Debate Definitions


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Free Will

- Each person has the freedom to control what they think or do.

- The person determines through free choice, his or her thoughts or behaviour

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- All human though and behaviour is determined by forces outside a person's individual control.

- Arguments claim that we do not have much control/choice over our actions and claims they aree instead controlled by factors such as our biology, social context or upbringing etc. 

-Determinists believe we are passive responders to these factors and we have no free will.

-They therefore believe that it is possible to predict our behaviour by identifying the cause of our behaviour

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- To understand human beings, psychologists have to break down complex human behaviours into the most simple components. 

-Reductionist explanations reduce behaviour into one simple explanation 

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-Simply adding up the sum of the parts is not adequate in understanding a person

-Looks at the whole rather than simple components

-'The whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

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- View is deterministic and reductionist

- It suggests that all behaviour is determined by inherited/genetic factors

-Genes provide the blueprint for all behaviours, some of which will be present at birth or on a 'pre-programmed' schedule

-Believes we are NOT born as a blank slate to be moulded by our environment but at birth we are predisposed to behave in certain ways

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- Deterministic and reductionist

-Proposes all human behaviour is a result of interactions with the enviroment

-We are born as 'blank slates'

-There can be no limits to what an individual can achieve, the quality of the environment is crucial

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- Centered on the person

-We behave the way we do due to our personality, personal choices and general disposition.

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-Focus on the situation the individual is in

-Behaviour resulting from group pressure, group membership, and the environment

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Psychology as a Science

Key features of a Science:

1.         Control over variables(independent and extraneous)

2.         Establishing cause and effect relationships because extraneous variables are minimised.

3.         Empirical data - data being collected through direct observation or experiment

4.         Replicability achieved through high control and standardised procedures - Findings to considered   scientific they must be verifiable by other Psychologists.  This means that other Psychologists must be able to replicate the original experiment, using the same methods and procedure and producing the same or a similar pattern of data. If we get the same results over and over again under the same conditions, we can be sure of their accuracy beyond reasonable doubt.  This gives us confidence that the results are reliable and can be used to build up a body of knowledge or a theory.

5.         Careful objective measurement (not subject to opinion, bias or interpretation of someone's             viewpoint, quantitative over qualitative data)

6.         Evidence must not rely on argument or belief.

7.         We should be aiming to be able to predict future behaviour from the findings of our research.

8.         Has to be falsifiable (has to be provable or disprovable) – this is why hypotheses are needed so that we either prove them or disprove them. 

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-Is the tendency to view other groups or cultures from the perspective of your own and this leads to the possibility of a bias in research towards one group/ethnicity/culture etc. 

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