Approaches and Perspectives

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  • Created by: Hannah
  • Created on: 27-03-15 12:17

Individual Differences

Assumptions:

  • To study the differences between people, rather than those things that we all have in common.
  • Everyone is unique, and thus, different - therefore, making common laws about behaviour is not
  • Behaviour that deviates from the - People behave as individuals and exercise free will.
  • high ecological validity
  • Strengths:
    • All of the studies in the approach are high - Both types of data (quantative and qualitative) are used.
    • There are ethical issues in some studies (Thigpen & Cleckley)
  • Weaknesses:
    • Can ignore - Small samples and case studies - problems with generalisability - Rosenhan
    • The influence of the situation affecting behaviour e.g., Eve's problems
    • The studies have a lack of control over the environment.
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Developmental Approach

Assumptions:

  • Both experience and maturation influence behaviour (nature vs nurture debate)
  • Children and adults might think about the world in different ways (Piaget)
  • All behaviour in adulthood is affected by experiences in childhood (Freud)
  • Deprivation in childhood may lead to delayed or limited development
  • Children develop through a series of stages each building on the one before (Freud & Piaget)

Strengths

  • Easy to apply everyday life as you can see the effects of maturation on behaviours
  • Flexible and can adapt to people developments through life

Weaknesses

  • Some research is unethical
  • Mainly childhood development
  • Ignores individual differences and suggest behaviour is determined by upbringing and free will
  • Laboratory experiments have low ecological validity and case studies are hard to generalise
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Physiological Approach

Assumptions:

  • Our behaviour is the result of biological factors such a brain fuction, anatomy, and genetics
  • Behaviour can be explained and understood by studying the underlying biology

Strengths

  • Demonstrates a link between brain activity and cogntive processes
  • Uses highly controlled conditions and use specialised techniques
  • Contributes to nature/ nurture debate

Weaknesses

  • Psychometric tests have problems of reliability and validity
  • Case studies cannot be generalised
  • Some research ignore situational factors
  • May lead to social control
  • Determinism - research often correlation - no cause and effect
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Cogntive Approach

Assumptions

  • Mental processes can be scientifically studied to see how it shape behaviour
  • The brain stores, processes and retrives information like a computer

Strengths

  • High levels of control in laboratory experiment
  • Contributes to understanding the nature/nurture debate
  • May help understand those with cognitive problems and abilities of other species

Weaknesses

  • Some research may have low ecological validity
  • Tends to use quantitative rather than qualitative data
  • Cannot directly observe thinking can be reductionist
  • Does not account emotional factors affecting our behaviour
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Behaviourist

Assumptions

  • All behaviour is learnt in the same way as other behaviours
  • Humans born as bland slates
  • Behaviour is learnt as we develop through social learning and conditioning
  • Operant Conditioning - Learning through reinforcement
  • Classical Conditioning - Learning by association
  • Social Learning Theory -  Learning through others

Strengths

  • Scientific - observe and measure behaviour
  • focuses on here and now - does not focus on balance or complex issues

Weaknessess

  • Emphasis on "Nature" alone
  • ignores thoughts and emotions (biology)
  • Uses animals in experimental research - cannot generalise
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