. We have freenwill and are self-aware of our actions. 

Maslows hierchay of needs


                                               Esteem                      Esteem 

                                   Love                                                      Love 

                           Safety                                                                 Safety

                Physiological                                                                        Physiological

Self-actualisation: achieving your highest potential as a human

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Humanistic therapy

Conditions of worth: according to this, growth in childooh is hindered by conditional positive regard i.e only being praised when  a child succeeds at school. Conditional positive regard limits the potential for slef-actualisation.

By therapist performing unconditional positive regard through client-centred therapy, the client is accpeted for themselves. The therpist must create situations whee the ;client will succeed.

Rogers: proposed there are three 'shelves' needd in order to achive self positive regard, the aim of therapy is to explore the inequalities between the shelves. To be self actualised, the three shelves should remain congruent. 

1. The self-concept (the self you think you are)

2. The ideal self (who you want to be)

3. The real self (who you actually are)

- culturally biased towards indivdualist cultures

- hard to test scientifically as its experinces are subjective

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