nature nurture

Possible nature studies: Biological area studies

Possible nurture studies: Behaviourist studies


  • application for nature eg. medication

  • application for nurture

  • Considering behaviour from only a nature view can lead to scientific methods

  • Only considering nature or nurture is reductionist


  • Reductionist and ignores other possible explanations for behaviour

  • The scientific methods used by a nature approach means - low in ecological validity

  • Claiming behaviour is due to either one can mean ethical issues
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Free will examples: Milgram (shocks), Bocchiaro (whistle blowing) Lee

Deterministic examples: Hancock, Casey, L+p, Kohlberg, Bandura

Strengths for free will

  • offers opportunities for managing behaviour

  • allows learning experiences to be designed to encourage desired behaviour

  • A deterministic explanation can be difficult to change.


  • Reductionist and ignores possible deterministic factors

  • Often expensive to make appropriate environmental changes

  • Sometimes a deterministic explanation is more valid than a freewill explanation

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Reductionist studies: Biological area studies, Behaviourist studies

Holist studies: Lee, Freud, Piliavin

Strengths of reductionist

  • Focusing on one explanation for behaviours can lead to effective treatments

  • A reductionist approach tend to result in very scientific methods

  • Being reductionist can help explain a specific aspect of behaviour

  • Tends to gather objective quantitative data


  • Focusing on one explanation for behaviour can mean you ignore other explanations

  • Taking such a scientific view means you miss the rich detail of qualitative methods

  • A holistic view can sometimes be the best explanation for a behaviour

  • Taking such a scientific view means research could be considered low in ecological validity.
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individual studies: Kohlberg, Piliavin, Levine, Milgram (shocks)

Situational studies: Lee, Chaney, Milgram (shocks), bocchiaro

Strengths for situational

  • Useful bc it offers opportunities for managing behaviour

  • Allows change in the environment to be made to reduce anti-social/enhance pro-social behaviour

  • An individual explanation can be difficult to change

Possible weaknesses of situational

  • Reductionist and ignores possible individual factors

  • Is often expensive to make appropriate environmental changes

  • Sometimes an individual explanation is more valid than a situational one.
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usefullness of research

Benefits considering studies as useful

  • Knowledge that can benefit society

  • Practical applications

  • psych as a science

  • Useful research will promote the subject and encourage more pps to take part in research.

Possible problems

  • Research not deemed useful could damage the reputation of psychology

  • could have funding implications for future research

  • Some research is criticised for unethical nature meaning it is less useful and would be difficult to replicate.


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ethical considerations

Informed Consent, Debrief, Protection of Participants, Deception, Confidentiality, Withdrawal from an Investigation

Unethical studies: Milgram (shocks), Bandura (bobo doll), Piliavin, B and c (cats)

Strengths of breaking ethics

  • Deception may be used to make a situation appear more realistic - higher ecological validity.

  • Pps may not be informed they are being studied - more natural behaviour

  • The ends justify the mens

  • Researcher may need to break confidentiality when a pp needs to be identified so they can receive support

Weaknesses of breaking ethics

  • may experience physical/psychological harm

  • May be more difficult to replicate the study if ethical principles are not upheld

  • Can damage the rep of psychology
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socially sensitive research

Socially sensitive studies: Hancock, Milgram (shocks), Gould, Casey, Freud (hanz)Baron-cohen (autism)

Strengths of conducting socially sensitive research

  • Can be useful/has practical application

  • Gain vulnerable insight into human behaviour

  • Can establish patterns of behaviour that could prevent future atrocities/immoral acts

  • Studies deviant behaviour which is beneficial in establishing abnormality from normality


  • Ethical issues may be raised

  • May be difficult to replicate due to its sensitive nature

  • Findings could lead to discrimination against groups of people/individuals

  • Could be used to shape public policy in an unfair way.
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psych as a science

Features of science

  • The study of cause and effect

  • Falsification

  • Replicability

  • Objectivity

  • Induction

  • Deduction

  • Hypothesis testing

  • Manipulation of variables

  • Control and standardisation

  • Quantifiable measurments.

Particularly scientific - biological and cognitive area studies

Less scientific studies: Freud (hanz), Gould,Kohlberg

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