Psychology PY1

Wjec AS level 4 approaches


Assumptions of psychodynamic approach

Assumption 1 Behaviour is influenced by the three

parts of the mind.

Three parts that develop at different stages in our lives.

• Id-This is the impulsive part of our personality and is present at birth. It demands immediate satisfaction, referred to as the pleasure principle. 

• Ego-This is the conscious, rational part of the mind that

  • develops  age of two. 
  • work out realistic ways of balancing the demands of the id. 
  •  reality principle.

• Superego-

  • Forming at age of four.
  • child’s sense of right and wrong as well as his or her ideal self. 
  • The superego seeks to perfectand civilise our behaviour.
  •  It is learned through watching others.
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Assumption 2

Assumption 2 Behaviour is infl uenced by different levels of consciousness and ego defences

  • Mind like an iceberg – much of what goes on inside the mind lies under the surface.The preconscious and unconscious mind.
  •  The conscious mind is logical.
  •  The unconscious mind is ruled by pleasure-seeking. 
  • The unconscious mind expresses itself indirectly through dreams.
  •  Confl icts between the id, ego and superego create anxiety. 
  • Ego defences-regress to an earlier developmental stage.
  • Displacement (transfer of impulses from one person or object to another).
  • Projection (undesirable thoughts are attributed to someone else).
  • Repression (pushing painful memories deep down into our unconscious mind)
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Assumption 3

Assumption 3 Behaviour is infl uenced

by early childhood experiences

  • In childhood traumas are repressed.
  •  For example, a child may experience the death of a parent early in life and repress associated feelings.
  •  Later in life, other losses may cause the individual to re-experience the earlier loss, and can lead to depression. 
  • Previously unexpressed anger about the loss is directed inwards,towards the self, causing depression.
  • There are key developmental stages in early childhood. 
  • Fixation on any one of these stages may have a lasting affect on the individual’s personality.
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Assumptions of biological approach

Assumption 1 Behaviour can be explained in terms of

different areas of the brain

  • Different areas of the brain have been identified for certain functions.e.g cerebral cortex covers the surface of the brain like a tea-cosy, and is much folded and grey in colour. This is the region of the brain responsible for higher cognitive functions. 
  • The cerebral cortex is divided into four lobes. 
  • The most important is the frontal cortex or lobe is responsible for fine motor movement and thinking. 
  • Other lobes include the occipital lobe, which is associated with vision.
  • Underneath the cortex there are various subcortical structures.
  •  such as the hypothalamus, which integrates the ANS.
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Assumption 2

Assumption 2 Behaviour can be explained in terms of


  • Neurons are electrically excitable cells that form the basis of the nervous system.
  • The flexibility of the nervous system is enhanced by having many branches at the end of each neuron so that each neuron connects with many others. 
  • One neuron communicates with another neuron at a synapse, where the message is relayed by chemical messengers (neurotransmitters).
  • These neurotransmitters are released from presynaptic vesicles in one neuron, and will either stimulate or inhibit receptors in the other neuron. 
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Assumption 3

Assumption 3 Behaviour can be explained in terms of


  • Hormones are biochemical substances that are produced in one part of the body and circulate in the blood
  • They are produced in large quantities but disappear very quickly. Their effects are slow in comparison with the nervous system, but very powerful. 
  • testosterone (a male hormone) and oestrogen (female hormone).
  •  Some hormones such as adrenaline are also neurotransmitters.
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Assumptions of cognitive Approach

One assumption of the cognitive approach is that mental processes can be studied scientifically.

  • Lab Experiments
  • Quantitive data 
  • measurable
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Assumption 2

Human mind compared to a computer

  • Input--> Process-->Output
  • Perception, attention, memory.
  • Multistore model of memory-(Atkinson and Shiffrin, 1968)
  •      Information-->senses-->STM-->LTM-->output
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Assumption 3

Behaviour can be explained by mental processes

  • Perception
  • memory
  • attention
  • language
  • Schema-a mental structure that represents an aspect of the world.
  • When we see something new we make a new schema.
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Assumptions of behavioural approach

The behaviourist approach believes that the way a person is and behaves is due to

life experiences. A person may be rewarded or punished for certain behaviour, and this

determines how they behave in future. People might also imitate what they see others


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Very good and detailed

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