Approaches in Psychology

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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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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 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 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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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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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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