Approaches AS+A2



  • Nearly all behaviour is learnt
  • Animals and humans learn in same ways
  • Cant directly observe/measure a persons thinking

Two types of conditioning: 

  • Classical- Pavlov and dogs. Learning through assosiations. UCS-UCR, UCS with/bell -UCR, CS-CR     Pavlov suggested this learning can be applied to human development. 
  • Operant- B.F.Skinner and rats. Learn from consequences of actions, positive and negative reinforcement. Positive= when something desirable is given as a response to doing something whereas  Negative= something undesirable is avoided by doing something.

Eval - Animals= cant generalise to humans, also Unethical. Genetics can also influence and limit what different species can learn from conditioning

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Behaviourism - Social learning theory

Developed by Bandura, agrees with conditioning however claims people learn alot through role models. 

Learnt through different processes. 

  • Modelling - Involves observing and imitating model, also identification with the person, if you identify you can copy and learn from their behaviour
  • Reinforcement -Poitive and Negative makes behaviour more likely to happen again 
  • Vicarious Rienforcement - Someone will repeat or duplicate others behaviour when they see they are rewarded for it

These learnt behaviours then become effective after a meditational process happens

  • Attention. To learn you have to pay attention 
  • Retention. You also need to remember to be able to model it
  • Reproduction. Judge whether you have ability to reproduce behaviour
  • Motivation. Evalutes the results of imitating behaviour
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Behaviourism - Social learning theory- CASE

Bandura et al

36 girls, 36 boys mean age of 52 months. Matched participant design.                                         3 conditions- First children obsereved agressive adult models playing with bobo doll for example hitting it with mallet.Second group obsereved non agressive models playing with other toys and ignoring the doll. Third group was a control condition where there was no exposure to the models. Childrens behaviour was then obsereved for 20 mins in a room containing a bobo doll, a mallet (agressive toys) and toys like a tea set and crayons (non-agressive toys)

Results - Group one, imitated alot of agressive behaviour.   Group two and three showed barely any agressive behaviour.

Conc - agressive behaviour is learnt through imitation of others behaving agressively

Eval - Supports social learning theory. There was strict conrol of the variables making the results likely to be reliable and the study can be replicated

However low ecological validity, also difficult to generalise, all from the same school.

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Explains behaviour through our cognitive process, all about HOW we think. Looks at our attention, perception, memory and language. 

The mind works like a computer:

Both the human system and computer system work on a data input, process, output.             Shown in computer = info in via keyboard (data input) - Computer processor - info output on moniter (data output) with signals being passed through wires.                                           Shown in human = info in via senses (data input) - brain - info passed back out for action (data output) with signals being passed through neurons

Differences =

  • Humans can be emotionally and motivationally influenced. 
  • Humans have unlimited capacity but unreliable memory compared to computers which have limited but reliable memory
  • Humans also have free will 
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Cognitive continued

Schemas - All the info you know about an object, action or concept. Help to organise and interpret info. There are three types: 

  • Role Schema- Ideas about the behaviour expected from someone in a certain role. Eg. schema for doctor might be intelligent, respectable and sensible.
  • Event Schema- Also called scripts, info about what happens in a certain situation. Eg at a restaurant you know you usually need to read a menu and place an order.
  • Self Schema- Info about ourselves based on personalitiy, physical characteristics as well as beliefs and vaules. 

Problems- can stop poeple from learning new info and prejudice and stereotypes can be an outcome of schemas.

Strengths of cognitive approach = Considers mental process which are overlooked in the other approaches. Big influence on the development of therapied eg. CBT 

Weaknesses = Research usually artificial, some argue the results arent valid in real world. Fails to take individual differences into account. 

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3 basic assumptions: 

  • Behaviour explained by biological stuff eg. hormones, genetics, evolution and nervous system.
  • In theory if we can explain behaviour by biological causes then unwanted behaviour can be modified or removed using biological treatments. 
  • Uses research with animals because we share alot of biological similarities.

Genotype = Genes they are born with. Phenotype = The characteristics the genes produce, eg. hair colour, eye colour. 

Bilogical psychologists reckon genetics explain psychological traits, things such as gender differences, intelligence, personality. Also study genetics to see which genes make people more likely to develop mental illness of addictions. Twin/adoption studies are useful for this

  • Twin studies = indentical (MZ) share 100% of genes, non identical (DZ) share 50%.          Case: Gottesman - found schizophrenia has strong genetic basis, not 100%
  • Adoption studfies = Also provided evidence for schizophrenia; Heston
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Freud's theory, three main assumptions are: 

  • Unconcious forces in our mind determine thoughts feelings and behaviour
  • Behaviour is strongly influenced by childhood experiences
  • From birth humans have a need to fulfil basic biologic motivations eg, food/sleep/warmth

Levles of consciousness. 

  • Conscious - Any mental activity that we are aware of, what we see/hear/smell 
  • Preconscious - Memories that are not always in our concious however we can recall them, phone numbers, what we did at the weekend
  • Unconscious - Part of the mind we cant access. Memories desires and fears which cause us extreme anxiety and therefore been repressed to our unconcsious. However this can still influence behaviour, eg 'Freudian slips' and dreams.

How to bring unconscious to conscious- Dream analysis, repressed ideas more likely to appear in dreams than being awake. Latent and maniseft content. Also Free Assosiation with words. 

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Psychodynamic continued

3 parts of personality, ID, EGO, SUPER-EGO. 

ID= Instinct part, born with it, wants to be satisfied whenever possible, instant gratification, needs are hunger, thirst and sex. Operates on 'pleasure principle'

EGO= Represents conscious, develops around 2/3 yrs. Purpose is to balance the ID, acts rationally and logicall. Operates on 'Reality principle' 

SUPER EGO= Both conscious and unconscious, develops around 5/6, takes morals into consideration and makes us feel guilt. There is two parts, conscience which tells us what we should do and the ego ideal which tells us what we should do. Conscience makes us feel guilt whereas ego ideal makes us feel proud. 

Defence Mechanisms: Repression- forcing distressed memory from conscious. Denial - refusing to belive something due to it being to painful to acknowldge reality. Displacement - Negative impulse directed onto something else, could be another perosn or object. 

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Freuds stages of development


ORAL- 0-18months. focus of libido is mouth, sucking, breat fed. explore with mouths. Healthy develop= Being weaned (liquids to foods). Fixation= bite nails, overeats, smoke.

ANAL- 1-3yrs. Focus of libido is anus, pooing is source of pleasure. Expulsive/Retentive. Healthy develop= Potty training. Fixation= Expulsive = messy, thoughtless. Retentive = Tidy, stubborn.

PHALLIC- 3-6yrs. Focus of libido is genitals, Oedipus complex= boys fancy mums, scared dad will find out and cut off penis. Electra complex = girls get penis envy, see mother as rival, over comes it and identifies with her. Replaces penis envy with desire for baby. (LITTLE HANS)                     Healthy develop= gender identification. Fixation= reckless, homosexual 

LATENT- 6-puberty. Repress sexual urges, channelled into sports/hobbies. Focus on developing friendships 

GENITAL- Puberty-Adults. Develop healthy adult relationships. Fixation= Become homosexual.

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Focus on individual, person as a whole (Hollism). People are driven to achieve full potential in life. Less deterministic approach. 

Maslow's Hierachy of needs - Humans motivated to achieve self actualisation. In order to achieve must work way up heirachy. From basic needs to saftey to belonging to self esteem to cognitive to aesthetic. When you reach the top = strong sense of self awareness, creative, fully accepting of views

Rodgers Self worth + congruence. 

Children have 2 basic needs, positive regard+self worth. 

Unconditional positive reagrd is where parent loves child for who they are rather than what they do results in positive self worth.   Condtional positive regard is where parent love and relationship depends on childs behaviour, will love them but with conditioned rules results is low self worth. 

Congruence is where their self image and their ideal self is closely linked, they will have congruence which leads to healthy sense of well being. This idea has been developed in therapy, Client centred therapy. 

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