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Approaches - Psychology A Level
Terms in this set (60)
A way of explaining behaviour in terms of what is observable and in terms of learning.
Learning by association. Occurs when two stimuli are repeatedly paired together.
A form of learning in which behaviour is shaped and maintained by its consequences. Possible consequences of behaviour include positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement or punishment.
A consequence of behaviour that increases the likelihood of that behaviour being repeated. Can be positive or negative.
Pavlov revealed that dogs could be conditioned to salivate to the sound of a bell if that sound was repeatedly presented at the same time as food. Gradually Pavlov's dogs learned to associate the sound of the bell (a stimulus) with the food (another stimulus).
Suggested that learning is an active process whereby humans and animals operate on their environment. There are three consequences of behaviour: positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement and punishment.
1) There is scientific credibility - The results from experiments are based on observable behaviour within lab environments. Therefore is highly explicable.
2) Real-life application - Operant conditioning provided the basis for token economy systems that work effectively in prisons and psychiatric units. Classical conditioning has been used to effectively treat phobias.
3) Mechanistic view of behaviour - behaviorists see humans and animals as passive and machine-like. This may mean that behaviorism applies more to animal behaviour than to human behaviour.
Social Learning Theory
A way of explaining behaviour that includes both direct and indirect reinforcement, combining learning theory with the role of cognitive factors.
Copying the behaviour of others
When an observer associates themselves with a role model and wants to be like the role model.
From the observer's perspective, modelling is imitating the behaviour of a role model.
Reinforcement which is not directly experienced but occurs through observing someone else being reinforced for a behaviour. This is a key factor in imitation.
Cognitive factors that influence learning and come between stimulus and response.
The Role of Mediational Processes
Focuses on how mental factors are involved in learning. These mental factors mediate in the learning process to determine whether a new response is required.
The Four different Mediational Processes
Attention, retention, motor reproduction and motivation.
Social Learning Theory Evaluation
1) The importance of cognitive factors in learning - SLT provides a more comprehensive explanation than just operant and classical conditioning.
2) Over-reliance on evidence from lab studies - Bandura worked in lab settings, the participants may have responded to the demand characteristics. Therefore his research says little about how children learn aggression in everyday life.
3) Underestimates the influence of biological factors - Bandura makes little reference to biological factors on learning. Boys were more aggressive than girls in Bandura's study this could have been because of their higher levels of testosterone.
Bandura et al. (1961)
Recorded the behaviour of young children who watched an adult behave in an aggressive way towards a Bobo doll. The children were equally as aggressive as the adults towards the doll.
'Cognitive' means 'mental processes' So this approach focuses on peoples mental processes.
Internal Mental Processes
'Private' operations of the mind such as perception and attention that mediate between stimulus and response.
A mental framework of beliefs and expectations that influence cognitive processing. They are developed from out experiences.
The process whereby cognitive psychologists draw conclusions about the way mental processes operate on the basis of observed behaviour.
The scientific study of biological structures that underpin cognitive processes.
Information Processing Approach
Suggests that information flows through the cognitive system in a sequence of stages that include input, storage, and retrieval.
An analogy comparing the mind to a computer. Suggests similarities in the way information is processed. Includes the concept of coding which is turning information into a usable format.
Areas Within Cognitive Neuroscience
1) In the 1860s Broca found that damage to the frontal love could permanently impair speech production.
2) Development of fMRI, and PET scans so scientists can observe the neurological basis of mental processes.
Cognitive Approach Evaluation
1) Scientific and objective methods - Highly controlled in a lab setting. Reliable and objective data produced.
2) Machine reductionism - This theory ignores the influence of human emotion and motivation on the cognitive system.
3) Application to everyday life - Can be too theoretical and abstract therefore can mean a lack in external validity.
A perspective that emphasises the importance of the physical processes in the body such as genetic inheritance and neural function.
Made up of chromosomes and consist of DNA which codes the physical features of an organism and psychological features. These are transmitted from parents to offspring.
An arrangement of organisation of parts to form an organ, system or living thing.
Relating to chemicals in the brain that regulate psychological functioning.
The particular set of genes that a person possesses.
The characteristics of an individual determined by both genes and the environment.
The changes in inherited characteristics in a biological population over successive generations.
The Genetic Basis of Behaviour
Are behavioural characteristics such as mental disorders inherited the same way as physical characteristics? Twin studies are used to determine whether certain traits have a genetic basis by comparing concordance rates. Monozygotic twins share 100% the same genes. Dizygotic twins share 50% of the same genes. Therefore monozygotic twins have a higher concordance rate because of this.
Genotype and Phenotype
The genotype is the genetic make-up. The phenotype is how the genes are expressed. The genotype is influenced by the environment too which is why identical twins look slightly different.
Evolution and Behaviour
Charles Darwin proposed the theory of natural selection - genetically determined behaviour that enhances an individual's survival will continue in future generations.
Biological Approach Evaluation
1) Scientific methods of investigation - The approach uses a range of highly precise and scientific method. This include scans such as fMRI and PET scans. Also studies such as the twin studies.
2) Real-life application - The development of psychoactive drugs that treat mental illnesses such as depression. This is a strength because suffers can manage their condition.
3) Casual conclusions - The approach offers explanations for mental illness in terms of neurotransmitters. However found a correlation not cause and effect. This is a limitation because the approach claims to have discovered causes where there is only an association.
A perspective that describes the different forces, most of which are unconscious, that operate on the mind and direct human behaviour and experience.
The part of the mind that we are unaware of but which continues to direct much of our behaviour.
Entirely unconscious, is made up of selfish aggressive instincts but which continues to direct much of our behaviour.
The 'reality check' that balances the conflicting demands of the other two parts of the personality.
The moralistic part of our personality which represents the ideal self: how we ought to be.
Unconscious strategies that the ego uses to manage the conflict between the other parts of the personality.
Five developmental stages that all children pass through. Each state there is a different conflict; the outcome of which determines future development.
0-1 years. focus of pleasure is the mouth, mother's breast is the object of desire. If not resolved there is an oral fixation which can result in smoking, biting nails, sarcasm and being critical.
1-3 years. Focus of pleasure is the anus. Child gains pleasure from withholding and expelling faeces. if not resolved anal retentive = perfectionist and obsessive. anal expulsive = thoughtless and messy.
3-5 stage. Focus of pleasure is the genital area. Child experiences Oedipus or Electra complex. If not resolved results in narcissistic, reckless and possibly homosexual behaviour.
Earlier conflicts are repressed
Sexual desires become conscious alongside the outset of puberty. If not resolved results in difficulty forming heterosexual relationships.
Psychodynamic Approach Evaluation
1) Explanatory power - The approach has provided a huge influence to western psychology and is a dominant force.
2) The case study method - Little Hans is an example of a case study, these were detailed and carefully recorded. However you can't make universal claims based on a few individuals. The findings were also incredibly subjective. This approach lacks a scientific base.
3) Untestable concepts - This approach doesn't meet the scientific criterion of falsification, it isn't open to empirical testing. These theories in this approach are untestable.
Humanistic Psychology Approach
An approach to understanding behaviour that emphasises the importance of subjective experience and each person's capacity for self-determination.
The notion that humans can make choices and are not determined by biological or external forces.
The desire to grow psychologically and fulfill one's full potential - becoming what you are capable of.
Hierarchy of Needs
A five-levelled hierarchy sequence in which basic needs (such as hunger) must be satisfied before higher psychological needs (such as esteem) can be achieved.
The ideas and values that characterises 'I' and 'me' and includes perception and valuing of 'what I am' and 'what I can do'.
The aim of Rogerian therapy; when the self-concept and ideal self are seen to broadly accord or match
Conditions of Worth
When a parent places limits or boundaries on their love of their children
Aims to reduce the gap between the self-concept and the ideal self also to cope with the problems of everyday living.
Unconditional Positive Regard
Basic acceptance of a person no matter who they are or what they do.
Humanistic Approach Evaluation
1) Reductionist - This approach looks holistically at behaviour which means this approach my have higher validity than other approaches because it considers meaningful human behaviour within a real-life context.
2) Limited Application - Rogerian therapy has revolutionised counselling and Maslows hierarchy is used to explain motivation in the workplace. However, has had limited application in psychology.
3) Positive Approach - These psychologists offer a refreshing and optimistic alternative. It sees all people as basically good, free to work towards the achievement of their potential and in control of their lives.
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