Approaches: Origins

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Wilheim Wundt (1832-1920)

  • Founders of Psychology
  • Believed all aspects of the mind can be studied scientifically
  • Created "Experimental Psychology" in 1879
  • Aimed to study the - Structure of the mind, thoughts ans sensations and break them down into basic elements (Structuralism)
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  • Method of data collection
  • Observing/Describing inner thoughts, feelings and sensations
  • In terms of intensity, duration and quality
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Hypothetico-Deductive Model (OTTR)

  • OBSERVATION - Made of the phenomena in the world e.g. someone punching a wall after playing a violent video game
  • THEORY - Developed to explain observation and a hypothesis is developed in line with the theory
  • TEST - Hypothesis is tested using empirical methods
  • RESULTS - Results are analysed to evaluate if it supports the hypothesis or not
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  • FALSIFIABLE - All theories must be disproved, if not it's not scientific
  • REPLICABLE - When repeating there must be consistent findings (achieved by standardised procedures) if consistent it's reliable
  • OBJECTIVE - When researchers don't let their own ideas/biases influence the collection of data (achieved by observable/measurable concepts)
  • GENERAL LAWS - Using evidence to develop basic generalisable principles about behavior that applies to everyone (A deterministic approach thats says all behaviour has causes)
  • SYSTEMATIC - Evidence of recordings e.g. introspection tasks - carried out in a controlled manner with direct observationa
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  • 1861 - Paul Broca
  • 1879 - William Wundt
  • 1886 - Sigmund Freud
  • 1913 - Watsona and Skinner
  • 1950 - Rodgers and Maslow
  • 1960 - Cognitive Rev - Computers
  • 1960 - Albert Bandura
  • 1980 - Biological Approach
  • 21st - Cognitive Neuroscience
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  • Modern Researchers have used introspection successfully - Hunter et al (2003) used introspection on teenagers to identify what makes them happy or unhappy during the day. 


  • Highly subjective - introspection introduces personal opinion/beliefs. Trying to create general laws about causes of behaviour would be limited, Lack of numeral data. Nowadays brain scans FMRI are more objective
  • Lacks Validity/Accuracy - Introspection tasks are artificial, lacks EV
  • Limitations of scientific approach - Small sample sizes (Not generalised) much of psyc's subject matter is unobservable and bland descriptions of sensations/perceptions is not Objective Research
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