Issues and Debates

Psychology AS

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Determinism- someones behaviour is shaped by internal or external forces, their  behaviour is set out for them, they have no choice.

Free Will- Individual have an active role in controlling their behaviour.

Nature- behaviour is determined by genes, born with it.

Nurture- behaviour is determined by their experiences.

Reductionism- breaks down complex theories into simple easy to understand theories.

Holism- opposite to reductionism.

Idiographic- Studies the individual

Nomothetic- Studies a group, so it can generalise.

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Issues and Debates for Psychology

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Biological Approach

Biological Approach-


  • Scientific approach- can be proved by lab experiments
  • Determinist approach- cant control what goes on inside body


  • Reductionist Approach- makes complex behaviours into simple ones such as stress is refered to as simply the hormone adreniline.
  • Nature rather than nurture- mental illnesses have several causes rather than just biology (nature)
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Behavourist Approach

Behavourist Approach-


  • Scientific Approach- can analyse the results as feelings and thoughts are operated in terms of stimulus and response behavours
  • Successful Applications- applied in real world, most successfully mental disorders and education. eg aversion therapy in used to cure addictions.


  • Nurture rather than nature- believes in shaping your behaviour rather than your born with it, ignores nature.
  • Determinism- behaviour is influenced by the associations we make and world around us, our thoughts are not considered- no free will
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Psychodynamic Appraoch

Psychodynamic Approach-


  • Takes into account nature and nurture- behaviour is determined by id ego and superego (nature) and our childhood experiences (nurture).
  • Usefulness- highlights the fact that childhood is a critical period, freuds theories have influenced therapies used to treat mental disorders.


  • Reductionist Approach- simplifies complex human bahaviour into 3 simple parts, id ego and superego
  • Determinist Approach- infant behaviour is determined by innate forces, adult behaviour is determined through childhood experiences, no free will.
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Cognitive Approach

Cognitive Approach-


  • Mediational Processes- explains how perception and memory effect the way we respond to world around us.
  • Usefulness- used to treat disorders such as depression (CBT)


  • Ignores nature and nurture- role of genes (nature) is ignored, as is social and culteral factors (nurture)
  • Deterministic Approach- schema's are developed from young age, everything is childhood influences later life,also acquire stereotypes.
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