Idiographic and nomothetic approaches Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Idiographic and nomothetic approaches Deck (8)
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Idiographic approach

People are studied as unique entities associated with qualitative data
-An approach to research that focuses more on the individual case as a means of understanding behaviour rather than aiming to formulate general laws of behaviour


Nomothetic approach

Attempts to study human behaviour through the development of general principles and universal laws


Examples of the idiographic approach in psychology

-Rodgers and Maslow- Took a phenomenological approach to the study of human beings and were interested only in documenting the conscious experience of the individual or self. humanistic psychologists were more concerned with investigate and unique experience on its own merits rather than producing general laws of behaviour
-Freud- psychodynamic approach- Use of the case study method when detailing the lives of his patients


Examples of the nomothetic approach in psychology

-Skinner- Studied the responses of hundreds of rats, cats, pigeons et cetera in order to develop the laws of learning
-Millers law- Cognitive psychologists have been able to infer the structure and processes of human memory by measuring the performance of large samples of people
-Hypothesis are formulated tested under controlled conditions and findings generated from large numbers of people are analysed for their statistical significance


Idiographic approach (for)

In-depth qualitative methods of investigation provides a complete and global account of the individual


Idiographic approach (against)

The approach may take a narrow and restricted view
-Freud- Many of his key concepts like the Oedipus complex were largely developed from the detailed study of a single case (little hans) meaningful generalisations cannot be made without further examples as there is no adequate baseline with which to compare behaviour
-Methods associated with the idiographic approach such as case studies tend to be the least scientific in that conclusions often rely on the subjective interpretation of the researcher and as such are open to bias


Nomothetic approach (for)

-processes involved in research tend to be more scientific-testing under standardised conditions, using data sets that provide group averages, statistical analysis, prediction and control
-Have enabled psychologists to establish norms of typical behaviour arguably giving the discipline of psychology greater scientific credibility


Nomothetic approach (against)

-Using statistics result in the loss of the whole person, knowing that there is a 1% lifetime risk of developing schizophrenia tells us a little about what life is like for someone who is suffering from the disorder
-Participants are treated as a series of scores rather than individual people and their subjective experience of the situation is ignored