The Behavioural Approach

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AS level psychology approaches - behavioural.

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The Behavioural Approach
  1. Classical Conditioning
    1. We learn through a stimulus and response action involuntarily when we learn to associate a stimulus with a resulting behaviour.
      1. Example - UCS>UCR UCS+CS>UCR CS>CR EXAMPLE WITH BABIES Food(UCS)>Pleasure(UCR) Food(UCS)+Caregiver(CS)>Pleasure(UCR) Caregiver(CS)>Pleasure(CR)
      2. Pavlov realised that a dog would salivate when presented with food so he began to ring a bell each time they were presented with food. Eventually the dogs would salivate at the sound of the bell alone as they made an association with the bell and food.
        1. Weakness - As an animal was used, we cannot generalise the findings to humans as we as much more complex in the way that we behave, meaning we may not associate in the same way.
          1. Strength - the idea is still used today to treat problem behaviours which suggests the theory is accurate.
        2. Operant Conditioning
          1. We learn through the consequence of behaviour. if weare reinforced, this strengthens the behaviour and we are more likely to repeat it. however if we are punished, we are less likely to repeat the behaviour.
            1. POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT - receiving a reward when a certain behaviour is performed. EG. Verbal Praise
              1. NEGATIVE REINFORCEMENT - when a certain behaviour is performed in order to avoid something unpleasant. EG. Doing homework to avoid a detention
              2. Skinner used a rat in a box and when the rat pressed a lever, food would be presented. At first they pressed it accidently but eventually repeated the action as they would be rewarded with food. Also, they would press the correct lever in order to avoid receiving an electric shock.
                1. strength - it has practical applications such as being used in schools when praising correct answers, suggesting it's accurate.
                  1. weakness - it only accounts for simplistic behaviours and it might not be that this can explain the more complex behaviours in humans
                2. EVALUATION OF CONDITIONiNG
                  1. As they focus on observable behaviour, they allow psychologists to be objective and replicate the studies to see if findings are reliable which helps to establish Psychology as more scientific.
                    1. They have real life applications such as operant conditioning in prisons and and classical can be used to treat phobias. This supports the theories as if they can be used in the real world then there must be truth to them.
                      1. They do not account for thought and conscious processes which explains humans to be quite machine like and this is a very simplistic view.
                        1. it does not account for free will and choice, but instead suggests that our behaviour is determined by our environment such as past experience and reinforcement. Therefore, it is deterministic as it suggests we are influenced only by other factors.
                          1. As the main studies were on animals, it is difficult to generalise the findings to humans as may not behave in the same way for the same reasons as we are much more complex. Also, the studies are unethical as they were exposed to harmful situations and this may be the reason for their behaviour, not the conditioning.
                          2. Social Learning Theory
                            1. Assumes that behaviour is learned from the environment. Behaviour is learnt through observation & imitation of others. We learn through stimulus & response. There are 4 mediational processes between: attention, retention, reproduction, motivation. We observe a role model and imitate the behaviour (modelling). We are more likely to imitate the behaviour if we can identify with the role model. Vicarious reinforcement helps us to decide whether to imitate the behaviour. If we see the role model being rewarded for their behaviour, we are motivated to model the behaviour.
                              1. Attention: we notice the behaviour being performed by the role model
                                1. Reproduction: if we are able, we will perform the observed behaviour.
                                  1. Retention: we store the information in our long term memory.
                                    1. Motivation: if there is a level of incentive, we will continue to display this behaviour in the future.
                                    2. Bandura Study
                                      1. Aim: to see the effect of a model on behaviour & if the sex of a model influences a same-sex and opposite-sex participant differently.
                                        1. Method: 36 Male & 36 Female children 4-6 years old. An adult of each gender acted as a role model. 4 groups saw an aggressive model, 4 saw non-aggressive behaviour. They were further divided into same-sex & opposite-sex models. Put into a room on their own with a role model and a bobo doll, a hammer & other toys. The aggressive model hit the doll with a hammer and shouted violent things. The others saw the model playing nicely with the doll & other toys. After 10 minutes they were taken to another room and told not to play with anything whilst left alone. They were observed for 20 minutes.
                                          1. weakness - a bobo doll is designed to be punched so the children may not have been behaviour aggressively but actually just playing.
                                            1. strength - it can be replicated and as similar results have been found, the reliability of the findings increases.
                                            2. Findings: Children who observed an aggressive role model showed more aggression towards the bobo doll. Boys showed more aggression than girls. Those with the same sex role model showed more aggression
                                            3. EVALUATION
                                              1. It expands on the conditioning theories as it accounts for the importance of the cognitive process between a stimulus and the resulting behaviour. This is good because it is a more expansive account of behaviour as it includes the mediational processes.
                                                1. It accounts for cultural differences within behaviour because it suggests we learn from other individuals, as well as through media. This is a strength as it can explain why different behaviours occur within different cultures.
                                                  1. It can be used in real life for things such as adverts for weight loss and healthier diets as the vicarious reinforcement and role models that people can identify with persuades people to become healthier. This is good because it has real life applications suggesting it must work in the real world which strengthens the theory.
                                                    1. A lot of the studies that support the theory are lab-based meaning they’re artificial so the results can’t be generalised to everybody. This weakens the theory as not everybody may learn in the way that SLT suggests.
                                                      1. It does not account for biological factors that could influence behaviour such as hormones and genes.
                                                        1. It may not be true that others always cause our behaviour. A person may possess certain traits that make them behave in such a way and they choose to surround themselves with people who behave in a similar way. This weakens the theory as it is difficult to establish a clear cause and effect.
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