Approaches in Psychology

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  • Created by: laurenlee
  • Created on: 21-05-16 15:16
Who was the first person to open a psychology lab? Where was it opened & When?
Wilhelm Wundt in Germany 1879
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What is Introspection?
The first systematic experimental attempt to study the mind by training people to carefully and objectively as possible to analyse the content of their own thoughts/sensations
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What is structuralism?
When you isolate the structure of consciousness
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What is cartesian dualism? Who developed this idea?
Rene Descartes - he suggested that the mind and body are independent from each other
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What is empiricism? Who proposed this idea?
John Locke - he suggested that all experience can be obtained through the sense, and that human beings inherit neither knowledge nor instincts, we start off as a "blank slate"
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What is the evolutionary theory? Who proposed this idea?
Charles Darwin - this is the theory where all human and animal behaviour has changed over successive generations so that the individuals with stronger, more adaptive genes survive and reproduce whereas the weaker individuals do not survive
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What is the behaviourist approach?
A way of explaining behaviour in terms of what is observable and in terms of learning
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Definition of classical conditioning?
Learning by association
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Definition of operant conditioning?
Learning by consequences, could be positive, negative reinforcement or punishment.
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What is reinforcement?
A consequence of behaviour that increases the likelihood of that behaviour being repeated, can be positive or negative.
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Who researched classical conditioning?
Pavlov - used dogs who salivated to food, he then conditioned them to salivate to the sound of a bell if that sound was presented at the same time as they were given food.
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Who researched operant conditioning?
Skinner - used rats/pigeons awarded animal with a food pellet if they activated a lever, from then on animal would continue that behaviour. Also used electric shocks to condition animals.
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What is positive reinforcement?
Receiving an award when a certain behaviour is performed. E.g getting praise from a teacher for good homework.
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What is negative reinforcement?
Occurs when you try to avoid something unpleasant. E.g handing in homework to not get told off. Similarly an animal may learn through NR by pressing a lever to avoid a electric shock.
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What is a punishment?
An unpleasant consequence of behaviour, E.g being shouted at by a teacher for talking in class.
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+'s of classical and operant conditioning research?
Principles of conditioning have been applied to a broad range of real-world behaviours and problems. For instance, OC have been used successfully in institutions such as prisons/psychiatric wards. CC has also been applied to the treatment of phobias.
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-'s of classical and operant conditioning research?
Ethical issues - animals involved were exposed to stressful and aversive conditions, which may also have affected how they reacted to the experimental situation.
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What is the social learning theory?
This proposes a different way in which people learn: through observation and imitation of others within a social context, thus social learning. Can also be through direct instructions.
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What is imitation?
Copying the behaviour of others.
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What is identification?
When an observer associates themselves with a role model and wants to be like the role model. A person becomes a role model if they are seen to possess similar characteristics to the observer and/or are attractive and have high status
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What is modelling?
From the observer's perspective, this is imitating the behaviour of a role model. From the role model's perspective, this is the precise demonstration of a specific behaviour that may be imitated by an observer.
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What is vicarious reinforcement?
Reinforcement which is not directly experienced but occurs through observing someone else being reinforced for a behaviour.
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What are meditational processes?
Cognitive factors (i.e thinking) that influence learning and comes between stimulus and response.
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What are the four meditational processes in learning?
Attention, Retention, Motor Reproduction and Motivation.
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How do you learn through vicarious reinforcement?
If an individual observes a behaviour that is seen to be rewarded (reinforced) rather than punished, vicarious reinforcement occurs and that individual may imitate this behaviour.
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What is meant by the term attention in relation to the role of meditational processes in the SLT?
This is the extent to which we notice certain behaviours.
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What is meant by the term retention in relation to the role of meditational processes in the SLT?
How well the behaviour is remembered.
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What is meant by the term motor reproduction in relation to the role of meditational processes in the SLT?
The ability of the observer to perform the behaviour.
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What is meant by the term motivation in relation to the role of meditational processes in the SLT?
The will to perform the behaviour, which is often determined by whether the behaviour was rewarded or punished.
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Strengths of Social Learning Theory? (1)
It provides a more comprehensive explanation of human learning by recognising the role of meditational processes, as learning would be exceedingly hazardous if people had to reply on the effects of their own actions to learn.
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What was Bandura's research?
He recorded the behaviour of young children who watched an adult behave in an aggressive way towards a Bobo doll. When these children were later observed, they behaved much more aggressively towards the doll.
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Limitations of Social Learning Theory (2)
(1) Over-reliance on lab studies on children's behaviours which is bad due to demand characteristics (2) Underestimates the influence of biological factors on social learning e.g boys may be more aggressive than girls due to hormonal factors.
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Limitation of Bandura's Bobo Doll research? (1)
The children may have just been aggressive to the doll as the children were behaving in a way that they thought was expected not because they were imitating.
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What is the cognitive approach?
The term "cognitive" means "mental processes" so this approach focuses on how our mental processes (e.g thoughts, perceptions, attention) affect behaviour.
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What are internal mental processes?
"Private" operations of the mind such as perceptions and attention that mediate between stimulus and response.
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What is Schema?
They are "packages" of ideas and information developed through experience. They act as a mental framework for the interpretation of incoming information received by the cognitive system.
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What are inference?
The process whereby cognitive psychologists draw conclusions about the way about the way mental processes operate on the basis of observed behaviour.
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What are the good things about schema?
They enable us to process lots of information quickly and this is useful as a sort of mental sort-cut that prevents us from being overwhelmed by environmental stimuli.
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What are the negative things about schema?
They may distort out interpretations of sensory information, leading to perceptual errors.
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What is cognitive neuroscience?
It is the scientific study of the influence of brain structures on mental processes.
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How are theoretical models used in cognitive psychology?
One important theoretical model is the informational processing approach, which suggests that informations flows through the cognitive system in a sequence of stages that include input, storage and retrieval, for example, one model would be the MSM.
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How are computer models used in cognitive psychology?
The mind is compared to a computer by suggested that there are similarities in the way information is processed. These computer models of the mind have proved useful in the development of artificial intelligence.
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What are the techniques used in cognitive neuroscience? (2)
(1) Brain imaging such as PET scans have enabled scientists to systematically observe and describe the neurological basis of mental processes. (2) The use of computer generated models that are designed to "read the brain".
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One limitation of research methods on cognitive approach?
Using computer models have been criticised as it ignores the influence of human emotion and motivation on the cognitive system and how this may affect our ability to process information.
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Another limitation of research methods on cognitive approach?
May lack external validity as stimuli used in mental process studies can be artificial e.g tests of memory using word lists, so it may not represent everyday memory experience.
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Strength of research methods on cognitive approach?
The research has always used highly controlled and rigorous methods of study in order to enable researchers to infer cognitive processes at work, this means the data produced is reliable and objective.
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What is the biological approach?
This approach focuses on the importance of physical processes in the body such as genetic inheritance and neural function.
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What are genes?
They make up chromosomes and consist of DNA which codes the physical & psychological features of an organism (such as eye colour, height, intelligence). These genes are hereditary.
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What is neurochemistry?
These relate to chemicals in the brain that regulate psychological functioning.
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What is a person's genotype?
The particular set of genes that a person possesses.
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What is a person's phenotype?
The characteristics of an individual determined by both genes and the environment.
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What is evolution?
The changes in inherited characteristics in a biological population over successive generations.
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What do behaviour geneticists do? and what techniques do they use?
They study whether behaviour characteristics, such as intelligence or personality are inherited in the same way as physical characteristics such as height and eye colour. They use twin studies to determine this.
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Strength of research in the biological approach?
Based on reliable data as BA uses a range of precise and highly scientific methods such as fMRIs/family & twin studies. Due to advances in technology, it is possible to measure biological/neural processes not open to bias.
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Another strength of research in the biological approach?
Increased understanding of biochemical processes in the brain has led to the development of psychoactive drugs that treat serious mental illnesses e.g depression, so this research can apply to real-life and make a difference to people's lives.
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Limitation of research in biological approach?
Claims to have discovered causes where only an association exists. E.g they concluded that because a particular drug reduces symptoms of a mental disorder it means that the lackoftheneurochemicalinthedrugcausesthedisorder = not necessarily true
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What are the two sub systems of the nervous system?
This consists of the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system.
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What is the central nervous system? (CNS)
This consists of the brain which is the centre of all conscious awareness and the spinal cord which is an extension of the brain and is responsible for reflex actions.
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What is the Peripheral nervous system? (PNS) and what is it sub-divided into?
This sends information to the CNS from the outside world, and transmits messages via neurons from the CNS to muscles and glands in the body. It is subdivided into the autonomic nervous system (ANS) and the somatic nervous system (SNS)
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What does the Autonomic nervous system do? (ANS)
It governs vital functions in the body such as breathing, heart rate, digestion, sexual arousal and stress responses. Its called autonomic as its automatic and operates involuntarily.
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What does the Somatic nervous system do? (SNS)
It controls muscle movement and receives information from sensory receptors.
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Whats the endocrine system?
One of the body's major information systems that instruct glands to release hormones directly into the bloodstream. These hormones are carried towards target organs in the body
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What is a gland?
An organ in the body that synthesises substances such as hormones.
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What are hormones?
Chemical substances that circulate in the bloodstream and only affect target organs. They are produced in large quantities but disappear quickly. Their effects are very powerful.
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What is the "master gland" and why is it called that?
Pituitary gland as it controls the release of hormones from all the other endocrine glands in the body.
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What is the fight or flight response?
How an animal reacts when stressed, the body becomes physiologically aroused in readiness to fight an aggressor or, in some cases, flee.
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What is Adrenaline?
Hormone produced by the adrenal glands which is part of the human body's immediate stress response system. Adrenaline has a strong effect on the cells of the cardiovascular system - stimulating heart rate, contracting blood vessels etc
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What type of hormone does the thyroid gland produce? and what does it do?
Thyroxine, it affects cells in the heart (increases heart rate) and affects cells throughout the body increasing metabolic rates (chemical processes taking place in cells).
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What is the parasympathetic state?
This is your normal resting state
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What is the sympathetic state?
This is when you become physiologically aroused.
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Biological changes associated with the sympathetic state?
Increased heart rate, increased breathing rate, dilated pupils, digestion inhibited, saliva production inhibited and rectum contracts.
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Biological changes associated with the parasympathetic state?
Decreases heart rate, decreases breathing rate, constricts pupils, stimulates digestion, stimulates saliva production and relaxes rectum.
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Three types of neuron?
motor neurons, sensory neurons and relay neurons.
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What are sensory neurons?
These carry messages from the PNS (Peripheral nervous system) to the CNS. They have long dendrites and short axons.
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What are relay neurons?
These connect the sensory neurons to the motor or other relay neurons. They have short dendrites and short axons.
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What are motor neurons?
These connect the CNS (Central nervous system) to effectors such as muscles or glands . They have short dendrites and long axons.
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Structure of a neuron?
has nucleus, dendrites (branch like structure), axon covered in myelin sheath to protect and speed up electrical transmission divided by nodes of ranvier which speeds up electrical transmission even more.
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What is synaptic transmission?
The process by which neighbouring neurons communicate with each other by sending chemical messages across the gap (the synapse) that separates them.
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What is a neurotransmitter?
Brain chemicals released from synaptic vesicles that relay signals across the synapse from one neuron to another. They can be divided into those that perform an excitatory function and those that perform an inhibitory function.
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What is excitation?
When a neurotransmitter, such as adrenaline, increases the positive charge of the postsynaptic neuron. This increases the likelihood that the neuron will fire and pass on the electrical impulse.
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What is inhibition?
When a neurotransmitter, such as serotonin, increases the negative charge of the postsynaptic neuron. This decreases the likelihood that the neuron will fire and pass on the electrical impulse.
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Does serotonin have an excitatory or inhibitory effect?
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Does adrenaline have an excitatory or inhibitory effect?
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Describe the process of action potential in neurons.
When a neuron is activated by a stimulus, the inside of a cell becomes positively charged for a split second. This creates an electrical impulse that travels down the axon towards the end of the neuron.
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What is Introspection?


The first systematic experimental attempt to study the mind by training people to carefully and objectively as possible to analyse the content of their own thoughts/sensations

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What is structuralism?


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What is cartesian dualism? Who developed this idea?


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What is empiricism? Who proposed this idea?


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