WJEC - AS - Psychology Unit 1 - Assumptions

HideShow resource information
  • Created by: Nabobby
  • Created on: 09-05-12 19:21

Cognitive Approach..

One assumption of the cognitive approach is that all behaviour is a result of Internal Mental Processing (thinking). Human beings are seen as information processors. Cognitive processes such as attention, perception, language and memory enable us to understand and respond to the world around us.

FOR EXAMPLE, the concept of a schema illustrates how these processes work together. (e.g. The concept of a ‘dog’ is a schema. In order for use to be able to know it is a dog we have to pay attention to it, perceive its features, search through our memory store to see if we recognise it and, in order to be able to name it, we use our knowledge of language. This is also known as information processing.)

1 of 6

Cognitive Approach...

Another assumption of the cognitive approach is that the human mind should be compared to a computer to understand how it works. The mind takes in information (input), changes it/stores it (process), and then recalls it when necessary (output). Cognitive psychologists create models of mental processes similar to computer ones and apply it to human behaviour.

AN EXAMPLE OF THIS is the multi-store model of memory by Atkinson and Shiffrin which proposes that information enters our brain through the senses, called sensory memory. It then moves to the short term memory store and then to the long term memory store which processes memory and then information is output when required.

2 of 6

Behaviourist Approach...

One assumption of the behaviourist approach is that behaviour can be explained in terms of classical conditioning. This is where an animal or human learns to associate something new with something which naturally causes a response. That new thing then causes the same response by itself.

AN EXAMPLE OF THIS would be Pavlov’s dog experiment where Pavlov conditioned dogs to salivate at the sound of a bell. They did this by learning to associate the sound of a bell with salivation and the expectancy of food from the environment. It is not a natural response.

3 of 6

Behaviourist...

Another assumption of the behaviourist approach is that behaviour can be explained in terms of operant conditioning. This is where an animal or human learns through consequences. They learn to consistently perform a behaviour based on whether they have previously received a reward or punishment for their behaviour. If you receive a reward for your behaviour you are more likely to do it in the future. If you receive a punishment for your behaviour you are less likely to do it in the future.

AN EXAMPLE OF THIS would be Skinner’s experiment which showed the effectiveness of operant conditioning by looking at rats in conjunction with three techniques. Positive reinforcement, where something pleasant is received (so when the rat pressed the lever, it was given food), and Negative reinforcement, where something unpleasant is escaped (so the rat was given electric shocks and the lever stopped these), are more likely to be repeated. Punishment is receiving something unpleasant (so the rat was given an electric shock when it pressed the lever).

4 of 6

Psychodynamic...

One assumption of the psychodynamic approach is that behaviour is influenced by the three parts of the mind (tripartite personality). The id is driven by the pleasure principle, demanding immediate satisfaction and represents irrational desires and wishes. The Superego is our sense of right and wrong and conscience, based on morality and principles. The ego is the rational part of the mind, driven by the reality principle. It is the referee between the id and the superego in order to influence behaviour in a way which is acceptable in society.

Another assumption of the psychodynamic approach is that behaviour is influenced by childhood experiences and relationships. This assumes that experiences in our earliest years can affect our emotions, attitudes and behaviour in later years. Freud saw childhood development as a series of stages, each linked to particular aspects of adult behaviour and particular personality characteristics. Throughout each stage, pleasure is related to a certain part of the body (oral, anal, phallic etc.) Fixation including trauma or excessive pleasure at particular stages can be reflected in adult personality. 

5 of 6

Biological...

One assumption of the biological approach is that behaviour can be explained in terms of different areas of the brain as they perform specialised functions. If those areas of the brain are damaged (e.g. by a stroke or an accident) the person usually loses the particular function. FOR EXAMPLE, the hippocampus deals with the ability to form some kinds of memories; if damaged a person can no longer remember events that happen.

Another assumption of the biological approach is that behaviour can be explained in terms of neurotransmitters. AN EXAMPLE OF THIS is the mental illness known as depression. It is suggested that depression could be caused by faulty genes which lead to low levels of certain brain chemicals such as serotonin. The low levels of such neurotransmitters cause people with depression to suffer from symptoms such as low mood and lack of motivation. This is different to the behavioural approach which says that environmental factors such as reinforcement and punishment influence our behaviour. 

6 of 6

Comments

No comments have yet been made

Similar Psychology resources:

See all Psychology resources »See all resources »