Debate - Idiographic and Nomothetic Flashcards Preview

Psychology - Issues and Debates > Debate - Idiographic and Nomothetic > Flashcards

Flashcards in Debate - Idiographic and Nomothetic Deck (8)
Loading flashcards...
1

Define Idiographic

The idiographic approach involves the study of individuals and the unique insights each individuals give us about human behaviour. The Ideographic approach is qualitative because the focus is on gaining insights into ¬human behaviour by studying unique individuals in depth rather than gaining numerical data from many individuals and determining average characteristics.

2

Define Nomothetic

The nomothetic approach involves the study of a large number of people and then seeks to make generalisations or develop laws/theories about their behaviour. This is also the goal of the scientific approach. Quantitative research is based on numbers and statistical analysis. Such calculcations require data from groups of people rather than an individual.

3

Evaluate the Idiographic and Nomothetic Approach To Psychology:

Sigmund Freud

An example of the idiographic approach is Sigmund Freud who used case studies of his patients as a way to understand human behaviour, such as the case of Little Hans. This consists of almost 150 pages of verbal quotes recorded by Han’s father and descriptions of events in Hans’ life, plus Freud’s own interpretation of the events. Freud did produce generalisations from his case studies, but these are still idiographic because they are drawn from unique individuals.

4

Evaluate the Idiographic and Nomothetic Approach To Psychology:

Humanistic Psychologists

Humanistic psychologists also favour the idiographic approach as they are concerned with studying the whole person and seeing the world from the perspective of that person. What matters is the persons subjective experience and not something that someone else might observe of their behaviour

5

Evaluate the Idiographic and Nomothetic Approach To Psychology:

Biological/Behavioural Approach

An example of the nomothetic approach is the biological approach which seeks to portray the basic principles of how the body and brain work. Behaviourist psychologists produced general laws of behaviour (classical and operant conditioning). Their research may not have involved thousands of human participants, which is the more typical nomothetic approach, but they were seeking one set of rules for all animals (humans and non humans).

6

Evaluate the Idiographic and Nomothetic Approach To Psychology:

Cognitive Psychology

Cognitive psychology is also a nomothetic approach in its aim to develop general laws of behaviour which apply to all people, such as understanding typical memory processes. The cognitive approach does use case studies (such as HM, and KF) but these are required because in order to understand the working of the normal mind, it is often necessary to look at rare abnormal cases.

7

Evaluate the Idiographic and Nomothetic Approach To Psychology:

Idiographic is Time Consuming

A criticism made of the idiographic approach is that the approach is more time consuming. Both approaches are based on large amounts of data, but one is in terms of collecting large amounts of data about one person(idiographic) and the other is in terms of number of people(nomothetic). Collecting large amounts of data from a group of people takes time but relatively speaking is quicker because data can be generated and processed quickly.

8

Evaluate the Idiographic and Nomothetic Approach To Psychology:

Individual Level in the Idiographic Approach

A great strength for the idiographic approach is that it has been to focus psychology back on the more individual level. Allport, who was the first to use the terms ‘Idiographic and Nomothetic’, argued that psychologists had lost sight of what it was to be human and had to much emphasis on measurements. He suggested a drastic reorientation of the approaches and that’s what the ideographic approach did. As Allport debated that it is only by knowing the person as a person that we can predict what that person will do in any situation.