Test Your Psychology Knowledge: The 6 Approaches of Psychology

Hello Students!

Greetings students of psychology! This hub was created so that you can make sure you know how to outline each of the approaches of psychology and act as a reference point for you to check your knowledge!

Who was this unfortunate but important figure?

The answer: Phineas Gage! And what approach does he relate to? ---- Biological -----
The answer: Phineas Gage! And what approach does he relate to? ---- Biological ----- | Source

By the end of this hub you should be able to:

  1. Outline the Behaviourist Approach
  2. Outline the Biological Approach
  3. Outline the Cognitive Approach
  4. Outline the Humanistic Approach
  5. Outline the Social Learning Theory Approach
  6. Outline the Psychodynamic Approach
  7. What are the similarities and differences between the Humanistic and Psychodynamic Approaches
  8. What are the similarities and differences between the Behaviourist and Social Learning Approaches

1. An Outline of the Behaviourist Approach

Behaviourism
- Human behaviour is learnt and not inherent.
- Based around Edward Thorndike's Law of Effect which states that behaviour is more likely to be repeated if positive consequences result from it (and vis versa).
- Explains behaviour with Frederic Skinner's 'operant conditioning' and Ivan Pavlov's 'Classical Conditioning'. Uses the Skinner Box experiments and Pavlov's Dog experiments as evidence for this.
- The little Albert experiment provides evidence for Behaviourism's effect on human beings.
More on behaviourism here: What is the Behaviourist Approach?

2. An Outline of the Biological Approach

- Human behaviour is inherent in our anatomy which is determined by our genes and hormones. Therefore, we cannot control our own behaviour.
- Phineas Gage is used as evidence because his head trauma lead him to act more aggressively towards those around him.
- Tan-Tan, a patient who couldn't speak properly but could understand speech, is used as evidence for cortical specialisation - the idea that the brain has different parts that control different functions. The part of the brain responsible for understanding speech is "Broca's Area" whilst the part of the brain for formulating speech is "Wenicke's Area".
- In order to study the brain and its structure, a key focus of the biological approach, many techniques are used: MRI, fMRI & PET scans, post mortem analysis and live brain surgery are all examples.

3. An Outline of the Cognitive Approach

- Revolves around the idea that the human brain functions like a computer.
- Attempts to discover the functions and detail how each are carried out and when.
- Believe that some individuals process information differently and this is what results in differing behaviour.
- Covers the computational and the information-processing approaches.

See here for more: What is the Cognitive Approach

4. An Outline of the Humanistic Approach

- Believes that people have to be looked at as a whole in order to understand their behaviour (it is holistic)
- Holds the believe that we have free will
- Focusses on the 'potential' of people and their 'actualisation'
- Famous for its 'Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs' invented by the Russian Abraham Maslow
- Key figures include Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers who believed we must be loved unconditionally and not for certain qualities to be happy.

5. An Outline of the Psychodynamic Approach

- Focusses on the subconscious part of the mind
- Invented by Freud and revolves around the Oedipus and Electra theories which state that children have sexual urges for their parent of the their opposite sex.
- The sexual desires cause conflict which result in psychological disorders.
- The case of Little Hans is used for evidence.
- Freud believed children went through the following stages: Oral, anal, phallic, latency
and genital.
- Freud believed the mind was split into the following three components: Id, Ego, Superego
- Being 'stuck' in these stages causes problems and characterises a human being.

6. An Outline of the Social Learning Theory Approach

- The social learning approach focusses on the intermediating factors that result in our deciding whether or not to imitate behaviour.
- It also identifies the effects of having other people around you when performing certain things.
- It studies the varying consequences of believing other people are watching you, and what differences in these people provoke which reactions.

See more here: Social Learning Theory

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