Idiographic and Nomothetic Flashcards Preview

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

Flashcards in Idiographic and Nomothetic Deck (10)
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What does this debate centre around?

  • This debate centres around the different approaches to psychological investigation, and if emphasis should be placed on individual cases as a means of understanding behaviour, or should be placed upon groups of people in order to formulate general laws of behaviour.


What does idiographic approach focuses on?

  • focuses on the individual and emphasis uniqueness and subjective experience.
  • This approach to psychological investigation is rich and in depth and thus favours qualitative methods in research e.g. case studies.
  • There is no attempt to compare the findings of this research to a larger group standard or norm.


What is example of idigrpahic approach?

  • For example, as part of the psychodynamic approach Freud used case studies such as the case of ‘Little Hans’ which contained descriptions from Hans’s father about Hans’ life.
  • This meant that Freud focused on individual experience when explaining human behaviour.


What is nomothetic approach?

  • The nomothetic approach attempts to summarise the differences between people through generalisation.
  • The main aim is to produce general laws of behaviour in order to control and predict future behaviour.
  • This is based on the study of groups and the use of statistical/quantitative techniques.


What is example of nomothetic approach?

An example of this, is seen in Piaget’s research after studying children he generalised his research to ‘all children’ by suggesting stages of cognitive development for all.  


What methods do nomothetic approach use?

Questionnaires and psychologists test

Include a large number of people and how similar they are to each toher


A strength of idiographic approach provides rich data

  • The idiograhpuc approach provides a complete global account of indiiviudal lile HM
  • A single case may generate a hypothesis for further study (e.g case of HM in memory helped understanding that some procedural memories are more resistant to amnesia)
  • Such findings from unique cases may reveal important insights about normal functioning which complete our overall understanding of behaviour


A limitation of idiographic approach may lack its scientific rigour

  • Supporters of idiographic approach may acknlowedge the subjective and restrictive nature of their work
  • One cristism that Freud has many key concepts like Oedipus complex were largely developed from detailed study of single case of Little Hans
  • Meaningful generalised cannot be made without fruther examples hich emans conclusions tend to be more subjective and open to bias


A strength of nomothetic approach is the scientific value of research

  • The process involved nomoethci research and to be more scientific mirroing those employed within the natural sciences
  • These processes include standardised procedures , assessung reliability and validty using statistical analys to demonstrate significance
  • This arguably gives the discipline of psychology greater scientific credibility


A limitation of nomoethic arppoach si the loss of whole process

  • The preoccupation within nomethic approach on general laws  , prediction and control has been accused of losing the whole person within psychology
  • Knowing 1% of lifetime risk of developing shizophrenia tells us little abbout what life is. In lab tests the memory of participants are tested as a set of scores than indidivudal people
  • This means in search for general laws , the nomoethic approach may sometimes overlook importance of human experience