Issues and debates


-The belief that we don't control our behaviour and it is determined by an internal/external force

-People's actions are determined by inescapable forces eg. socialisation and genes

Deterministic approaches

-Biological determinism: The belief that all behaviour derives from a biological/physiological cause eg. genes, brain structure, chromosomes, fight or flight response

-Behavioural determinism: The belief that all behaviour derives from an environmental factor that can't be controlled eg. conditioning, socialisation

-Psychic determinism: The belief that all behaviour derives from the unconscious mind and/or how you were raised. Nothing is an accident eg. dreams, Freudian slips. 

-There is a scientific explanation for causal explanations and everything can be explained through generic laws. Lab studies are used because they can eliminate extraneous variables and ensure that cause and effect is really being established. 


-Determinism can be good because if it establishes a cause, this cause can be treated/prevented eg. through drug treatment.

-But it would not be applicable to the legal system, because if criminals started to be viewed with the idea that they couldn't control their actions, the legal system would be entirely different and criminals may not be punished. 

-Some aspects of determinism eg. psychic determinism are unfalsifiable and can't be proved wrong. This makes it less scientific, and may make psychology seem as though it is less of a science. 

Hard and soft determinism

-Hard determinism: All human behaviour has an identifiable and describable cause eg. biological approach. Genes can't be changed. 

-Soft determinism: Acknowledges that determinism does exist but it can be responded to differently by different individuals eg. classical conditioning can be unlearned, faulty thought processes can be changed through CBT

Opposite of determinism: free will

-This is the belief that individuals are capable of self-determination

-It sees individuals as having complete control over their behaviour and that they don't simply act as stimulus response units, preprogrammed to behave a certain way

Free will approaches

-Humanism: We have a moral responsibility to choose our actions, even if we are affected by external/internal forces

-The Butterfly Effect is the theory that we can never completely take into account every single factor of an event or behaviour. If the slightest, most seemingly insignificant thing changed, the consequences would be entirely different. This suggests that free will must exist. 

-Everyone has a subjective experience of everything that happens to them. So one event might affect someone one way, and the same event might affect someone an entirely different away eg. SZ- both parents divorce. One child may develop SZ, their sibling may be fine. 

-Face validity: We feel as though we have choice and control, so this must be true. 

-People who have external LOCs feel as though they have less free will because they assume that they can't control what happens to them or how they respond. This makes them more likely to get depression. In comparison to this, people with internal LOCs feel as though they have more free will because they feel more in control of…


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