The Approaches

Emma Chell
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The Approaches, Psychology

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Emma Chell
Created by Emma Chell over 3 years ago
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Question Answer
Who was Wundt? (5 Key Facts) •First person to call himself a psychologist. •First to suggest the structure of the mind could be studied scientifically. •Believed in using experimental methods. •Broke down behaviours into their basic elements. •The above technique is called introspection.
What is introspection? "Looking into" yourself to gain knowledge about your emotional and mental state. Example: observers were shown an object and would be asked about the inner processes they experienced when looking at it. Results can be compared and could tell us about perception.
What are the two evaluations of Wundt? -His methods were unreliable meaning that other researchers did not gain the same results using his introspective methods. -Introspection is not accurate as we do not have much knowledge about processes underlying our behaviour and attitudes. Therefore we may inaccurately describe them.
What is reliability? If findings from research are replicated consistently they are reliable.
Psychology started as a science when a group of researchers began to believe that human behaviour should be studied scientifically. What is this called? Empiricism.
What is determinism? Something causes humans to behave in a particular way.
What is predictability? If behaviour is caused/determined we can predict how humans will behave in different situations.
In psychology, what is being objective? Doing something without bias/letting your opinion get in the way.
What does systematic mean? Logically working your way through something many times in order to study a particular behaviour.
What does replicable mean? Repeating something over and over again to see if you get the same results.
Strengths of the scientific approach (evaluation points). +The scientific approach relies on objective and systematic methods. This means we are not just accepting people's opinions as facts as so gives this study accurate results. +If scientific theories no longer fit the facts, they can be changed/abandoned. Therefore, incorrect theories do not last. +These methods can be repeated and so results can be checked.
Weaknesses of the scientific approach (evaluation points). -Controlled environments tell us little about how people behave in natural environments, so we may not be studying real life behaviour. These studies can have low ecological validity. -Much of the subject matter in psychology is unobservable, e.g. memory. Meaning it potentially can't be studied 100% accurately.
What are the 3 main theories in learning approaches? •Classical conditioning. •Operant conditioning. •Social learning theory.
What is classical conditioning? This is known learning through ASSOCIATION. Learning happens when a neutral stimulus is consistently paired with an unconditioned stimulus so that eventually the conditioned stimulus produces a response.
What is operant conditioning? This is also known as learning through TRIAL & ERROR or CONSEQUENCES. This is learning through reinforcement and punishment. If a behaviour is followed by reinforcement or a positive outcome, it will be repeated. If it is punished it is less likely to occur again.
Evaluation of classical conditioning. +It has practical uses and applications. This has lead to the development of treatments for lots of anxiety disorders and so has made a contribution to the psychological community. -All species differ in their capacity to learn. Most animals are only prepared to learn associations that are important in terms of their survival needs. This makes it difficult to generalise result from other species to humans. -Both classical and operant conditioning have been accused of ignoring other explanations of human behaviour. There could be cognitive and emotional explanations which are ignored by learning theory.
Evaluation of operant conditioning. +Most of this theory is based on research using the experimental method meaning cause and effect can be established: we know that in Skinner's experiment, pressing the lever accidentally caused the rats to learn to obtain food. -Skinner's research involved animals rather than humans, the use of rats and pigeons tell us very little about human behaviour. -Both classical and operant conditioning have been accused of ignoring other explanations of human behaviour. There could be cognitive and emotional explanations which are ignored by learning theory.
What was Pavlov's experiment/research into classical conditioning? AIM: To investigate whether dogs learn through association. METHOD: Lab experiment- Pavlov noticed that his dogs salivated not just at food but with objects associated with, e.g. a bowl. He decided to see if it was possible to teach dogs to salivate at the sound of a bell. UCS=UCR (food=saliva) UCS+neutral=UCR (food+bell=saliva) CS=CR (bell=saliva) RESULTS: After several trials, dogs started to salivate at sound of bell. CONCLUSION: To summarize, classical conditioning involves learning to associate an unconditioned stimulus that already brings about a particular response (i.e. a reflex) with a new (conditioned) stimulus, so that the new stimulus brings about the same response.
What is UCS, UCR, NEUTRAL, CS & CR? UCS- Unconditioned stimulus UCR- Unconditioned response Neutral- No response CS- Conditioned stimulus CR- Conditioned response
Explain extinction and stimulus generalisation? Extinction- the conditioned response, if not reinforced, can just disappear. Stimulus generalisation- Animals will also respond to other stimuli that are similar to the CS.
What was Skinner's research/experiment into operant conditioning? AIM: To see if rats learns through the consequences of their actions. METHOD: Lab experiment with "Skinner box"- a special cage developed for rats. As the rats move around, they accidentally press a lever and as a result, food falls into the cage. This continues to happen several times. A schedule of reinforcement (allowing food every third press rather than every time) was also investigated. RESULTS: Very soon rats began pressing the lever to obtain food. A schedule of reinforcement was successful in preventing extinction. CONCLUSION: They had learnt through trial and error to obtain food.
What is positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement? Positive reinforcement- This is when a consequence is pleasant (e.g. food). It makes the behaviour more likely to occur again. Negative reinforcement- This is when something unpleasant is removed and so increases a behaviour.
What is punishment? Punishment is where is a behaviour is followed by an unpleasant consequence decreasing the likelihood of the behaviour occurring again.
Evaluation points of the research by Pavlov and Skinner(positive and negative). +The research was a lab experiment meaning there was a high degree of control over variables e.g. when bell was sounded (Pavlov) and when food was released (Skinner). This means we can be sure of why learning took place. +The research had a very clear procedure. This means that it could (and has been) checked and repeated many times, making it very reliable. -The research was conducted on animals. This makes it difficult to generalise to humans as humans have more complex thought and emotions that affect their learning. -There is low ecological validity. The learning took place in a lab with clear routine and procedure in place meaning it can't really explain how animals learn in the wild where they would not be exposed to a regular pattern of learning experiences.
Explain social learning theory. •We learn through modelling. •There a three steps to this: observation of models, imitation of models and reinforcement. •Observation of models can be live(e.g. teachers, parents or peers) or symbolic(e.g. a character on the television). •Imitation of models depends on the characteristics of the model, an individual's ability to imitate the task and the consequences of their behaviour. If we like the a model's characteristics, we relate to them and if we feel able to repeat their behaviour, we are likely to. •Reinforcement can be either direct(when our own actions are rewarded or reinforced) or vicarious(when we see the behaviour of other rewarded/reinforced). Both result in behaviour being repeated.
What is the role of mediational processes? •Bandura said that in order for learning to take place, the observer must form mental representations of the behaviour displayed by the model and the probable consequences. •In other words, we consider what would happen if we behaved in the same way as the model and if so, what would happen to us. •If we think the consequences would be positive(a reward) rather than negative(a punishment), we will imitate the model's behaviour.
What are the mediational processes? Attention- we can only copy if we see the behaviour. Retention- we have to remember it. Reproduction- we have to be able to do it. Motivation- we need a reason to do it. If we believe that the consequences will be positive (a reward) rather than the negative (a punishment) we imitate the model's behaviour.
List the positive evaluations for social learning theory with the mediational processes. +This theory can help us understand real life behaviors such as crime. Akers found that criminal behaviour increases in individuals who are exposed to models who have committed crime. This shows how criminal behaviour can be learnt through observing and imitating role models. +Evidence to support the model comes from Ulrich who found that the strongest cause of violence in adolescence was association with delinquent peer groups. This shows that we learn from models that we identify with. +There is support for identification from Fox and Bailenson who found that participants were more likely to imitate a computer generated human taking exercise that looked like them rather than one that didn't. This shows that if we identify with a model, we are more likely to imitate them.
List the negative evaluations for social learning theory. -Some argue that we will only copy behaviour(e.g. criminal) if we hold criminal attitudes to begin with. This means it could be pre-existing attitudes that influence their behaviour. -It reduces the complex issue of how we learn to a simple explanation. We probably learn in a variety of ways and are also influenced by our biology. This means that the theory is over-simplistic.
What was Bandura's 1961 research? AIM- to investigate whether aggression can be learnt through observation, imitation and reinforcement. METHOD- The experiment involved children being shown films of a model behaving aggressively or non-aggressively towards a "Bobo doll". Acts included hitting it with a mallet and verbal aggression. The children were then shown a room of attractive toys that they were not allowed to play with. This was designed to frustrate them. RESULTS- 1)Children that had observed the aggressive model behaved aggressively. 2)Children who had observed no aggressive behaviour displayed no aggressive behaviour. 3)1/3 who observed aggressive models repeated the aggressive remarks. 4)None of the children who observed non-aggressive models made aggressive remarks. CONCLUSION- children observe and imitate models. In follow up study, Bandura and Walters found that children who saw the model rewarded for aggressive acts were more likely to show a high level of aggression in their own play.
List the strengths of Bandura's 1961 Bobo doll research. +This study is a lab experiment, meaning all variables can be controlled and so we can be sure that the observed violence is causing the children's aggression. +Due to it being in a lab, this experiment has a clear procedure and so the study could and has been repeated. This makes it reliable and means that the results can be checked.
List the weaknesses of Bandura's 1961 Bobo doll research. -This study lacks ecological validity as it is artificial. Children may understand the difference between a person and a doll and so would not necessarily behave that way with a real person. -The study only tells us about the short-term effect and so it may not result in aggressive behaviour with children in the long-term.
What is the cognitive approach? •These processes are often referred to as "thinking", this includes: Perception, memory, language, problem solving and attention. •None of these can be seen, making them difficult to study or explain. Psychologists have invented many theories, ideas or models to try and explain them. These are often based on observations of people's behaviour.
What do cognitive psychologists believe? 1)Thoughts should and can be studied scientifically. 2)The mind works like a computer with input, processing and output.
There are 3 types of model described in the section about cognitive psychology, what are these? •Theoretical •Computer •Schema
What is the theoretical model (with an example)? These are ideas-that are usually diagrammatical-that are used to try and explain how things work such as memory and attention. These are often very simplified representations based on current research evidence. An example is the multi store model of memory.
What is the computer model (with an example)? These compare the human brain to a computer and focus on information processing. They focus on the way information is 'coded' or put into memory and how it is compared to previously stored information to complete a task. The Information processing model: INPUT- from the senses/environment. Coding. e.g. Claire sees a tarantula PROCESSING- info is processed. e.g. she processes the information and registers it as a threat. OUTPUT- this leads to a behavioural response. e.g. Claire runs away crying.
What is a schema model (with an example)? These are cognitive representations or to put it more simply, packages of stored information. We organise our knowledge of the world into these schemas. These schemas allow us to predict the world and how others will behave and how we should behave in different situations. An example of a schema (perhaps looking at likes or dislikes); dogs; the opera; cheese.
What do neuroscientists do? Neuroscientists are now able to study the living brain. They often study neurotypical individuals and compare them to people who have experienced damage to the brain. The development of brain scanning machines has given them details, images and information about the brain.
Name two types of scanning machines and what they do. •PET(Positron Emission Tomography)- These study the activity of the brain e.g. effects of drugs or as Burnett found using PET Scans, certain areas of the brain become active when people feel guilty. •MRI(Magnetic Resonance Imaging)- This studies the structure of the brain and can help to detect abnormalities such as stroke damage. By comparing people's brains and giving people specific tasks to complete during scanning, we can map the brain with regards to which areas perform which tasks and what takes place during information processing.
List the strengths of the cognitive approach. +The approach is scientific. This means that it relies on rigorous methods for collecting evidence not people's opinions which may have bias. +The approach may have many scientific applications. These are practical ways that the approach has been put to good use such as treatments developed for OCD.
List the criticisms of the cognitive approach. -There is a big difference between the processing that takes place in the human brain and computers. Computers don't make mistakes or ignore information. This makes comparisons difficult. -The model ignores factors such as emotion and motivation. This means tat it over-simplifies human behaviour. -Many studies of cognitive psychology lack ecological validity as they have little in common with people's everyday experiences.
Describe the research into schemas (War of the Ghosts). AIM- to see how a story is retained and whether it is changed due to cultural schemas. METHOD- telling a group of people a story and asking them to retell it later on or to another group of people. In the original study, Bartlett (1932) cycled around a British university campus, told the story and used serial reproduction (they are told to repeat it in a short period of time and to do so repeatedly over days, weeks, years.) RESULTS- the results showed distortion as story was put through leveling, sharpening and assimilation. CONCLUSIONS- remembering is not a passive but rather an active process, where information is retrieved and changed to fit into existing schemas. This is done in order to create meaning in the incoming information. According to Bartlett, humans constantly search for meaning.
Define distortion, assimilation, leveling and sharpening. Distortion: Participants tried to change the story as they remember it. The three patterns of distortion that Bartlett found are: Assimilation: The story became consistent with the cultural expectations of the participants as they unconsciously changed the story to fit the norms of British culture. Leveling: The story also became shorter with each retelling as participants omitted information which was seen as not important. Sharpening: Participants also tended to change the order of the story in order to make sense of it using terms more familiar to the culture of the participants. They also added detail and/or emotions.
Outline the weaknesses of Bartlett's study. -As a lab experiment it lacks ecological validity. As it is artificial, people may not change information in the same way in the real world. -Another weakness is that it was conducted in 1932 when people were often unfamiliar with any culture other than their own meaning historical bias may mean that different results could be collected today as people would not change the information.
Outline the strengths of Bartlett's study. +It is a lab experiment with a lot of control of variables. This means that only a person's existing knowledge affected recall of the story. +It also has a clear procedure meaning that it can and has been replicated and similar results found.
What is the biological approach? Viewing humans as biological organisms and studying them as they would any other animal.
What are genes? Genes are the genetic codes that we inherit from out parents that carry information about characteristics such as eye colour, height, age of puberty, temperament and intelligence.
Define genotype and phenotype. •Genotype- The genetic code written in the DNA of the nucleus of individual cells e.g. dominant gene for blue eye colour and recessive gene for brown eye colour. Phenotype- The physical appearance that results from this inherited material e.g. brown eye colour.
What is the genetic basis of behaviour? Although genes influence our physical characteristics, there is still debate about how much of human behaviour is influenced by our genes. This is the nature/nurture debate. There is growing evidence to suggest that genes play a role in personality, intelligence and susceptibility to certain disorders such as Miguel who found a link between OCD and genetics in a study of identical twins. Also, Holland found a genetic link between eating disorders and genes in identical twins.
Define nature and nurture. Nature- genetics. Nurture- external factors such as environment and upbringing.
List information on the biological structure of the brain. •Largest part of the brain is the cerebrum (85% of total mass) and the outer part is the cerebral cortex. •The cerebral cortex is divided into 2 halves called hemispheres. Each is then divided into a further 4 parts (lobes) •The cerebral cortex is responsible for higher order functions such as thought and language.
List information on the biological structure of neurons and the nervous system. •Sensory neurons respond to our senses and send info to the brain where as motor neurons receive info from our brain and muscle movement. •The nervous system is split into the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) and the peripheral nervous system (somatic and autonomic nervous systems). The ANS connects the central nervous system and the senses, relaying info from the brain to the body. The somatic nervous system relays info from the senses to the brain and spinal cord. •The nervous system carries messages from one part of the body to another using individual nerve cells known as neurons. This is done via electrical signals e.g. they control breathing and eating.
In neurochemistry, what are the body's chemical messengers? •Neurotransmitters e.g. serotonin and dopamine. •Hormones e.g. testosterone and oestrogen.
What are neurotransmitters? •Chemicals that are released when a nerve impulse reaches the end of a neuron. •A neurotransmitter travels from one neuron to the next across a junction called a synapse. •Excitatory neurotransmitters trigger nerve impulses and cause an action in the brain. •Inhibitory neurotransmitters inhibit nerve impulses and calm the brain. •E.g. Crockett found that when serotonin is low there is increased aggression.
What are hormones? •These are chemicals produced by the endocrine glands. •In response from a signal to the brain, hormones are secreted directly into the blood stream by the endocrine glands. •They travel to target cells and stimulate the receptors in the cell. •This causes a reaction in the cell changing its activity. •For example, Carre found higher levels of testosterone in Canadian ice hockey players when playing at home.
What are evolutionary approaches? •These suggest that all human behaviour has evolved to either help us survive or help our genes survive through successful reproduction. •Biological evolution is where the genetic make-up of the population changes due to natural selection. •Those individuals who have the most successful traits most suited to their environment will reproduce the most successfully and will pass on the traits to their offspring. This will result in more of the population gaining these traits. •We evolve as humans with the traits that best help us survive. •For example, Buss found that human males evolved to find young women attractive and to seek physical characteristics. Females evolved to find males who are older and have status that is attractive and to seek financial/personality characteristics.
What are the strengths of the biological approach(at least 3)? +It uses very scientific methods such as experiments and brain scans. This means that people's opinions and attitudes can't bias the results. +There are lots of positive applications and uses of the research. For example knowing about serotonin led to the development of drugs to treat depression. +It is more acceptable to those who view psychology as a science as results can always be checked and tested due to clear scientific method. +There is a lot of empirical research to support biological influences on behaviour. This makes elements of this theory very strong.
What is the weakness of the biological approach? -It is reductionist as it ignores cognitive, emotional and cultural factors, all of which can significantly influence behaviour.