Basic Assumptions

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  • Created by: katvaux
  • Created on: 30-03-15 12:15


  • the mind and the brain are the same.
  • thought processes and behaviour cannot occur without the operation of the CNS, including the brain. 
  • an imbalance of the chemicals in the CNS can cause certain types of mental disorders such as bipolar disorder. 
  • human behaviour and thought processes have a biological basis and are influence by our genetic make-up and inheritance. 
  • human characteristics are due to our DNA and are innate.
  • evolutionary change to our genes has helped us adapt our behaviour to the environment. 
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  • behaviour is learned through our experiences in the environment.
  • psychology should be concerned with observable behaviour and the laws of learning. Internal mental processes cannot be studied. 
  • reinforcement strengthens a behaviour and punishment stops a behaviour reoccurring.
  • the laws of learning are due to stimulus and behavioural responses.
  • research carried out on animal behaviour can be generalised to human behaviour.   
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Social Learning Theory

  • individuals will imitate or copy behaviour they have seen rewarded in other people. 
  • individuals will not imitate or copy behaviour they have seen punished in others. 
  • vicarious reinforcement is when the observer has seen a behaviour rewarded or reinforced in another person. They then become more likely to copy the behaviour.
  • vicarious reinforcement only happens through mediational processes.
  • observational learning has four conditions:

Attention Retention Motor reproduction Motivation

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  • our behaviour is determined by the mental processes that lie between stimulus and response. Only by studying these can we understand why people behave as they do. 
  • assumes internal mental processes can be studied in an objective, scientific way using carefully controlled experimental methods as its main method of investigation. 
  • humans are information processors.
  • the mind operates in the same way as a computer, encoding, storing and outputting data.
  • the human brain actively manipulates/processes information from the environment through our senses.  
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  • our behaviour is determined by unconscious processes of which we are unaware. 
  • the human mind is energised and subsequent behaviour motivated by instinct or drives. 
  • childhood experiences determine adult personality through the 5 psychosexual stages; oral, anal, phallic, latent, genital. 
  • personality has 3 parts; id, superego and ego.
  • psychoanalysis can uncover unconscious thoughts (especially in dream analysis).
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  • humans must be viewed as a whole and not component parts. 
  • human beings are unique and should be valued in that way.
  • humans have free will, are active agents in their own development and determine their own paths in life. 
  • humans strive towards self actualisation.
  • to be psychologically healthy, our real self and ideal self must be congruent. 
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