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Psychology A level > Approaches > Flashcards

Flashcards in Approaches Deck (62):

What does the behaviourist approach assume?

That all behaviour is learned , therefore a person is the product of their environment


What do behaviourists argue about the measurement of psychology?

That in order for psychology to be scientific, it should focus on observable behaviour which can be objectively measured, rather than mental processes which can only be inferred


What is classical conditioning?

Learning by association


What are natural reflexes according to behaviourists?

They are made up of a stimulus and response to that stimulus


How is an association formed?

NS --> UCR,
NS + UCS --> UCR,
CS --> CR


What was Pavlov's research?

Pavlov's dogs: noticed that dogs began to react to stimuli that coincided with food (a bell on the door) and started to salivate before any food arrived


What is operant conditioning?

learning by consequences


What does operant conditioning suggest?

that reinforcement and punishment shape our behaviour


What is reinforcement?

Anything that has an effect of increasing the likelihood of a behaviour being repeated


What is positive reinforcement?

If a behaviour has a pleasant consequence, it increases the likelihood of the behaviour being repeated


What is negative reinforcement?

If a behaviour results in the removal of something negative, it increases the likelihood of that behaviour being repeated


What is punishment?

If a behaviour results in unpleasant consequences, it DECREASES the likelihood of that behaviour being repeated


What are the two types of reinforcement schedules?

continuous: behaviour is continually rewarded to establish a behaviour
variable: behaviour is sometimes rewarded to maintain the behaviour


What was Skinner's research?

Skinner box: controlled environment allowed him to manipulate rat's behaviour (reward it with food for pushing a lever, punish it with electric shocks for other behaviour)


What are the strengths of behaviourism?

It is scientific and testable- supported by research (e.g. Skinner and Pavlov)
it has real life applications: if you know how behaviours are formed you can undo them through counter-conditioning (e.g. systematic desensitisation)


What are weaknesses of the behaviourist approach?

It takes a mechanistic view of behaviour and relies heavily on animal studies


What is extinction?

When the CR declines and disappears because the CS is continually repeated in the absence of the UCS


What is spontaneous recovery?

Where the CR reappears in a weakened form in response to the CS


What is generalisation?

When stimuli similar to the CS produce the CR


What is another study into classical conditioning?

Little Albert study: Where little Albert was taught to fear rats through association with loud noises, he then generalised this to all white fluffy objects
He was similarly taught to fear buttons, however this fear was harder to teach and less long-lasting suggesting evolutionary preparedness


What does the cognitive approach focus on?

informational processing (of course this still affects behaviour but their focus is much more on these mental processes)


What are the key mental processes?

Memory, perception and thinking


How do cognitive psychologists study mental processes?

indirectly; by making inferences about what goes on in the brain on the basis of their behaviour. From these inferences they develop theories about internal mental processes


What is a schema?

A package of beliefs and explanations on a topic that come fro prior experience
they can affect behaviour


How are schemas useful?

They help us to take shortcuts in thinking, create a mental framework for information and fill in gaps
we are also born with basic schemas (e.g. motor schema for blinking)


Why are schemas not useful?

They can also lead to faulty conclusions and unhelpful behaviour e.g. negative stereotypes


What two models are used to explain the function of the brain?

Theoretical and computer models


Why is the computer model used?

Both the mental processes /the brain and computers are information processors and this processing can be compared


What is the computer model?

It compares how we take information (input) store it or change it (process it) and recall it when necessary (output)


How have computer models helped us?

By understanding how humans process information, store it, and make decisions we can programme computers to show the same 'human like' behaviours (Artificial Intelligence)


What is the purpose of theoretical models?

To explain mental processes and make inferences about mental processes


What is an example of a theoretical model?

E.g. the multi store model memory model- a theoretical model used to explain memory


What is cognitive neuroscience?

Where cognition and biological processes are integrated- the scientific study of the influence of brain structures on mental processes


How has cognitive neuroscience aided us?

Advances in brain scanning (PET scan, fMRI scan) means we can now describe the neurological basis of mental processes
It has been possible to work out which parts of the brain are involved in the processing of words


What is an example of a study using cognitive neuroscience?

Eleanor McGuire et al (2000) London taxi drivers study:
Studied male London taxi drivers and compared their MRI scans with those of male non-taxi drivers
Found taxi drivers' enlarged hippocampi
Found longer time taxi driving = larger hippocampus


What are the strengths of the cognitive approach?

Scientific (highly controlled methods + biological basis in cognitive neuroscience)
Real life applications (treatment of mental illness, eyewitness testimony)
Less deterministic than other approaches (element of choice within our thinking)


What are the weaknesses of the cognitive approach?

Machine reductionist (humans are not simply computers, ignores emotion, motivation)
Studies often lack ecological validity (artificial tasks unusual in real life)


Who proposed social learning theory?

Albert Bandura


Why was SLT proposed?

Proposed as a development of the behaviourist approach. Argued that CC and OC couldn't account for all learning- we also learn by observing others


What is the focus of SLT? (in terms of stimulus and response)

Argues there are important mental processes that occur between the stimulus and response (as well as studying stimulus and response)


What are the general principles of SLT?

Combining behaviourist and cognitive approach
Concerned with HUMAN not animal behaviour
Learning occurs indirectly in a social context by observing role models


What are the two types of role models?

Live models- e.g. friends, family, teachers, colleagues
Symbolic models- e.g. celebrities in the media


What are the mediational processes?

Attention (noticing the behaviour), Retention (remembering the behaviour), Reproduction (It must be physically possible), Motivation (there must be a reason to want to copy the role model)


What role models are we more likely to notice?

Those that we consider to be more similar to ourselves (e.g. in age)


What is modelling?

Imitating the behaviour of a role model or demonstrating a specific behaviour that may be imitated


What is identification?

Associating oneself with a role model and wanting to be like them


What is imitation?

Copying the behaviour of others


What is vicarious reinforcement?

Learning a behaviour by watching someone else being reinforced for that behaviour


What are the strengths of SLT?

Research support for identification (Fox et al)
Real life applications (life campaigns e.g. children see children do)
Less deterministic than biological and behaviourist approaches


What did Fox et al find in relation to identification?

That pps who viewed a 'virtual' model similar to themselves exercising engaged in more exercise in the 24 hours following the experiment in comparison to those who viewed a dissimilar model exercising.


What are the limitations of SLT?

Over-reliance on evidence from lab studies (e.g. Bobo doll study)
Underestimates influence of biological factors (e.g. gender/hormone differences)
Difficulty demonstrating cause and effect (difficult to prove direct cause of correlation)


What are the key assumptions of the biological approach?

All human behaviour has a biological origin, so to fully understand human behaviour we must look at our biological structures (e.g. genes, brain, nervous system, neurochemistry)
All thoughts feelings, thoughts and behaviour have a n underlying physical basis


What are the key methods of the biological approach?

(Scientific!) fMRIs, EEGs, twin studies, adoption studies, biological testing of hormone and neurotransmitter levels


What is heredity?

Some characteristics can be passed on from generation to generation through the genes. This is the reason offspring often take after their parents


What is the problem with family studies?

We cannot separate shared environment and shared genetics


What are concordance rates?

The extent to which a characteristic is shared between twins
If a higher concordance rate is found for MZ than DZ twins it suggests that the factor is genetic


What are the two types of twins?

Mono-zygotic: identical twins (MZ)
Di-zygotic: non-identical twins (DZ)


What is an example of concordance rates?

e.g. concordance rates for schizophrenia are 48% for MZ twins and 17% for DZ twins- suggesting that schizophrenia has a strong genetic component


What are genotype and phenotype?

genotype: actual genetic makeup- what genes are possessed
Phenotype: how genes are expressed (what genes are 'switched on' - a result of the environment)


What are some strengths of the biological approach?

Scientific- based in fact
research support (?)


What are some weaknesses of the biological approach?

Heavily reliant on twin studies (which are flawed)


How are twin studies of MZ twins flawed?

The theory is that it excludes environmental factors, however higher concordance rates could be due to the fact that MZ twins look the same, so are more likely to be treated more similarly than DZ twins