Approaches in Psychology and Biopsychology


Approaches in Psychology and Biopsychology
Revision Notes

The Scientific approach to psychology
The word psychology derived from Greek words psyche and logos meaning mind and knowledge. The emergence of psychology is generally dated to the late 19th century when Wilhelm Wundt opened the first psychological laboratory at the University of Leipzig. Wundt and his investigators aimed to investigate the mind through introspection. They wanted to understand the basic elements of the conscious mind through thought and perception. John Watson believed that the results of introspection could never be proved or disproved because introspection is subjective. So in 1913 Watson proposed that psychologists need to confine themselves to the study of behaviour and finding out what makes the human mind work as it does.

-Wundt’s methods were unreliable
Wundt’s research relied heavily on non-observable responses. This means tests failed due to the lack of reliability.

-Introspection is not particularly accurate
-Participants were unaware of factors which were important as if they achieved introspection they wouldn’t know what it was in their mind that they were looking for.

+Strengths of the scientific approach to psychology
As scientific approaches rely so much on systematic and objective methods, it ensures results are more positive than just passive acceptance.

-Limitations of a scientific approach to psychology
Because of the concentration of objectivity the scientist makes data that isn’t generalisable to the real world as the lab conditions remove the real world aspects.

The Behaviourist approach to psychology
Behavioural psychologists believe the key form of learning is learning from behaviour and conditioning, either classical conditioning or operant conditioning. Classical and operant conditioning are often referred to collectively as learning theory. Both classical and operant conditioning use observable behaviour (response) in relation to environmental factors (stimulus) but they define the relationships in very different ways. The two conditioning types use associative learning where associations or connections are formed between stimuli and responses that didn’t exist before learning occurred. The aim of a observing behaviour and learning behaviour is to predict and control behaviour.

Pavlov’s research
Ivan Pavlov was a psychologist interested in the process of digestion in dogs. He was awarded the Nobel prize in 1904. When studying the salivation of dogs he noticed they would salivate before they received any food. He tested this process and outlined a stimulus-response explanation called classical conditioning.

Classical conditioning works like this…
 UR- Unconditioned Response
US-Unconditioned Stimulus
NS- Neutral Stimulus
CR-Conditioned Response
CS- Conditioned Stimulus

Before Conditioning
: The US (food) makes UR (salivation)
The NS (bell) makes nothing

During Conditioning:
The NS (bell) plus the US (food) makes UR (salivation)

After Conditioning:
The CS (Bell) makes the CR (salivation)

Evaluating Pavlov and Classical Conditioning
Classical conditioning has led to the development and treatment of anxiety and phobias. Classical conditioning can be used for systematic desensitisation when the client returns to their relaxation stage

-Different species developed different talents in their survival and therefore not all species will learn classical conditioning in the


No comments have yet been made

Similar Psychology resources:

See all Psychology resources »See all Approaches resources »