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When did Psychology become a separate academic discipline?



Who established the first psychology laboratory?

Wundt in 1879 in Germany


What was Wundt main method?



What was introspection?

introspection was asking subjects to systematically report on their inner mental processes such as emotions and sensations, and asking them to report on the quality, duration and intensity of what they felt.


How did Wundt 'introspection' approach affect Psychology?

It moved the study of mind and behaviour away from its philosophical roots adopting a more controlled, methodical way of studying internal mental processes.


Why was Introspection abandoned?

Due to the subjective (biased, unscientific) nature of subject's interpretation of their own experiences.


What did Freud develop?

Frued developed psychoanalytic/psychodynamic approach from approximately 1895 onwards.


Why was Freud's approach criticised?

Frued's emphasis on observable aspects of human behaviour attracted criticism from psychologists who argued that psychology should be scientific in aims and methods and focus on observable behaviour.


Who developed the Behaviourist approach?



What did Watson say that Psychology should be about?

He argued that psychology should adopt a strictly scientific, empirical approach focusing only on observable, measurable behaviour.


What did Behaviourism look at throughout the 20th century?

Behaviourism explored the variety of way in which behaviours are learnt, kept and unlearnt through classical conditioning, operant conditioning and social learning.


What approach dominated Psychology from the 1920's-40's?



What was Cognitive psychology studying in the 1950's?

Internal mental processes and abilities such as memory perception, attention, decision making. The development of the first computers in the 50's allowed Cognitive psychologists to model human mental processes artificially.


What did the Cognitive approach favour?

Scientific methods and controlled experimentation.


What does the Biological approach focus on in Psychology?

It focuses on the way in which internal structures and processes influence the mind and behaviour. biological psychology employs highly scientific methods and shares much in common with biology and chemistry.


From the 1920's-60's Behaviourism focus on?

It attempted to develop a more scientific approach in Psychology focusing on observable behaviour and how individuals acquire/learn behaviours through interaction with their social environment.


What is Classical conditioning?

Classical Conditioning argues that behaviours are acquired through 'stimulus-response' associations.

E.g. an event in the environment (stimulus) will cause a physiological effect (response) such as fear, happiness etc. if this association is repeated a number of times the response will automatically occur every time the stimulus is presented.


Who formulated the basics of Classical conditioning?

Pavlov 1927


What was Pavlov 1927 research that formed classical conditioning?

Dogs naturally salivated in the presence of food. He described this link as an unconditioned stimulus (UCS- the food) causing an unconditioned response (salivation-UCR).

By repeatedly pairing the unconditioned stimulus of food with a a neutral stimulus a bell ringing just before the presentation of food, pavlov found that eventually dogs salivated simply at the sound of the bell.

Therefore, the neutral stimulus of the bell had become a conditioned stimulus (CS) producing a conditioned response (CR) of salivation.


What are some practical applications of classical conditioning in psychology?

Watson later showed phobias could be acquired through CC in the 'Little Albert' experiment.

Systematic Densification which is based on the principles of CC to 'unlearn' phobic responses



What is operant conditioning?

Operant Conditioning focuses on how behaviour is influenced by the consequences of our actions.

If behaviours are reinforced (rewarded) then they are strengthen and more likely to be repeated in the future. If behaviours are punished (or ignored) they will be less likely to be repeated in the future and may eventually be extinguished.

For example, aggressive behaviours in a child could be strengthened through the positive reinforcers of praise, attention, respect, etc.


What was Skinner's 1953 study on operant conditioning?

Skinner ('53) developed a 'Skinner Box' to study learning through operant conditioning in rats and pigeons. An animal placed in the box would discover accidentally at some point that pressing a lever in the box would release a food pellet.

This positive reinforcement would increase the frequency of lever-pressing. This would also occur if the lever took away an unpleasant stimulus such as a louse noise this is negative reinforcement. Unsurprisingly, punishments such as the lever generating an electric shock would lead to decreased lever-pressing.


How is Operant conditioning used in other areas of Psychology?

Learning theory of attachment partly explains attachment through operant conditioning.

This can be described and evaluated in an approaches question on OC to provide practical applications/explanations of this approach.


What is social learning theory and who was it developed by?

SLT was developed by Bandura in the 60's and focuses on how behaviours such as aggression may be learnt via modelling and vicarious learning.

Imitation is most likely if the learner identified with the person whom they are imitating- the model.


What is Modelling?

Imitating observed behaviour e.g. aggression of a model.


What is Vicarious learning?

Imitation as a result of seeing another individual being positively reinforced (e.g. praise, popularity) for a behaviour e.g. aggression.


What is a Mediational processes?

Refer to thoughts and cognitions which influence whether we will or will not imitate others and how motivated we are to do so.


What were the 4 mediational processes Bandura identified in social learning?



What does Attention refer to as a mediational process?

The observer must observe the model behaving in a particular way


What does retention refer to a as a mediational process?

The observer must remember what they've seen.


what does reproduction refer to as a mediational process?

The observer must be capable of imitating the observed act.


What does motivation refer to as a mediational process?

The observer must be willing to imitate the observed act.


What Bandura et al 1961 study?

A study into imitative aggression based on SLT.


What was the procedure of Bandura et al 1961?

Bandura divided 72 children aged 4 into 3 groups of 12 boys and 12 girls.

In condition 1 the children saw a male and a female adult model physically and verbally attack a 5' inch tall inflatable Bobo doll.

In the 2nd condition the adults did not aggress against the doll.

In condition 3 there was no adult model at all.

Children were then taken to a room and prevented from playing with some attractive toys to frustrate them.

They were then taken to a 3rd room with a Bobo doll and various weapons.


What were the findings of Bandura 1961?

Bandura's observation of imitative aggression found that children in condition 1 who had witnessed the violent model were far more likely to aggress against the bobo doll than those in other conditions.


What was the Conclusions from Bandura (61')

The research implies that violence in the media and the family can cause imitative aggression in children.


Where else is Bandura (61') study used in Psychology?

Aggression topic

Gender topic.


Evaluate the strengths of Learning approaches to psychology?

Behaviourism adopts a strictly empirical approach: i.e. it only focuses on observable behaviour which can be measured and tested. Equally, Behaviourism employs scientific methods - experiments conducted under tightly controlled laboratory conditions aimed at understanding the cause-effect relationship which govern the acquisition, maintenance or extinction of behaviours.

Behaviourism illustrates how our social environment - family, peers, teachers, etc- influences our behaviour through reinforcement, punishment or imitation. Clearly this is an important 'nurture' influence governing a huge range of behaviours ranging from gender role to aggression to language acquisition. Therefore, Behaviourism is important in understanding how our social experiences with others in the family, our peer groups, at school, work etc mould our behavioural responses.

Learning theory has been used to develop methods for controlling behaviour in real-world situations: for example, classroom and family discipline, managing the behaviour of prisoners or inmates in mental institutions and treating mental disorders such as phobias through systematic desensitisation.


Evaluate the weaknesses of the Learning approach?

Behaviourists argued that humans are born a 'tabula rasa' (blank slate) whose behaviour, personality and attitude are acquired as a result of learning. Behaviourism is criticised fr its extreme 'nurture' viewpoint: e.g. it argues that all behaviours are acquired through learning and ignores the importance of biology, instinct, evolution and cognition in influencing behaviour. Thus behaviourism is reductionist and deterministic.

The laws of Behaviourism were originally formulated using research conducted on animals such as rats, dogs and pigeons. Behaviourists believed that fundamental laws governing the acquisition of behaviours were similar for all species including humans. Clearly, there is a problem generalising from animals to humans in regard to complexity of human cognitive processes. Although animals may response fairly mechanically to conditioning, human cognitions make human behavioural responses much more complex.

You can also gain marks for evaluation by stating what Learning theory ignores which other approaches do take account of.


What is reductionist?

Reduces all behaviour to learning


What is deterministic?

Argues that our behaviours are determined by previous learning experiences and we possess no free-will or choice.


What is 'tabula rasa'?

A blank state or having no memory.


What does Cognitive mean?

Refers to the study of human mental processes.


Why was Cognitive psychology developed?

It was developed from the 1950's onwards partly as an improvement on Behavioural Psychology which failed to recognise the importance of mental processes in determining behaviour; partly as a result of the development of computers which were able to mimic human mental processes.


Cognitive psychology is concerned with internal mental processes such as?

Perception- How we take in and make sense of external environmental stimuli

Attention- How we focus in on and filter out external environmental stimuli

Memory- How we retain and recall information

Language- The use of mental symbols to represent, manipulate and communicate aspects of internal and external reality

Thinking- Judgement, reasoning, logic, problem-solving.


What is Cognitive Psychology?

Cognitive Psychology is concerned with all the ways in which knowledge of the world is attained, retained, and used.


What are Schemas?

Schemas are mental maps of understanding about the world, ourselves and others..

For example, we have schemas of understanding about how to use the Underground, how to act in a job interview, how a policeman is likely to behave.


How do schemas help us?

Schemas help us to interpret incoming information quickly and effectively, this prevents us from being overwhelmed by the vast amount of information we perceive in our environment.


How can schemas affect eye-witness testimony?

Schemas about race, gender and social class have been shown to bias witness's memories of events in that stereotypes may cause us to believe that some people are more likely to commit crime.


How is the mind often conceptualised as a computer/information processor?

The mind has an input of information from the external world via the senses; throughput in the form of memory, thinking and language, and output in the form of decision making, speech and action.


What is parallel processing?

Is processing different tasks at once (e.g. driving a car and holding a conversation)


What is behaviour to the Cognitive approach?

behaviour is the result of information processing. Thoughts can be both conscious and non-conscious, these thoughts pass through stages called internal mental processes.


What is the Computer model?

Is how we can think of the structure of the mind/brain system as analogous to a computer, such as CPU= Brain, Coding = Turning stimuli into thoughts, Memory stores= Specialist memory areas in the brain. Output= behavioural responses.


What are Theoretical models?

Are like flow chart models used in computer programming and are a representation of how information flows and is processed through a mental system, such as memory or attention.


What are two ways the Cognitive approach uses to study internal processes?

Theoretical models and Computer models.


How are models such as theoretical and computer models useful?

Models produce testable theories that can be studied with scientific methods and inferences made from experiments.


What is Assimilation?

Is when we add new information to existing schema.


What is Accommodation?

Is when an old schema has to be adapted, or new schema has to be created.


What is a Piaget?

Suggested as children developed they acquired new schema through interaction with the world and others.


What are 3 types of schemas?



What is an inference?

Inference refers to going beyond the immediate evidence to make assumptions about mental processes that cannot be directly observed.


What are strengths of the cognitive approach?

The cognitive approach has been useful in researching, describing and understanding the effects of mental processes and cognitions on behaviour. An example of this is Loftus and Palmer's study on eyewitness testimony showed that memory can be warped and distorted after the event by leading questions. Studies such as these have real-life applications in this case how witnesses are questioned by police and cross-examined by lawyers. Similarly, cognitive therapies are widely employed in the NHS and research evidence indicates they are an effective in the treatment of a wide range of disorders such as depression, stress, anxiety and social phobias.

Cognitive approach lends itself to laboratory experimentation, therefore hypotheses can be tested under highly controlled conditions, confounding variables can be eliminated and cause-effect relationships between variables can be established. The testing of mental processes such as memory or perception often makes use of technical measuring instruments which ensures high levels of precision in measurements taken.


What are some of the weaknesses of the cognitive approach?

Although the computer analogy of the mind is, in some respects, suitable, computers essential number-crunch quantitative data at high speeds. Human are far less capable than computers in this respect, but computers do not possess most of the characteristics of the human mind - intuitive decision-making, emotion, personal beliefs and motivations etc. Thus humans are qualitatively different to computers. Even the most advanced computer technology is far from able to mimic complex human mental states.

The cognitive approach views thought processes as all important in deterring emotional state and behaviour. It ignores, therefore, alternative influences on behaviour such as instinct, genetics, neurotransmitters, learning experiences and social environment. For example, a depressive's maladaptive cognitions could be the result of a biochemical imbalance, and mood and behaviour could be improved by a drug such as Prozac rather than through altering cognitions.

You can also gains marks for evaluation by stating what the Cognitive Approach ignores which other approaches do take account of.


What is Cognitive neuroscience?

Cognitive neuroscience brings together knowledge of the structure and functions of the brain from Biological psychology with cognitive psychologists' knowledge of mental processes such as memory and perception.

It aims to find out how the brain structures influence the way we process information and map mental cognitive functions to specific areas of the brain. This is done using brain imaging techniques such as PET scans.


What was a Cognitive neuroscience study?

Patient HM study


What was the Cognitive neuroscience study Patient HM?

HM had his hippocampus removed in an operation to reduce his epilepsy. After the operation he could remember things he had just been told suggesting that his STM was intact, but could not transfer this information to the LTM. Thus he could not form new long-term memories. He could, however, remember LTM's before the surgery. This provides evidence for the MSM's argument that STM and LTM are 2 separate stores.


What do you need to know for the Biological approach?

The influence of genes

Biological structures and Neurochemistry on behaviour

Genotype and Phenotype

Genetic basis of behaviour

Evolution and Behaviour


What is the Biological approach?

A perspective that emphasises the importance of physical processes in the body such as genetic inheritance and neural function.


What are genes?

They make up chromosomes and consist of DNA which codes the physical features of an organism (such as eye colour, height) and psychological features (such as mental disorder, intelligence).

Genes are transmitted from parents to offspring.


What is Biological structure?

An arrangement or organisation of parts to form an organ, system or living thing.


What is Neurochemistry?

Relating to chemicals in the brain that regulate psychological functioning.


What is a genotype?

The particular set of genes that a person possesses.


What is a phenotype?

The way in which the genotype is modified and influenced by the environment is referred to as the phenotype.


What is evolution?

The changes in inherited characteristics in a biological population over successive generations.


What was Darwin's theory of evolution?

It argues that physical and psychological characteristics which increase the chances of an organism surviving and reproducing (adaptive traits) mean that these characteristics will be more likely to be passed onto the next generation.


What is an example of Darwin's theory of evolution?

During the evolution of homo sapiens traits such as physical strength and intelligence would lead individuals to being more likely to survive and reproduce, thus passing on these characteristics genetically to the next generation.


What can be used to see the influence of genes on behaviour?

Twin studies.


How can twin studies be used to see the affect of genes on behaviour.

By studying large numbers of identical (Mz's) and non-identical twins (Dz's) where 1 of the twin pair has a characteristic such as schizophrenia we can calculate a concordance rate.

If the concordance rate is higher for MZs than DZs we can decide that the disorder is genetic to some extent.

For example, concordance rates for depression are about 46% of MZs and only 20% of DZs.


What is the influence of neurochemistry on behaviour?

It is believed that inherited genes which cause mental disorders operate by causing abnormal neurotransmitter levels.

Excessive levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine are associated with schizophrenia.


What drug is used to treat schizophrenia?



What are the symptoms of Schizophrenia?




What is the effect of Phenothiazines?

Lowers dopamine which in turn reduces delusions and hallucinations


What are side effects of using Phenothiazines to treat Schizophrenia?

Stiffness of limbs


What are the symptoms of Parkinson's disease?

Stiffness of limbs


What is the drug used to treat Parkinson's disease?



What is the effect of L-Dopa?

Increases dopamine - reduces stiffness of limbs


What are the side effects of L-Dopa?

Delusions and Hallucinations.


What is brain localisation?

The link between brain structures and their functions.


What are the two methods brain localisation can be studied via?

Invasive methods

Non-invasive methods.


What are invasive methods brain localisation can be studied via?

Animals can have brain sites electrically or chemically stimulated, or cut/burnt out.

Psychologists then monitor the animal for changes in behaviour.


What are non-invasive methods brain localisation can be studied via?

Brain scans such as CAT,PET and MRI scans use a variety of techniques to 'see' inside live brains. By asking people tasking scans to perform certain tasks and monitoring electrical activity and blood flow we have been able to build up a picture of brain localisation.


Where else in psychology is the biological approach used?

Explanations and treatments for Schizophrenia or OCD

Biological explanations of Gender role

Neural and hormal mechanisms in aggression

This material could be described and evaluated in an approaches question on the Biological approach to provide practical applications/ explanations from this approach.


What are the strengths of the Biological approach?

The biological approach employs scientific methods such as laboratory experiments on physiological structures and processes conducted under controlled conditions. These produce quantitative data which can be statistically analysed to show cause-effect relationships between variables. An example of this is experimentations have proven that schizophrenia is linked to high levels of neurotransmitter dopamine. The drug chlorpromazine blocks dopamine receptors, reduces dopamine levels and lessens the disorder's symptoms. Thus scientific experimentation allows us to determine cause-effect relations between biological and psychological factors.

Findings have resulted in practical applications which reduce suffering. An example of this is chemotherapy, the use of drugs to treat mental disorders improves the quality of life of the mental ill. Before the invention of drug therapies, there was little that could be done to help schizophrenics; chlorpromazine reduces the severity of sumptuous and helps schizophrenics live independently and take care of their own basic needs. Continually, anti-depressants may improve the mood of depressives to motivate them to engage in therapy and become more sociable


What are weaknesses of the biological approach?

The biological approach is determinist- all behaviours are believed to be biological in origin, the influence of 'nurture' factors is ignored. For example, biological psychologists focus on the role of genetic and neurological factors in understanding intelligence and under-estimate the role of social end environmental factors or past experiences. Thus, the biological approach oversimplifies human psychology.

The biological approach is reductionist it reduces the complexity of human consciousness and behaviour to biological 'parts' and ignores the role of cognition. For example, the biological approach reduces mental disorders such as depression or schizophrenia to genie and neurological causation and ignores the role that an individual's thoughts about their self, others and their life may contribute to the onset of a order.

Much experimental research conducted by biological psychologists is based on animal research. For example Selye's research into how bodies respond to stress was based on the stress responses of rats. Apart from the obvious physical differences, the human stress response is influenced by complex sets of conditions about the stressor whereas animals generally respond to stress in a fairly predictable manner. Thus, findings from animals studies are not directly generalisable to humans.

(You can also gain marks for evaluation by stating what the biological approach ignores which other approaches do take account of)


What is the Psychodynamic approach about?

Don't need to know good read.

The role of the unconscious, the structure of personality that is ID, EGO and Superego, Defence mechanisms including repression, denial and displacement and psychosexual stages.


Frued viewed the personality as being composed of three parts, what are they?





What is id as a part of personality?

The biological, instinctual, asocial part of ourselves concerned with the satisfaction of basic desires such as food and warmth, and drives such as sex and aggression.


What is superego as a part of personality?

Concerned with obeying social norms and rules, shaped by the authority and discipline of the parents and society. Composed of the conscience which punishes the ego with feelings of guilt and the ego-ideal which rewards us when we behave in socially appropriate ways.


What is the ego as part of personality?

Manages the conflict that takes place between the impulses of the Id and the realities of the external world.


What did Frued argue about the role of the unconscious?

Frued argued that only a small part of the mind was Conscious - the far greater proportion is Unconscious and thus we have limited insight and self-understanding of our own motives, emotions and behaviour.


Who was the founder of the psychodynamic approach?

Sigmund Frued


How is the mind like an iceberg according to Frued's Psychodynamic approach?

The conscious, like the tip of an iceberg is visible to everyone.

However below the surface is the unconscious that is bigger and has a bigger influence than consciousness.

Just under the surface is the pre-conscious mind, things such as memories that we can call on if needed.


What are defence mechanisms?

They are unconscious and ensure that the ego is able to prevent us from being overwhelmed by temporary threats or traumas. However, they often involve some form of distortion of reality and as a long-term solution they are regarded as psychologically unhealthy and undesirable.


What are the three types of defence mechanisms?





What is the defence mechanism denial?

Refusing to face up to an unpleasant aspect of reality


What is the defence mechanism repression?

Blocking of unacceptable or unpleasant feelings, thoughts or impulses


What is the defence mechanism displacement?

Re-directing thoughts and impulses from one person to another

E.g. one feels aggressive towards one's teacher but aggression is displaced onto a weaker, more accessible target.


What is psychosexual theory of development?

The psychosexual theory of develop proposes that children pass through five stages from birth to adulthood. If a child finds a stage problematic or to pleasurable fixation occurs which will result in clusters of personality traits emerging.


What is the Oral stage of the psychosexual stages?

Attitudes to pleasure are formed as the infant receives satisfaction through oral activities.


What is the anal stage of the psychosexual stages?

Focus of pleasure is the anus. Child gains pleasure from withholding and expelling faeces.


What is the Phallic stage of the psychosexual stages?

Focus of pleasure is genital area.

Child experiences the Oedipus or Electra complex.


What is the Latency stage of the psychosexual stages?

Earlier conflicts are repressed.


What is the Genital stage of the psychosexual stages?

Sexual desires become conscious alongside the onset of puberty.


What are the 5 psychosexual stages in order?



What happens if there is over-indulgence at the oral stage 0-1years?

The infant is fed whenever it demands food, this results in traits such as being overly optimistic, dependency on others, egocentricity.


What happens if there is under-indulgence at the oral stage 0-1years?

This results in traits such as pessimism, envy, cynicism, greed and possible 'oral' habits.


What happens if a child is Anally retentive at the Anal stage 1-3years?

Causes traits such as obsession with cleanliness, orderliness, control, obedience, conformity, being overly moral.


What happens if a child is Anally expulsive at the Anal stage 1-3 years?

Lax discipline








What happens if there is unresolved conflict at the Phallic stage 3-5yrs?

Phallic personality - narcissistic, reckless, possibly homosexual


What happens if there is unresolved conflict at the genital stage?

Difficulty forming heterosexual relationships.


What are the strengths of the psychodynamic approach?

Many studies report psychodynamic therapy as effective, particularly for clients whose psychological problems arose in childhood. Lindgren 2010 found that after 18 months of therapy 134 young adults who had suffered long-term depression, anxiety and low self-esteem reported their symptoms had significantly decreased. Psychodynamic therapies are still recommended by the NHS in some instances, for example, complex cases of depression accompanied by other symptoms.

Frued highlights irrational behaviour and thought processes arguing that we are motivated by deep, Unconscious desires and instils we are unaware of and have little control over. This perspective is important in helping us understand the many irrational behaviours individuals and groups display. An example the obsession with cleanliness, routine and regularity which marks major symptoms of OCD, or an anorexic's refusal to eat.


What are weaknesses of the Psychodynamic approach?

Fruedians methods are unscientific. He is criticised for constructing theories through self-analysis or based on unrepresentative studies of a small number of neurotics. Thus, the psychodynamic approach is subjective, its findings not generalisable to the population as a whole, and Frued is often accused of making false links between case studies and theory he wished to prove. For example, the concept of the Oedipus complex was based on Frued's memories of his own childhood and the case study of Little hans. This case study is highly criticisable for generalising from a sample of 1 boy, and that Freud may have interpreted Han's behaviour to provide proof for the Oedipus Complex.

Frued's theories are based on case studies generally conducted on young 19th venture viennese neurotic women, therefore, his theories are gender biased and may not be relevant to 21st century society.

You can also gain marks for evaluation by stating what psychodynamic theory ignores which other approaches focus on/do take account of.


What is the Humanistic Approach about?

Free will, Self-actualisation and Maslow's hierarchy of needs; focus on the self, congruence, the role of conditions of worth. Influence on Counselling Psychology.


What is the Humanistic approach?

An approach to understanding behaviour that emphasises the importance of subjective experience and each persons's capacity for self-determination.


When did the Humanistic approach emerge and what was it critical of?

Humanistic Psychology emerged in the 1960's and was critical of behaviourist and psychodynamic arguments that behaviour was controlled by either the Unconscious mind or the environment. (Both these approaches are 'determinist').


What is Free-will?

The notion that humans can make choices and are not determined by biological or external forces.


What is Self-actualisation?

The desire to grow psychologically psychologically and fulfil one's full potential, becoming what you are capable of.


What is Maslow's Hierarchy of needs theory?

He argued that humans all exist somewhere on a hierarchy associated with particular needs/desires.

At a basic level people need to satisfy simple physiological needs to do with food, warmth and survival.

One these needs are satisfied we are motivated to focus on needs relating to physical and psychological safety.

The next level relates to love and belonging, the desire for acceptance from family and friends.

The 4th level relates to self-esteem, feeling positive towards oneself and sense of competence and achievement.

Once all of these needs have been satisfied we may engage with the need for self-actualisation, the desire for personal fulfilment.


What is Self-actualisation associated with?



Thinking in original, unconventional ways.


What are the 5 stages on Maslow's hierarchy of needs?

Physiological needs

Safety needs

Belonging and love needs

Esteem needs



How is the Humanistic approach different to all the other approaches?

All the other approaches are determinist to some degree their suggestion that our behaviour is entirely or at least partly, shaped by forces over which we have no control.

Humanistic psychology is quite different in this respect claiming that human beings are essential self-determining and have free will. This does not mean that people are not affected by external or internal influences but we are active agents who have the ability to determine our own development.


What was Rodgers theory about self?

Rogers argued that for personal growth to be achieved, an individual’s self must have congruence (compatibility) with their ideal self.


What would happen in Rodgers theory if the gap between ideal self and an individuals self was too big?

If too big a gap exists between the two ‘selves’, the person will experience a state of incongruence and self-actualisation won’t be possible.


In order to reduce the gap between the self-concept and the ideal concept, what did Rodgers develop?

Client centred therapy.


What is Client centred therapy?

Where clients are encouraged to explore their emotions and thoughts and discover their own solution to their problems. The therapist encourages the client to talk openly and tried to enter into the world view of their client and clarify exactly what the client is expressing.

The therapist should be empathetic, give unconditional positive regard to the client without imposing conditions for worth.


Where did Rodgers say issues such as worthlessness and low self esteem come from?

Childhood, as during childhood according to Rodgers we develop a sense of self and self-esteem from our parents, friends, teachers etc. A child's self esteem may be dependent on approval from parents. If a parent only gives conditions of worth this may interfere with positive psychological growth and health. Therefore Rodger argued parents should give unconditional positive regard to their children.


What is the idea of Self?

The ideas and values that characterise 'I' and 'me' and includes perception and valuing of 'what i am' and 'what can I do'.


What is Congruence?

The aim of Rogerian Therapy; when the self concept and ideal self are seen to broadly accord or match.


What are Conditions of worth?

When a parent places limits or boundaries on their love of their children; for instance a parent saying to a child, 'I will only love you if you study medicine' or 'if you split up with that boy'.


What are strengths of the humanistic approach?

The humanistic approach emphasises our ability to exercise free-will and choice in deciding how to behave, thus the approach is not deterministic.

Humanistic Psychology is not reductionist. Whereas behaviourism reduces behaviour to what has been learnt in the past, the biological approach focuses on genes, the brain and neurotransmitters, the Humanistic approach focus on the whole person and understanding them in context of their life and their experiences.

Person/Client-centred counselling is supportive of people with psychological problems and argues they must be treated with respect and unconditional positive regard. The aim of therapy is to empower the client so that they are able to help themselves overcome their own problems. This should provide a more long-term improvement in mental health.

The approach focuses on how humans make sense of their experiences, thus, there is a focus on individuals' personal, subjective experience which cannot be laboratory settings. Thus there is more a focus on the 'whole' human being and what they feel is important and relevant to their life


What are weaknesses of the humanistic approach?

Humanistic psychology's emphasis on free-will and choice may be a reflection of wealthy, western cultures where money and liberal laws allow people to choose how to act and behave and pursue personal growth rather than dealing with basic issues such as food and safety.

Due to focus on personal subjective experiences, Humanistic Psychology is not open to scientific study, therefore it is difficult to 'prove' Humanistic approaches are right or wrong or make scientific predictions about how people are likely to behave.

Client centred therapy is little use for individuals with low intelligence, learning difficulties or mentally ill, as they may lack the insight or ability to reflect on their own life and experiences and benefit from the guidance and advice provided by the therapist.

The focus on 'conscious experience' ignores the fact that we may be motivated by unconscious forces we have little awareness of as the psychodynamic approach argues.

Humanistic Psychology has been criticised for being overly-optimistic about human nature e.g. that humans are fundamentally 'good' and naturally attempt to make 'positive' progress in their lives. This contrasts strongly with Frued's view where humans are thought to be motivated by unconscious drives which are often aimed at self-satisfaction and a disregard for others.


What are the assumptions of the biological approach?

Behaviour is controlled by evolution, genes (genotype and phenotype), neurotransmitters, the brain.


What are the methods of investigating the biological approach?

Lab experiments to assess influence influence of biological structures and processes.

Correlation studies e.g. MZ-DZ concordance rates. Use of animals.


Is the biological approach scientific?

The most truly scientific of the approaches.

Objective measurement of physical structures and processes.


Is the biological approach nature or nurture?

Nature, but does allow for nurture, see influence of phenotype of genotype.


Is the biological approach free will or determinism?


Behaviour largely determined by genes, neurotransmitters, brain: e.g. IQ, mental disorders, gender are 'determined'.


Is the biological approach holism or reductionism?

Highly reductionist, all behaviour can be explained through reference to biological structures and processes.


Is the biological approach idiographic or nomothetic?

Nomothetic, large representative samples in for example, twin studies.

Some use of case studies: e.g. brain damage.


What are the main topics of the biological approach?

Gender-genes, hormones.
Aggression-neural, hormonal.


What are the assumptions of the behaviour approach?
(CC+OC) (Learning theory)

All behaviour learnt via interaction with physical and social environment.

No innate behaviours/influence of biology.


What are the methods of investigating the behavioural approach?

Lab experiments to asses how behaviours are acquired, maintained and extinguished through CC and OC.

Use of animals.


Is the behavioural approach scientific?

Highly scientific empirical approach focusing on objective measurement of outwardly observable behaviour.


Is the behavioural approach natural or nurtured?

Nurture. Humans have no innate behaviour- all is learnt.

Behaviour can be shaped through CC/OC.


Is the behavioural approach free will or determinist?


All aspects of behaviour shaped through learning experiences. Free-will is an illusion


Is behavioural approach holism or reductionist?

Highly reductionist, all behaviour can be explained through reference to past learning experiences.


Is the behavioural approach idiographic or nomothetic?


Large, representative samples to determine broad rules of how behaviours are learnt.


What are the main topics of the behavioural approach?

Learning approaches



Learning theory


What are the assumptions of Social learning theory?

Behaviour learnt through imitation and vicarious learning.

Mediational processes.

Link between Behaviourism and Cognitive approach


What are methods to investigate social learning theory approach?

Lab experiments to assess how behaviours are acquired through observation and imitation.

E.g. Bandura and aggression.


Is the social learning theory approach scientific?

It is a scientific empirical approach focusing on objective measurement of outwardly observable behaviour.


Is the social learning theory approach natural or nurtured?


Learning is a major influence. Behaviour is shaped through exposure to role models.


Is the social learning theory approach free will or determinism?


Behaviour shaped through observation/imitation of role mode.

Mediational processes (cognitions) so there is some free will.


Is social learning theory holism or reductionism?

Reductionist, importance of role models, but imitation is mediated by cognitions (mediational processes) therefore does allow for influence of thought.


Is social learning theory approach idiographic or nomothetic?

Nomothetic, large representative samples to determine broad rules of how behaviours are learnt.


What are the main topics of the social learning theory approach?

Learning approaches



Gender- role of culture/media.


What are the assumptions of the cognitive approach?

Focus on mental processes (memory)

Mind is an information processor.

Cognitions affect emotions and behaviour.

Cognitive neuroscience.


What are methods of investigating the cognitive approach?

Lab experiments to draw inferences about how mental processes function.

Construction of theoretical models to explain cognitive processes.


Is the cognitive approach scientific?

Scientific empirical approach focusing on objective measurement of cognitive processes.

But theoretical modes, not physical evidence.


Is the cognitive approach natural or nurtured?

Nature and Nurture.

Innate cognitive structures (nature), however we can 'learn' new ways of thinking (nurture) both adaptive and maladaptive.


Is the cognitive approach free will or determinist?

Bit of both.

Innate cognitive structures and processes are deterministic, but a degrees of free-will via ability to learn new ways of thinking.


Is the cognitive approach holism or reductionist?

Reductionist, models of mental processes reduce complex neurology down to simpler theoretical models.

Thinking governs emotions and behaviours.


Is the cognitive approach idiographic or nomothetic?

Nomothetic, large representative samples

Some use of case studies e.g. brain damage and memory


What are the main topics of the cognitive approach?

Memory topic


Gender- Kohlberg and GST

Schizophrenia and treatment

Aggression and cognitive priming.


What are the assumptions of the psychodynamic approach?

Emphasis on mind and behaviour as irrational and governed by unconscious impulses.

Id, super-ego, Ego, defence mechanisms, psychosexual stages.


What are ways to invest age the psychodynamic approach?

Case studies.

Qualitative data.

Psychoanalysis - free association, dream analysis, projective tests.

Scientific methods viewed as reductionist.


Is the psychodynamic approach scientific?

Highly unscientific.

Accused of being subjective and biased, interpretative.

Lack of empirical evidence.

Theoretical models

Difficult to scientifically test.


Is the Psychodynamic approach natural or nurtured?

Nature + Nurture.

Innate structures e.g. Id and unconscious + early childhood experiences (super-ego, psychosexual stages)


Is the psychodynamic approach freewill or determinist?


Behaviour determined by early childhood experiences with parents (nurture) + Id unconscious mind (nature)


Is the psychodynamic approach Holism or reductionist?


Explanations of behaviour are highly complex and 'deep'.

Views biological and behavioural approaches as overly reductionist.


Is the psycho-dynamic approach idiographic or nomothetic?


Conclusions drawn from case studies are applied to general population e.g. Little hans and Oedipus Complex.


What are the main topics of the psycho-dynamic approach?




What are the assumptions of the Humanistic approach?

Focus on how individuals subjectively make sense of their world.

Free-will, self-actualisation of potential, personal growth,


What are the methods of investigating the humanistic approach?

Case studies.
Qualitative data.

Exploration of individual through counselling and attempt to allow personal fulfilment and overcome distress.


Is the humanistic approach scientific?

Rejects scientific methods as reductionist.

Accused of being subjective - biased, interpretative. Lack of empirical evidence.


Is the humanistic approach natural or nurtured?


Past experiences influence thoughts/behaviour.

We have the potential to change. However, desire to self-actualise is innate (nature).


Is the humanistic approach free will or determinist?


Psychodynamic and Behavioural approaches viewed as overly deterministic.

We have free-will to change and progress.


Is the Humanistic approach Holism or Reductionism?


Views psychodynamic and behavioural approaches as reductionist, failing to address complex, personal, subjective experience of life.


Is the humanistic approach idiographic or nomothetic?


Conclusions drawn from case studies are applied to general population.

Values the uniqueness of individuals.