Essay Plans

Here is an essay plan for the Idiographic Vs Nomothetic debate (12 mark question), Holism Vs Reductionism (12 mark question) and Mind Vs Body debate (4 mark question).


Idiographic Vs Nomothetic (12 marks)

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1. Define the debate - Concerned with whether we study people as individuals or whether we study similarities between people and develop laws from which we can generalise.

2. Define terms - Idiographic refers to looking at individual, unique, subjective experiences. Uses case studies, qualitative. Nomothetic refers to similarities to develop laws, try to generalise to the wider population. Uses experiments, quantitative.

3. Perspectives - Idiographic - Psychodynamic and Humanistic. Nomothetic - Behaviourist and Biological.

4. Two topics - Memory - Adopts both idiographic and nomothetic methods. Nomothetic because they use experiments e.g.Peterson and Peterson, Experiment on the duration of the short term memory and they generalised the results. Idiographic - Case studies e.g. HM, Clive Wearing. Can't carry out these experimentally as unethical. Mood Disorders - Nomothetic - biological. genes/catacholamine hypothesis. Generalise. Drug therapy for everybody. Idiographic - Client centred therapy (CCT Rodgers) Individual aproach to treating depression.

5. Evaluation - +Nomothetic usus scientific methods + Idiographic considers individuals experiences - Nomothetic ignores individual experiences -Idiographic doesnt use scientific methods

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Holism Vs Reductionism (12 marks)

1. Define the debate - Whether it's better to study behaviour by looking at one single component or looking at many different explanations and how they interact.

2. Define terms - Reductionism focuses on one explanation but ignore others. Holism is many different explanations e.g. involves biology, environment, cognitive processes etc.

3. Perspectives - Reductionism - Biological/Behaviourist. Holistic - Psychodynamic/Humanistic

4. Two topics - Schizophrenia - Biology-twin studies. Not 100% concordance rate therefore a biological reductionist approach doesn't fully explain behaviour. Behaviourist-Also doesnt fully explain behaviour. Diathesis Stress is more holistic. Criminology - biological. Dabbs et al. How do we know that it is the environment controlling aggression or if its biology?

5. Evaluate. +Holism brings together different levels of explantion and thus provides a more realistic and complete understanding of behaviour. -Holism is difficult to investigate and interate explanations from difficult levels. +Reductionism focuses on a particular aspect of behaviour in detail -If we only look at one factor at a time we may miss the complexity of influences on any one behaviour.

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Mind Vs Body (4 marks)

1. Define debate - Concerned with whether the mind and body (brain) are the same (monoism) or whether they are completely separate and interacting things (dualism)

2. Schizophrenia - High dopamine levels (in brain) causes schizophrenia symptoms e.g. hallucinations (in the mind). Support for this comes from drug therapy e.g Chlorpromazine reduces the level of dopamine (in the brain) which then relieves the symptoms (in the mind). Therefore, the brain affects the mind (Epiphenomonalism)

3. Important because - if only the body exists then there is no need to study psychology.

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