Approaches

Wundt's research
First laboratory in 1875. Focused on aspects of the mind that could be observed and measured in controlled conditions.
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What is meant by empircism?
The belief that all knowledge is derived from sensory experience. It is generally characterised by the use of the scientific method in psychology.
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What is meant by introspection?
The process by which a person gains knowledge about their own mental and emotional states as a result of the examination or observation of their conscious thoughts and feelings.
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What is meant by scientific method?
Refers to the use of investigative methods that are objective, systematic and replicable, and the formulation, testing and modification of hypotheses based on these methods.
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The scientific cycle
Objective, systematic and replicable observation; building, refining or falsifying; development of a scientific theory; testing.
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1879
Wundt opens the institute.
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Early 1900s
Freud publishes work on dream analysis.
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Early 20th century
Behaviourism develops, studying stimulus-response learning.
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1950s
Humanism develops, studying 'the self'.
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1960s-1970s
Cognitive psychology develops, studying internal mental processes.
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1960s
Social learning theory develops as a 'newer' behaviourist approach.
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Late 20th century
The rise of biological research related to human behaviour.
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What is classical conditioning?
When a neutral stimulus is consistently paired with an unconditioned stimulus so that it eventually takes on the properties of this stimulus and is able to produce a conditioned response.
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Pavlov (1927) - dogs: before conditioning
An unconditioned stimulus (the food) leads to an unconditioned response (salivation). A neutral stimulus (ringing bell) produces no response.
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Pavlov (1927) - dogs: during conditioning
Pairing a neutral stimulus with an unconditioned stimulus will create an association with the unconditioned response
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Pavlov (1927) - dogs: after conditioning
After regular pairing, the neutral stimulus will become a conditioned stimulus and will lead to its own conditioned response.
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Evaluation of classical conditioning: laboratory experiments
Most research is done in laboratories and is therefore reliable due to the high level of control possible.
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Evaluation of classical conditioning: development of treatments
Classical conditioning has been used in developing treatments for mental illness such as systematic desensitisation to treat phobias, which has been found to be very effective.
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Evaluation of classical conditioning: ignores the biological approach
Classical conditioning ignores the role of biology in behaviour. Instead, it suggests everything stems from stimulus-response learning.
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Evaluation of classical conditioning: ignores the cognitive approach
Classical conditioning does not account for the role of cognition/thought in behaviour as this is not observable.
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What is operant conditioning?
Learning through reinforcement or punishment.
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Skinner's research on rats (1938)
Placed rats into a cage that was specially designed to deliver food only when a lever was pressed by the rat.
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Skinner's findings on rats (1938)
He found that the rats quickly learned to press the lever and would continue to do this until they were full.
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What is positive reinforcement?
A reward as a positive consequence of the action.
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What is negative reinforcement?
Removing something unpleasant as a positive consequence of an action.
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What is punishment?
A negative consequence of an action.
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What is positive punishment?
Where an unpleasant action is given as a consequence of a behaviour.
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What is negative punishment?
Where something pleasant is removed as a consequence of a behaviour.
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Evaluation of operant conditioning: effective
Evidence suggests that it is an effective way for both humans and animals to learn.
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Evaluation of operant conditioning: token economies
Have been shown to be effective for treating many different problematic behaviours.
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Evaluation of operant conditioning: generaliseable to humans
Skinner's work was conducted on animals and has been criticised for then being applied to humans.
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Evaluation of operant conditioning: ethics
Much of the research that took place on animals and exposed them to some unpleasant stimuli, which may breach ethical guidelines.
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What is the social learning theory?
Learning through observing others and imitating behaviours that are rewarded.
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What is meant by identification?
A form of influence where an individual adopts an attitude or behaviour because they want to be associated with a particular person/group.
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What is meant by imitation?
The action of using someone or something as a model and copying their behaviour.
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What is meant by mediational processes?
Refers to the internal mental processes that exist between environmental stimuli and the response made by an individual to those stimuli.
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What is meant by modelling?
A form of learning where individuals learn a particular behaviour by observing another individual performing that behaviour.
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What is meant by vicarious reinforcement?
Learning that is not a result of direct reinforcement of behaviour, but through observing someone else being reinforced for that behaviour.
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Bandura (1961): aim
To see if children would learn and imitate aggression from watching adult role models.
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Bandura (1961): procedure
Children observed either an adult role model being aggressive towards a Bobo doll, or a demonstration of non-aggressive behaviour towards the doll. The children were then exposed to mild frustration before being left in a room with a Bobo doll.
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Bandura (1961): findings
Many of the children who saw the adult being aggressive went on to imitate that aggression on the doll. Less aggression was seen in the group who watched the non-aggressive adult behaviour.
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Bandura (1961): conclusion
Children exposed to aggressive role models are likely to imitate their behaviour.
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Evaluation of the social learning theory: cognitive approach
It accepts that cognitive processes are involved in learning and it is not just an automatic process.
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Evaluation of the social learning theory: evidence
There is a great deal of research evidence supporting the claim that we learn from the observation of others (Bandura).
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Evaluation of the social learning theory: laboratory experiments
Much of he evidence to support SLT comes from laboratory studies. Thus it may explain behaviour in controlled settings, but may not relate to real-life behaviour in the same way.
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Evaluation of the social learning theory: biological approach
Ignores the role of biological factors in shaping behaviour.
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Assumption 1 of the cognitive approach
Internal processes can be studied in laboratories by inferring the actions of the mind from behaviour seen.
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Assumption 2 of the cognitive approach
The human mind works like a computer, with input from the senses and output in the form of behaviour.
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What is a schema?
A cognitive framework that helps to organise and interpret information in the brain. They can help an individual to make sense of new information.
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What is meant by theoretical models?
In cognitive psychology, models are simplified, usually pictorial, representaions of a particular mental process based on current research evidence.
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What is meant by computer models?
Refers to the process of using computer analogies as a representation of human cognition.
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What is meant by computer neuroscience?
An area of psychology dedicated to the underlying neural bases of cognitive functions.
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Evaluation of the cognitive approach: scientific
The cognitive approach is highly scientific because of the emphasis on controlled laboratory research in studying the mind.
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Evaluation of the cognitive approach: useful applications
The cognitive approach has many useful applications, such as in treatments for depression and the development of artificial intelligence.
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Evaluation of the cognitive approach: simplifies human behaviour
It simplifies human behaviour too much because it ignores the role of human emotions and motivations in behaviour.
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Evaluation of the cognitive approach: lack of validity
As the research tends to take place in laboratories, it could be thought to lack validity as the processes studied may be artificial.
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Assumption 1 of the biological approach
A person's central nervous system (CNS) has a very strong influence on their behaviour.
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Assumption 2 of the biological approach
The genetic make-up of individuals influences their behaviour. This may also relate to the influence of evolution on behaviour.
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Assumption 3 of the biological approach
Chemicals present in the body will influence behaviour.
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The central nervous system (CNS)
The structure of the CNS - the brain and spinal cord - will influence a person's behaviour. The CNS allows communication between the environment and the brain/body by passing messages throughout the body.
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What is a gene?
A part of the chromosome of an organism that carries information in the form of DNA.
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Genes have a strong influence in determining the kind of person they will become.
We can observe the influence of genes by studying MZ twins who share an identical genetic code. A high concordance rate or correlation between identical twins' behaviour may suggest a genetic component is involved.
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What is a genotype?
The genetic make-up of an individual. It's a collection of inherited genetic material that is passed from generation to generation.
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What is a phenotype?
The observable characteristics of an individual. This is a consequence of the interaction of the genotype with the environment.
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What is meant by evolutionary?
Refers to the change over successive generations of the genetic make-up of a certain population.
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Evaluation of the biological approach: scientific
The biological approach has been tested using highly scientific methods, such as brain scans and twin/family studies.
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Evaluation of the biological approach: useful applications
It has many practical applications, such as the use of drugs to treat mental illness.
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Evaluation of the biological approach: ignores environmental influences
It does not take into account the influence of the environment on behaviour; it purely looks at nature and ignores nurture as an influence.
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Evaluation of the biological approach: behaviours cannot be changed
It assumes that certain biological factors determine particular behaviours and they cannot be changed.
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The role of the unconscious
Freud likened the mind to an iceberg.
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Defence mechanism: repression
The unconscious diversion of unacceptable wishes and desires to protect the person. They do not go away and continue to influence their behaviour.
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Defence mechanism: denial
The refusal to accept reality in order to avoid psychological pain associated with it.
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Defence mechanism: displacement
The redirection of impulses away from the real target to safer ones.
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Psychosexual stage: oral
0-2 years. Focus on mouth; gratification achieved by feeding; id is dominant.
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Psychosexual stage: anal
2- 3 years. Focus on anus; gratification gained by pooping; ego develops through potty training.
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Psychosexual stage: phallic
3-6 years. Focus on genitals; child passes through Oedipus or Electra stage; gender identity; superego develops.
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Psychosexual stage: latency
6-12 years. Focus on developing relationships with others; the conflicts of previous three stages are repressed.
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Psychosexual stage: genital
12+ years. Focus on sexual energy directed towards relationships with sexual partners.
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Structure of psychology: id
Present from birth; unconscious; contains our primitive desires for sex and death; it demands immediate gratification.
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Structure of psychology: ego
Develops in the anal stage; it is the mediator between the id and reality, trying to get what the id wants, but in a socially acceptable way.
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Structure of psychology: superego
Develops in the phallic stage; consists of the conscience and the ego ideal; this punishes us with guilt when we transgress the rules of society and pushes us to be good.
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Evaluation of the psychodynamic approach: cure
It's the first talking cure for psychological disorders.
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Evaluation of the psychodynamic approach: unconscious
Uncovers the unconscious motivation for mental health issues.
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Evaluation of the psychodynamic approach: sexuality
Accused of being sexist and overemphasising male sexuality.
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Evaluation of the psychodynamic approach: cultures
Culturally limited, as it was developed within Western society.
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Assumption 1 of the humanistic approach
Humans cannot be reduced to components.
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Assumption 2 of the humanistic approach
Humans are all unique.
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Assumption 3 of the humanistic approach
Humans are conscious and aware of themselves in the context of other people's reactions to them.
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Assumption 4 of the humanistic approach
Humans have free will.
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Assumption 5 of the humanistic approach
Humans are purposeful and creative.
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What is meant by free will?
The ability to choose how to behave without being influenced by external influences.
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Maslow's hierarchy of needs (1943): self-actualisation
Morality, creativity, spontaneity, problem-solving, lack of prejudice, acceptance of facts.
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Maslow's hierarchy of needs (1943): esteem
Self-esteem, confidence, achievement, respect of others, respect by others.
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Maslow's hierarchy of needs (1943): love/belonging
Friendship, family, sexual intimacy.
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Maslow's hierarchy of needs (1943): safety
Security of body, of employment, of resources, of morality, of the family, of health, of property.
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Maslow's hierarchy of needs (1943): physiological
Breathing, food, water, sex, sleep, homeostasis, excretion.
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What is meant by self-actualisation?
The drive to realise one's true potential.
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What is meant by conditions of worth?
Conditions imposed on an individual's behaviour and development that are considered necessary to earn positive regard from significant others.
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Client-centred therapy
The relationship is of central importance to this therapy. The therapist must create conditions in which personal growth can take place.
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The self-concept
The self you think you are; this is similar to self-esteem.
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The ideal self
The self you aspire to being.
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The real self
Who you really are.
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What is meant by congruence?
If there is similarity between a person's ideal self and self-image, a state of congruence exists.
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Evaluation of the humanistic approach: personal growth occurs
It allows for personal growth and accepts the idea of free will, which seems intuitively correct; we all feel that we make choices.
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Evaluation of the humanistic approach: effective
The therapy developed from humanism has been shown to be effective and is a good alternative to lengthy psychoanalysis or medication.
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Evaluation of the humanistic approach: culturally biased
The ideas central to the approach have been criticised for being culturally biased towards individualistic cultures, and have limited usefulness in collectivist cultures.
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Evaluation of the humanistic approach: not scientific
Because it acknowledges the subjectivity of experience, its claims are hard to test scientifically.
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The belief that all knowledge is derived from sensory experience. It is generally characterised by the use of the scientific method in psychology.

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What is meant by empircism?

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The process by which a person gains knowledge about their own mental and emotional states as a result of the examination or observation of their conscious thoughts and feelings.

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Refers to the use of investigative methods that are objective, systematic and replicable, and the formulation, testing and modification of hypotheses based on these methods.

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Objective, systematic and replicable observation; building, refining or falsifying; development of a scientific theory; testing.

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