The Cognitive Approach
- The human mind actively processes information that comes in through different senses (sight,smell,touch,taste)
- Mental processes can be studied scientifically using carefully controlled experiments, usualling in a lab
- Cognitive or mental processes mediate between stimulus and response.
3 types of enquiry that distinguish 'cognitive approach'
- Cognitive Science
- Cognitive neuropsychology
- experimental cognitive psychology
Strengths... It adopts scientific procedures to develop and test theories using experimental techniques. Also, the approach shows that experiments can be used to understand mental processes that are not directly observable.
Weaknesses... The approach tends to ignore biology and the influence of genes. It also ignores individuals and personality differences between people. The approach is often seen as providing the mechanistic view of human thought, and has not taken sufficient account of emotions and how they intereact with the mental processes.
The Behaviourist Approach
The basic assumption of the behaviourist approach is that all behaviour is learned from the experience a person has in their environment. Behaviourist are on the NURTURE side of the nature/nurture debate.Behaviourist say behaviour is learned through re-enforcement or punishment of behavioural responses.
- All behaviour is learned from experience.
- We are born a 'blank slate' for experience to write on.
- All learning can be explained in terms of a stimulus.
- Reinforcement strengthens behaviour and punishment stops a behaviour
- Psychology should be scientific and objective.
- Internal mental processes can not be studied scientifically. The experimental method is the only objective and scientific method to use.
- It is valid to generalise from animal behaviour to human behaviour. Most research is conducted on animals.
Classical Conditioning was developed by a russian physiologist called Ivan Pavlov.
The Biological Approach
- Behaviour is strongly influenced by our genetic makeup and our genetic inheritance.
- The central nervous system, especially the brain, is essential for thought and behaviour to take place.
- Chemical processes in the brain are responsible for psychological functioning and an imbalance of chemicals in the brain may cause certain types of disorders.
- Humans have evolved biologically
Strengths... The highly developed use of scientific method and advanced techniques have led to great advances in understanding the biological basis of behaviour.The role of the brain in higher mental functions, such as memory, in humans is begining to be understood,The approach has helped to develop a new drug to treat mental disorders such as memory.The approach shown us how evolution and genetics influence behaviour
Weaknesses... The biological approach is referred to as reductionist in that it attempts to reduce all aspects of human behaviour to physical processes and the activity of the neurons. It ignores the influence of the environment on many behaviours, such as aggression. It has difficulty explaining one of the most distinctive aspects of being human (self-awareness). The approach presents too simplistic a view of human behaviour because it doesn't understand fully the importance of social factors.