PSYB4 reduction- holiest debate

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= involves a gestalt approach ie that 'the whole is greater than the sum of its part'

HUMANISTS: believe we should study all aspects of a person as well as there integration with others so the person in their environment must be studied

PSYCHOANALYSIS: some argue it is holistic in its theory about the dynamic integration between ID, ego and superego

SOCIAL PSYCHOLGY: looks at behaviour but within a social context eg groups behave very differently to one individuals behaviour within the group eg social loafing, crowd behaviour etc eg morals

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= explaining an phenomenon by breaking it down into its constituent parts so we can analyse it
It works on the principle of parsimony ie that the complex phenomenon should be explained by the simplest underlying principle possible.

BEHAVIOURISTS: assumes all complex behaviour was the sum of all part S-R learning

BIOLOGICAL: explains all behaviour due to genetic/ physiological or neurological level eg gender- money, beach, van goozen
Eg substance abuse- twins(mcgue), adoption (Goldstein) animal studies (li &mcbride), peters et al, Finn et al

PSYCHODYNAMIC: some argue it is reductionist because all behaviour is reduced to action of the dynamic unconscious ie ID forces

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  • doesn't ignore complexity of the whole eg crowd behaviour can be quite different to an individual I'm the crowd
  • sometimes functional (cause and purpose) explanation are more use eg explaining why we behave in a certain way eg why we have so differently in a crowd may be more as to us then understanding a detailed hormonal, neuronal view of each other/ individuals in theatre crowd
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-very scientific and analytical approach ( fits with cause and effect as reduces component parts so IV can be isolated etc)

  • by breaking behaviour down into its constituent parts (sr) these parts become more easily testable - operationalise
  • eg Gender ... Hormones- beach, van goozen
    A typical - XX/XY VS XXY/XO
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  • holistic explanatikn that the mind is not the same as the body, tend to ignore the huge influence of biology/ physiology on behaviour
  • holistic explanation tend to get more theoretical the higher they go up the reeducationisr ladder. Higher levels lack the predictive power of physical sciences
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  • over simplistic... Reductionism often ignored important interactions ie the whole may be greater than the sum of its parts eg falling love- is it just down to the firing of neurones/ chemical reactions?
  • sometimes the meaning of an action is ONLY understood in its context eg hand wasp do in water (drowning or wave) not form its physiological description
  • if we take a reductionst view then we have to ignore free will because if all our behaviour can be reduced to and explained by certain forces such as biological forces , then it could be agreed that we don't have free will
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