Psychology G542 Approaches

  • Created by: Maegan
  • Created on: 08-01-13 12:03


Assumption: A major influence on people’s behaviour, emotions and thought processes are other people and the society they have created


  • Uses scientific methods to conduct research > Reicher&Haslam
  • Useful in explaining prejudice and discrimination > Piliavin
  • Useful in explaining great many phenomenon> Milgram
  • Social influences may have been shown to have a stronger effect than dis-positional factors > Piliavin


  • Can underestimate individuality > Reicher&Haslam
  • Provides snapshots of behaviour and ignores how it develops overtime > Piliavin
  • Often unrepresentative samples > Milgram/Reicher&Haslam
  • Often lab experiments - low EV > Milgram
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Assumption: The mind functions in a manner similar to that of a computer: inputting, storing and retrieving data.


  • Very scientific in the methods it uses > Savage-Rumbaugh
  • Very useful in its applications > Loftus
  • Contributed well to our understanding of the human phenomenon > Baron-Cohen
  • Integrated well with other studies > Savage


  • Can be over simplistic - ignores the complexities of human functioning compared to a computer > Baron-Cohen
  • Can be unrealistic/studies lacking EV > Savage
  • Ignores emotion & free will in humans > Baron-Cohen
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Assumption: Development changes as a result of nature (puberty) and nurture (interactions with others & environment)


  • Allows us to understand the effects of childhood > Bandura
  • Contributes to our understanding of the nature/nurture debate > Bandura
  • Allows us to measure behaviour over time > Freud


  • Studies are often based on qualitative data - prone to bias > Freud
  • Focus greatly on childhood - deterministic > Bandura
  • Studies take a long time to conduct > Freud
  • May ignore historical and cultural influences > Bandura
  • May lack generalisability to samples used > Samuel&Bryant/Freud
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Assumption: Everything that is psychological is first physiological


  • Uses very scientific methods to conduct its research > Maguire/Dement&Kleitman
  • Provides strong argument to the nature side of the nature/nurture debate > Maguire
  • Helps explain human phenomenon that would otherwise be unexplainable e.g. dreaming/brain hemisphere functions > Dement&Kleitman/Sperry


  • Reductionist - explain all behaviour as a result of chemicals&neurones etc... Ignores other influences > Maguire
  • Can lack EV due to methods > Dement%Kleitman
  • Expensive equipment - only small samples can be used (low generalisability) > Maguire/Dement&Kleitman
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Individual Differences

Assumption: Behaviour that deviates from the norm is considered abnormal


  • Allows us to understand human behaviour and find causes for psychological problems > Thigpen&Cleckley/Griffiths
  • Helps us find causes for prejudice and discrimination - help to reduce it > Rosenhan


  • Studies often have small samples due to the unique participants - lack generalisability > Thigpen&Cleckley
  • Can be susceptible to ethical issues > Rosenhan
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