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What is Empiricism?

The belief that all knowledge is derived from sensory experience. It is generally characterised by the use of the scientific method.


What is the Scientific Method?

Refers to the use of investigative methods that are objective and replicable and the formulation, testing and modification of hypotheses based on these methods.


What are lab experiments?

Lab experiments are what is used by behaviourists to ensure control.


What are Scanning techniques?

Scanning techniques are what is used by biological psychologists to provide empirical data.


What are the strengths of the scientific method?

It is self-corrective- if scientific theories no longer fit the facts, they can be refined or abandoned.

Because psychologists are always reacting each other's experiments, it is hard for a theory that does not explain the facts to hang on for very long.


What are the weaknesses of the scientific method?

Tells us little about how people act in natural environments. Concentrates on objectivity and control in observations, much of the subject matter in psychology is unobservable - psychology is the most inferential science.

Not all psychologists agree with the scientific method - If human behaviour is not subject to the laws and regularities implied by scientific methods then predictions become impossible and these methods inappropriate.


Who was Wilhelm Wundt?

Wilhelm Wundt was the first psychologist, he moved Psychology from its philosophical roots to that of controlled scientific research.


What did Wilhelm Wundt came up with?



What is Introspection?

The studying of the mind by breaking up conscious awareness into basic structures of thoughts, images and sensations in response to a stimulus.


How did Wilhelm Wundt test introspection?

He asked people to focus on an everyday object and look inwards, noticing their feelings.


Why were introspection experiments easily replicated?

All introspections followed the same standardised procedures which allowed them to be replicated.


What did introspection focus on?



What did Wilhelm Wundt work pave a way for?

His work paved the way for later controlled research and the study of mental processes by cognitive psychologists.


What are strengths of introspection discovered by Wilhelm Wundt?

Still useful in scientific psychology today, hunter used introspection as a way of measuring happiness and found that when teenagers energies were focused on a challenging task, they were more upbeat in comparison to an everyday task. Still useful for measuring certain behaviours and has some relevance in contemporary research.

Introspection is also controlled allowing casual relationships to be concluded.


What is Social learning theory?

Social learning posits that people learn by observing others.

Models provide examples of behaviour that can be observed by individuals and later reproduced in imitation.


What are the four factors affecting how much an individual imitates the behaviour of a model?

Identification with the model
Characteristics of the model
Vicarious Reinforcement
Mediational processes


What is identification as part of social learning theory?

Identification refers to the extent to which an individual can relate to a model (e.g. sex, ethnicity, social class) and feels that they are similar to that person.


What are the characteristics of a model and how do they affect imitation of behaviour?

Imitation of behaviour can increase depending on- the characteristics of the model, the observers perceived ability to perform that behaviour and the observed consequences of behaviour.


What is Vicarious reinforcement as part of social learning theory?

Vicarious reinforcement is when individuals learn about the likely consequences of an action and adjust their behaviour accordingly.


What are Mediational processes as part of social learning theory?

Mediational process are cognitive factors that influence learning and come between stimulus and response.

This includes attention, retention, motor reproduction and motivation.


What is imitation?

Imitation is the copying the behaviour of others.


What is Modelling?

From the observer's persepective modelling is imitating the behaviour of a role model.

From the role model's perspective, modelling is the precise demonstration of a specific behaviour that may be imitated by an observer.


Why is Social learning theory often described as the bridge between traditional learning theory and the cognitive approach?

Because it focuses on how mental factors are involved in learning. These mental factors mediate in the learning process to determine whether a new response is acquired.