Approaches in Psychology

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The Humanistic Approach- Evaluations

It is not reductionist- Humanism places importance on the whole person

Limitied application- Not a comprehensive theory but loos set of concepts

Positive approach - Optimistic approach that sees people as basically good.

Cultrual bias- It is representitive of western culture where individualism is emphasised, the Eastern world is more collective and therefore it is a victim of the culture the theory was developed in.

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The Psychodynamic Approach

Freud suggested that the part of the mind that we know of and are aware exisits is known as the consious mind and is considered as just the tip of the iceberg. Most of our mind is mad up of the unconsious, which contains biological drives that has a significant influence on our behvaiour and personality. The unconsious contains threatening and disturbing memories that have been repressed. above the unconscious there is the preconcious which we are aware of due to dreams or through paraprexs which are splips of the tounge e.g. calling a techer mum instead of miss.

The structure of the personality- this is composed of three parts. The ID: Primative part of our personality, Pleasure principle (seething mass of unconcious drives). The ID is only present at birth. Selfish and demands instant gratification of needs. The Ego: Reality princeple, mediatior between the ID and the superego, develops around the age of two and its role is to reduce conflict between the ID and superego, it does this by employing  a number of defence mechanisms (Repression, Denial, Displacement). The superego: formed at the end of the phalic stage (5 years) internal sense of right or wrong. Morality principle, represent the moral princeple of the childs same-sex parents and punishes the ego for wrongdoing through guilt.

Psychosexual stages: Oral(0-1years), Anal(2-3years), Phalic(4-5years), Latency, Genital(puberty).

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Origins of Psychology

Wundt and Introspection: Wundt's Lab-First Psychology Lab in Leipzig(1879), introduced structuralism (Recording their thoughts to break them down into constituent parts, therefore, isolating the structure of consciousness).

Controlled Methods- Standardised instructions made the procedures replicable. All introspections were recorded in extremely controlled conditions using the same stimulus of a ticking metronome.

Early Philosophical roots- Descartes-Suggested the mind and body are different from each other'I think therefore I am', Locke- proposed empiricism which means all experiences can be obtained through the senses, Darwin- The theory of evolution, adaptive genes, survival of the fittest rooted in the biological approach.

The Emergence of Psychology as a science: Watson and the early behaviourist- Rejection of introspection

Scientific approach- Behaviourism, the cognitive revolution, the Biological approach, cognitive neuroscience.

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Structure and Functions of Neurons: Types of Neurons- Sensory(Carries message from PNS to CNS.The structure of them are Long dendrites and short axon.) Relay (they interconnect the sensory neuron with appropriate motor neuron.They have short dendrites and axon) and Motor (connects the CNS to effectors, short dendrites, and long axons) neurons.

 The structure of a neuron- Cell body contains the nucleus, has dendrites, Axon covered in myelin sheath divided by nodes of Ranvier.

Electrical Transmission- Positive charge leads to action potential

Synaptic Transmission:Synapse- Terminal buttons at the synapse, Pre-synaptic vesicles release neurotransmitters.

Neurotransmitters- Postsynaptic receptor site links to dendrites of adjoining neuron. specialist functions e.g. Acetylcholine for muscle contraction.

Excitation or Inhibition- Adrenaline(Neurotransmitters) is excitation causing excitation of the postsynaptic neuron making it increasingly positively charged making it more likely to fire off and Serotonin(Neurotransmitters) is Inhibitory making the neuron become increasingly negatively charged and therefore less likely to fire off.

Psychotherapeutic drugs- SSRIs increase serotonin activity. 

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The Humanistic Approach

This approach isn't like the other as it isn't determist. All of the other approaches believe that to some degree that our behaviour is partly infleucned by things are are beyond our control. However the humanistic approach believes that humans are self-determine and has free will. This doesn't mean that people aren't affected by internal or external factors but we are active agents who can determin our our own development. Thus rejecting scientific models to establish principles of human behaviours, as each human is unique and therefore have a subjective experience -Centred approach in psychology-.

Self-Actualisation: Everyone has an innate tendency to want to reach their full potential.

The self, Congruene and conditions of worth: Personal growth requires congurence between self and ideal self.

Hierarchy of needs: Maslow identified physiological deficiency needs to be satisfied before safety and self-actualisation.

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The Nervous system:Central Nervous System(CNS)- Brain,Outer layer is called the Cerebral cortex which is highly developed and separates Humans from Animals, it is also divided into two hemispheres(Left side is more academic while the Righ is more creative) and spinal cord which passes messages to and from the brain and connects with the PNS.

Peripheral Nervous System (PNS)- Autonomic Nervous System-Governs essential functions such as breathing, digesting,heart rate e.c.t. Sympathetic-Use energy in response to a stress signal received from the brain(hypothalamus)

Parasympathetic-Stores energy for future use, Maintain body's balance after stress response, active during times of rest and relaxation.Somatic Nervous System controls muscle movement and receives information from sensory neurons(Body).

The Endocrine System:Glands and Hormones- Hormones secreted into the bloodstream e.g the thyroid gland produces thyroxine which stimulates growth in the body. The pituitary gland is the master gland which is located in the Brain. Hypothalamus(CRH)~Pituitary gland(ACTH)~Adrenal cortext~Stress Hormone Corticosteroid.

Fight/Flight: Sympathetic arousal: Pituitary~ACTH~Adrenal gland~Adrenaline~Noradrenaline~Heart pumps blood (SAM Pathway) Automatic changes include increase alertness,Increase in blood sugars and fats and also Heart rate increases


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The Learning Approach: Social Learning Theory

Assumptions- Observable, Basic Process, same in all species.

Vicarious Reinforcement- Observation leads to imitation if behaviour is vicariously reinforced (Bobo doll experiment)

Mediational Processes- Attention, Retention, Motivation(whether punished or rewarded), Reproduction.

Identification-More likely to imitate role models you identify with (Same gender)

Evaluations: Cognitive factors in learning- More comprehensive account of learning.

Evidence from lab studies- Demand characteristics and low validity

Underestimates the influences of biology- Aggression, involves hormonal factors e.g. testosterone(Boy's often more agressive than girls). 

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The Cognitive Approach

Assumptions- Internal mental processes can be studied through inference.

Theoretical and Computer models- Information processing approach(Multi-store model). The mind is like a computer and applied to artificial intelligence.

The role of schema- Beliefs and expectation affect thoughts and behaviour. Innate or learned(Coding). Mental Short-cut, leads to perceptual errors.(Bugelski and Alampay,1962-The Rat-man)

The emergence of cognitive neuro-science-Biological structures links to mental states e.g. Broca. Brain imaging (e.g FMRI) used to read the brain.

Evaluations: Scientific and objective methods- Lab experiments to produce reliable, objective data. Credible basis.

Machine reductionism- Ignores the influence of emotion, for example, anxiety and EWT (Eyewitness testimony)

Application to everyday life- Abstract and overly theoretical. Artificial Stimuli(Lacks external validity).

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The Psychodynamic Approach- Evaluations

The psychodynamic approach can be considered contriversial however it has had a huge influence in the field of psychology and contempary western thought. The psychodynamic approach as well as behaviourism was a dominant force for the first half of the 20th centery and has been used to explain a wide range of issues including personality developement, abnormal behaviour, moral development. This approach is also significant in drawing attention to the connection between experiences in childhood such as our relationship with our parents and later developments.

The case study method- Freuds method was based on the study of single individuals who were often in therapy such as little Hans. Although Freuds observations were detailed and carefully recorded, critics argued that it is impossible to make universal claims about humans based on the studies of a small number of  psychological abnormal people. Furthermore his interpretaions were extreamly subjective such as the case of little Hans it is impossible that others would draw the same conlcusions. - Lack objectivity and scientific accuracy-.

Untestable concepts- scentists argue that the psychodynamic approach does not meet the scientific crierion of falsification as it is not open to emperical testing. Most of his ideas happen at the unconscious level and therefore impossible to test, which could make it seem as if it is a fake science.

Freud believed that there is no such thing as an accident in relation to human behaviour. Even something such as the slip of the tounge is driven by the unconsious forces and have deep symbolic meaning. The psychodynamic approach explains all behaviours even acidents and behaviour rooted in childhood such that any free will we may think we have is an illusion.

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The Learning Approach: Behaviourism

The Behaviourist Approach: Assumption- Observable,Basic Process same in all species.

Classical Conditioning(Pavlov)- Association of Neutral Stimulus(NS) with Unconditioned stimulus(NCS) to produce new Conditioned stimulus(CS) and Conditioned Response(CR). e.g. Pavlov Dog's he used the bell as an NS, the food as UCS(makes dog salivate). Before he feeds the Dog he rings the bell then brings the food which causes the dog to salivate.Repeating this the Bell becomes a CS because the Dog knows when he hears the bell he is going to get food so he automatically salivates(CR). 

Operant Conditioning(Skinner)- Positive/Negative Reinforcements&Punishments.conducted experiments on rats in specially designed cages (Skinner boxes) every time the Rat activated the lever within the box it was rewarded food. This caused the Rat to continue this behaviour.

Evaluation: Scientific Credibility- Objectivity and replication helped create psychology as a science.

Real-life application- Token economy used in prisons.Focuses on the here and now e.g. treating phobias.

Mechanistic- Humans are passive responders, mental events not included

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The Biological Approach

Assumptions- Biological Processes:Genes, Neurochemistry, and the Nervous system.

Genetic basis of behaviour- Twin studies, used to determine the likelihood that certain traits have a genetic basis by comparing the concordance rates (the extent that twins share the same characteristics) Identical twins have higher concordance rates than non-identical twins.

Genotype and Phenotype- Interaction between nature(Genotype) and Nurture(Phenotype)

Evolution and Behaviour- The natural selection of genes based on survival value and, ultimately, reproductive success.

Evaluation: Scientific Methods- Precise techniques, such as scanning techniques(FMRI), Family studies, drug trials. 

Real Life application- Psychotherapeutic drugs due to the increased understanding of biochemical processes in the brain which have led to the development of Psychoactive drugs to treat mental illnesses such as depression.

Cannot separate Nature and Nurture- Important confounding variable in twins.They are also exposed to similar conditions which mean that findings could be also supporting nurture rather than nature.

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