Psychology Approaches

To go through the assumption, strengths and weakness of each approach and perspective

  • Created by: kmoose
  • Created on: 10-01-12 11:38

Psychodymanic Perspective

Assumption: The unconcious processes are known as the 'iceberg model' as the tip is all we see but there's a lot we don't, and have a powerful influence on our bahaviour.


.Useful in helping understand and treating poor health. It differs from repressed memories and early experiences.

.Detailed case study provding rich qualitative data. Often longitudinal.


.Case studies lead to problems with bias and subjectivity in interpretation.

.Focuses on early emotional experiences and ignores other possible influences.

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Behaviourist Perspective

Assumption: All behavoiur is learnt from and determined by the environment and psychology should focus on behaviour, not the mind.


.Useful as it allows for the establishment of causal relationships between variables.

.Strong counter argument for nuture, as it claims behaviour is learnt from environment and that dysfunctional behaviour can be modified.


.It's reductionist as it ignores the influence of both nature and cognition.

.Traditionally conducted on aminals, so difficult to generalise to humans.

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Social Approach

Assumption: Individuals thoughts, emotions and behaviour are influenced by other people and their social environment


.Helps us understnd how social factors may determine our behaviour.

.Can offer possible solutions to proper problems like the prision system.

.Wide range of qualitative and quantative.


.Lab settings cause demand characteristics and effect validity.

.Difficult to apply controls in naturalistic setting.

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Cognitive Approach

Assumption: The mind works like a computer and our behaviour can be explained in terms of how the mind opperates.


.Useful as it's pratical in helping to show how fragile minds can be.

.Tend to use lab experiments and therefore tends to have high levels of control.


.Ignores the emotional side of life.

.It's too simplistic as it compairs the cognitive functioning of the mind to a computer and ignores its complexity.

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Developmental Approach

Assumption: Development is discontinuios i.e. it proceeds through a number of stages.


.Useful as it teaches us about development which we can apply practically, like in education and the curriculum

.Longitudinal research allows us to watch changes in development and the effect of maturation.


.Ethical issues and pratical problems with studying young children.

.Too much emphasis on childhood development and not adult development.

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Individual Differences Approach

Assumption: Psychometrics can be used to study individuals and make comparisions. It's interested in a typical behavoiurs and believes that people are catergorised based on some general rules.


.Useful in explaining complex personalities and abnormal behavoiur.

.Studies people in their own familiar settings, and therefore increases the validity.

.Gathers a wide range of both quanitative and qualitative data.


.Focuses on 'individual differences' and therefore can't really be generalised.

.Qualitative data from self report could lead to bias in interpritation and decrease validity.

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Physiological Approach

Assumption: An individual's thoughts, emotions and bahaviour is determined by our biology and nature is emphasised over nurture.


.Very scientific and this produces objective data.

.Consists of lab experiments so it has control.

.Useful in understanding behaviour through our biology.


.Self reports lead to subjective data, and scans could be misinterpritated.

.Lab experiments lack ecological validity.

.Reductionist, our behaviour might not be caused by our biology

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these are really good, thankz **

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