Definition - Assumes that thoughts and behaviours are determined by external or internal factors acting upon the individual and is beyond their control.
Environmental - Behaviour is inevitable, predictable, the result of external causes.
Biological - Being determined by factors inside of ourselves.
Examples: Zimbardo - Aimed to demonstrate the situational rather than dispositional causes of negative behaviour and thought patterns found in prison settings by conducting a prison simulation with 22 male 'normal' subjects playing the roles of guards and prisoners. Study suggests the behaviours shown by prisoners (pathological prisoner syndrome) and guards (pathology of power) were determined by being given their roles and the situation that they were in, rather than by their own free will and choice.
Dabbs et al - Aimed to examine the relationship between testosterone, crime and prison behaviours in 692 adult male prison inmates. Their testosterone levels were measured from saliva samples and their behaviour was coded from prison system records. It was found that inmates that had committed personal crimes of sex and violence had higher testosterone levels than those who had committed property crimes of burglary and theft. Therefore this is deterministic as it suggests that certain criminal behaviours are a result of our biological make up such as hormones like testosterone.
Strengths: - Deterministic research is more scientific allowing cause and effect to be established. If the cause of behaviour can be identified then its easier to treat or change it. (Eg. Bandura found children imitate role models. This helps society to understand that children need positive role models in life)
- May be easier to predict patterns of behaviour. If we know what factors determine behaviour, we can predict how early experiences might affect later life. (e.g. Farringtons study showed that living in poor housing or attending a delinquent school can increase the risk of offending)
Weaknesses: - Often reductionist and focuses on one factor rather than other influences, as it assumes that behaviour is determined by certain factors. (eg. Milgram focused on how obedience may be caused only by environmental influences such as authority figures and ignores biology)
- Leaves us with no responsibility for our actions as it suggests that we have no choice over the actions we take because they are determined to happen due to certain factors. For example, Milgram's study into obedience showed that people will obey an authoritive figure and bring harm to others because they are determined by the situation they are in.
Links: Behaviourist - Determined by environment; Social - Determined by situation and others; Psychodynamic - Determined by our unconscious mind; Cognitive - Determined by processes
Definition: - Assumes that humans are free to choose their behaviour, that influences (biological or environmental) can be rejected at will.
Example Studies: Zimbardo - Aimed to demonstrate the situational rather than dispositional causes of negative behaviour and thought patterns found in prison settings. The study suggests that the participants showed free will as 1/3rd of Guards were aggressive, 1/3rd of Guards were firm but fair and 1/3rd of Guards were nice to the prisoners so not all the participants gave in to the role they were given.
Milgram - Used a controlled observation with 40 New Haven male participants at Yale university that were instructed by a researcher dressed as though they had more authority than the participants to administer increasing levels of electric shocks to another person every time they got questions about word pairs wrong. This study suggests participants showed free will as 35% did not administer the highest level of electric shocks.
Strengths: - Makes the individuals accountable for their actions and suggests they're able to change their behaviour (e.g. Farringtons study suggests having a disrupted family does increase the risk of offending behaviours but not for everybody, therefore everyone with a disrupted family has a choice as to whether to turn to crime or not)
- Holistic approach so more variables can be taken into account allowing for more useful treatment and applications
Weaknesses: - Harder to isolate variables and find causes of behaviour so it makes it harder for society to understand why certain behaviours occur. for example a cold blooded murder where the murderer is mentally healthy is seen as worse than one with mental health problems.
- Harder to treat the behaviours of people who don't want to change.
Links: Individual Differences approach suggests that everyones behaviours are different and dependent upon the person and therefore that persons own free will.
Definition: - Assumes that humans are free to choose their behaviour, that influences (biological or environmental) can be rejected at will.
Example Studies: Zimbardo - 1/3rd of Guards were aggressive, 1/3rd of Guards were firm but fair and 1/3rd of Guards were nice to the prisoners so not all the participants gave in to the role they were given.
Milgram - 35% of participants didn't continue to administer the 450 volts.
Farrington - Having a disrupted family does increase the risk of offending behaviour but not all participants followed this.
Strengths: - It makes the individuals accountable for their actions and suggests they're able to change their own behaviour.
- Holistic approach so more variables can be taken into account; more useful for treatment and application.
Weaknesses: - Harder to isolate variables and find cause of behaviours.
- Makes it harder for society to understand behaviour. Eg/ A cold blooded murder where murderer is mentally healthy is seen as worse than one with problems.
- Harder to treat behaviour of people who don't want to change.
Assumption: - It focuses on how factors within the individual effect their behaviour. For example, genetics, cognitive processes, biological factors etc.
- Behaviour could be a result of personality, genetics, etc.
- Looking at behaviour from each individual and their cause of behaviour; doesn't believe that external factors are the causes of behaviour. Claims behaviours can be predicted.
Examples: Dabbs - Aimed to examine the relationship between testosterone, crime and prison behaviours in 692 prison inmates. Testosterone levels were measured from saliva samples and behaviour was coded from prison records. It was found that inmates that committed personal crimes of violence and sex had higher testosterone levels than those that committed property crimes of burglary and theft. This study uses the individual explanation as it suggests that behaviour is caused by biological factors such as hormone levels within the individual.
Palmer and Hollin - Aimed to investigate the relationship between moral reasoning, attribution of intent and self-reported delinquency of offenders compared to non-offenders. The results showed that offenders have less mature moral reasoning than non-offenders and they control their behaviours on the basis of rewards and punishments. This takes the individual explanation for behaviours as moral reasoning is a form of social cognition which occurs within the individuals own mind.
Strengths: - Supports scientific research.
- Looks at the predisposition to certain behaviours.
- Allows predictions to be made due to testing biological factors in a person or looking at their personality/cognitive processes, etc. (e.g. Raine - testing for glucose activity in prefrontal cortex)
- It is easier to study individuals than struggling to gain access to a group.
Weaknesses: - Supports the reductionist views.
- Cannot be generalised to all if research is on the individual.
- Personality traits don't always lead to same behaviours.
- New personality traits/behaviours may emerge under certain situations.
Approaches: Physiological - Suggests behaviour is due to internal, biological factors we cannot control. Eg/ Raine's study into brain dysfunction showed offenders claiming NGRI have less activity in bilateral prefrontal cortex.
Psychodynamic - Suggests all behaviour is motivated by the persons unconscious mind and defence mechanisms. Eg/ Freud showed Little Hans displaced his fear of his father onto horses.
Cognitive - Suggests behaviour is due to a persons cognitive processes and the way they think. Eg/ Baron-Cohen showed that people with Autism don't have theory of mind.
Assumption: - Focuses on how aspects of the present situation a person is in may affect behaviour and that people change their behaviours to suit the situation. Examples could be peer pressure, authority figures, ingroups/outgroups, etc.
- Can be used to explain group behaviours. New situations may provoke behaviour that has not been previously displayed to occur.
Examples: Piliavin - Used a field experiment on a New York subway train with approx 4450 passengers. Investigated the helping behaviour of these passengers when one of the researchers played a drunk or ill victim and collapsed in the middle of the carriage. Found that people were more likely to help an apparently ill victim than a drunk. Uses the situational explanation as it suggests that the passengers weigh up the costs and benefits of helping when presented with a certain situation and when shown the drunk victim situation there are more costs of helping than benefits and therefore that influences their helping behaviour.
Milgram - Used a controlled observation to investigate what level of obedience 40 New Haven men would show when told to administer increasing levels of electric shocks to another person by an authority figure in Yale University. It was found that 65% reached the highest level of 450volts and all reached 300v. Uses the situational explanation as it suggests the presence of the authority figure and being in the prestigious university influenced their obedience.
Strengths: - Provides explanations for group behaviours that may be deviant. (E.g. Zimbardo showed that the guards 'pathology of power' behaviours were due to their situation and roles)
- Provides evidence that a person is not predisposed to act a certain way.
- Supports the idea that environmental factors impact on behaviours. (e.g Milgram)
Weaknesses: - Studies are hard to replicate as the situation will always be different.
- Difficult to study due to artificial environments leading to demand characteristics. (e.g Bandura)
- Does not allow for individual differences.
- Takes away from personal responsability. (e.g. Zimbardo)
Approaches: Social - Suggests behaviour is affected by others and we behave differently according to who else is present. Eg/ Milgram showed that people who were given instructions by an authority figure were likely to obey due to the situation that they were in.
Behaviourist - Suggests all behaviour is learned through the environment and through operant/classical conditioning or SLT. Eg/ Bandura showed that if children were witness to an aggressive display by an adult they were more likely to imitate that behaviour.
Definition: - A belief that the ethnic group with which the individual identifies is superior to other groups. The individual uses their own ethnic group to evaluate and make judgements about other individuals from other ethnic groups. (Research which is centred around one cultural group)
Example Studies: Piliavin - A field experiment on a New York subway train with approx 4450 passengers to investigate the helping behaviour of these passengers when a researcher collapsed in the middle of the carriage playing a drunk or ill victim. Has low ethnocentrism as it used both black and white victims, and on the train there was 55% white passengers and 45% black.
Eberhardt - Used 44 cases where a black defendant had murdered a white victim and presented their pictures to naive raters who were asked to rate the stereotypicality of their appearance. It was found that those with a higher rating for stereotypically black features were more likely to get a death sentence. Looked at the effect of race/stereotypically black defendants on the sentence given at murder trials, therefore identifies ethnocentrism. Sample (raters) had a range of different races.
Strengths: - Allows results to be generalised to other cultures. (e.g. Piliavin)
- Encourages a good understanding of all human behaviours. (e.g. Eberhardt)
Weaknesses: - May not be possible to take own cultural values out of the judgement of behaviour.
Example Studies: Milgram - Uses a controlled observation with 40 men from New Haven, America to investigate what level of obedience would be shown when told to administer increasing levels of electric shocks to another person by an authority figure. Maybe not all cultures are as obedient as the 40 Americans from New Haven used. It is believed that China has a more obedient culture.
Yerkes - IQ tests in America devised for the military showed a correlation between the further north in the world your heritage was, and your IQ. Eastern Europeans and black recruits had lower IQ than other groups (but questions were culturally biased). Carried out on 1.85m recruits. Eg/ on pictorial test one picture was of a gramophone which people from other cultures wont recognise.
Strengths: - More convenient and easy to carry out research on own culture.
Weaknesses: - Can cause conflicts, bias, misunderstandings, superiority and cause acts of aggression between groups.
- Ethnocentric research is not representative of all cultures so cannot be generalised to other cultures.
Psychology as a Science (unscientific)
Definition: - The science of psychology is the knowledge of human behaviour obtained through the scientific method. The scientific method involves: The use of experiments (i.e. the manipulation of the IV and objective measurements of DV, keeping other variables constant).
Precise objective measurements (i.e. Accurate measurements free of subjective bias)
Theories are falsifiable (i.e. Any theory can be tested through trial and error to see if its false)
Example Studies: Freud - Used a case study to report the findings of the treatment of 5 year old Little Hans for his phobia of horses. Theory of Oedipus complex causing the phobia can't be proved right but can't be proved wrong due to defence mechanisms based on unconscious which is unfalsifiable as cant be tested or seen. Letters from father not precise objective measurements, open to misinterpret and father is a fan of Freud and asks leading questions.
Thigpen and Cleckley - Case study of Eve White to provide an account for the psychotherapeutic treatment of her severe and blinding headaches. Doesn't use experiments (case study). Uses projective tests (Rorschach) which are subjective. Interviews.
Strengths: - Lack of experiments and control increases ecological validity (e.g.T+C)
- Gathers qualitative data which is highly detailed (e.g. Freud)
Weaknesses: - Lack of experiments means less control for confounding variables (e.g.Griffiths)
- Subjective measures reduce validity as influenced by bias (i.e. Thigpen)
Psychology as a Science (scientific)
Example Studies: Maguire - Quasi experiment used precise objective measures (i.e. MRI scans) to compare the hippocampi of taxi drivers and non-taxi drivers. Found that volume of grey matter in taxi drivers posterior hippo was greater than non-taxi drivers. Pixel counter was blind to who was taxi driver and who wasn't. Participants matched on age, gender and right-handedness.
Raine - Used a quasi exp to investigate the activity in the brains of murderers and non-murderers. Matched people on age, gender and 6 with schizophrenia. Medication free for 2 weeks. Used PET scans which are precise objective measures. Found murderers have less activity in prefrontal.
- Using scientific methods (experiments) to reduce possible confounding variables.
- Triangulate methods of measurement to overcome weaknesses of individual (e.g Johanson)
- Control for experimenter bias and effects (e.g. Double blind - Kane) (e.g. Maguire - blind)
- Uses statistical tests to ensure the results are significant (e.g. Griffiths) Or if necessary, change the theory.
Strengths: - Objective measurements increases the validity as not influenced by any bias.
- Controls reduce possible confounding variables. (e.g. Baron-Cohen used Tourettes)
Weaknesses: - Use of experiments and controls reduces ecological validity (e.g. Dement+K)
- Collects quantitative data but people and behaviours are too complex - reduces(e.g. Maguire)