Strengths and Weaknesses of
1 Psychodynamic Approach
1.1 The psychodynamic approach enables the researcher to
gain insight into internal processes that were not deemed
suitable for study by behaviourists psychologist.
1.2 Data collection is subjective rather than
objective and the therapist/researcher could
plant ideas in the mind of the participant,
1.3 The emphasis on the individual inevitably
leads to small sample size, which means
the findings cannot be generalised.
1.4 Findings cannot be subjected to scientific scrutiny.
1.5 The interview method enables the collection
of rich, in depth data.
1.6 The focus on the individual enables the researcher
to gain an in-depth understanding of that individual.
2 Physiological Perspective
2.1 The physiological approach enables
us to understand the biological basis
of human behaviour.
2.2 Recent advances in both genetic
research and the application of
modern technology (MRI scans)
have greatly extended our
understanding of how biology
2.3 The Physiological approach is generally
scientific and uses rigorous and objective
data collection techniques.
research is ofter
which means that
cause and effect
may not be
2.5 Physiological psychologists are sometimes criticised for
determinism because they attribute behaviours to innate
physiological factors rather than to choice/free will.
2.6 Physiological psychologists
are sometimes criticised for
reductionist because they
reduce behaviours to specific
3 Social Approach
3.1 Social psychologists have, in the past, sometimes broken
ethical guidelines and risked causing psychological harm to
participants. However, present-day social psychologists make
every effort to maintain high ethical standards.
3.2 Social approach studies are
often high in ecological
validity because they often
study people in real-life
3.3 The social approach enables us to
gain an understanding of the
influence of situations and other
peoples reactions to our behaviour.
3.4 The social approach enables us to understand
social cognition - in other words, what we think
and feel about our own behaviour.
3.5 With the social approach it can be
difficult to devise a reliable, valid
measure of human interactions.
3.6 Social psychologists do not always
have control of variables as they study
human interactions (using
observations or field experiments) and
these cannot be controlled in the
same way as, for example, cognitive
tasks in laboratory experiments.
4 Individual Differences Approach
4.1 The individual differences
approach sometimes deals with
very small sample sizes, which
means the results are not
4.2 The individual differences approach
helps us understanding issues of
mental health psychological
4.3 The individual differences
approach enables us to
determine which aspects of
human behaviour are general to
the species and which are
shaped by individual factors.
4.4 The individual differences approach
often uses a detailed case-study
approach that provided rich data.
4.5 Individual differences psychologcy may lead to
labelling if individuals are categorised as different
from the norm, with labels such as 'dysfunctional'
or of 'low intelligence' or neurotic'.
4.6 Psychometric tests attempt to ensure traits
such as intelligence and personality that
may not really be amenable to
5 Developmental Approach
5.1 A case-study approach is
sometimes used, which enables
the collection of rich, longitudinal
5.2 The developmental approach enables
us to understand how cognition and
behaviour change across a lifespan.
5.3 The developmental approach
often uses well-controlled
studies as experiments to
5.4 Much developmental researcg focuses on
children and this raises withical issues,
particilaurly in the case of very young
children who cannot give informed consent
or understand debriefing.
5.5 There can be practical difficulties involved in
working with children. It can be difficult to
ensure that they understand instructions, they
can have difficulty concentrating on tasks and
they ay be more subject to suggestion than
5.6 Developmental psychology tends to focus on
developmental norms and may underestimate
the ole of individual differences.
6 Cognitive Approach
6.1 The cognitive approach frequently deals with
inner rocesses that are not observable. This
means that researchers are often dependant on
self0report for their data and such data are not
always seen as objective.
6.2 The cognitive approach helps us theorise about
the way in which mental processes occur it is not
usually directed at answering questions about the
physical processes that underlie processes, such
as how memories are stored in the brain.
6.3 The cognitive approach applies rigorously,
scientific approaches to the study of mental
processes and how they shape behaviour.
6.4 Cognitive approaches studies often use the
experimental methods which can limit the
ecological validity of the findings.
6.5 The cognitive approach enables us to gain
insights into the inner processes that are not
6.6 Cognitive studies often use the
experimental method, which
enables identification of causes
and specific behaviours.
7 Behaviourist Perspective
7.1 The behaviourist perspective is limited
to observable behaviours and therefore
do not provide insight into internal mental
7.2 The behaviourist perspective is
determinist. If all behaviour is
conditioned, there is no room for free
will in explaining human behaviour.
7.3 The behaviourist perspective is
reductionist. This means that it
reduces the complexity of human
behaviour to a set of stimulus
7.4 The behaviourist perspective applies the
principles of the scientific method to the
study of human behaviour,
7.5 The behaviourist
perspective provides a
useful framework for the
treatments of a range of
7.6 The behaviourist perspective
provides valuable insights into the
effects and experience on cognition
including, the developments of
dysfunctional cognitions such as