L5 - Holism and Reductionism Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in L5 - Holism and Reductionism Deck (15)
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Define reductionism

Breaking down a complex phenomenon into constituent elements
Considered desirable as complex are best understood with simple explanations


How does reductionism suggest behaviour should be looked at?

By looking at the highest level then progressively looking at component elements


What is the highest level?

Cultural and social explanations


What is the middle level?

Psychological (behavioural) explanations


What is the lowest level?

Biological explanations


Define biological reductionism

Human behaviour is reduced to the action of neurons, neurotransmitters, hormones, and other biological components


Define environmental reductionism

Behaviour is reduced to the relationship between behaviour and events


Define experimental reductionism

Behaviours are reduced to operationalised variables that can be manipulated and measured to determine casual relationships


Define holism

An approach which focuses on systems as a whole rather than its constituents
We can’t predict how the whole system will behave based solely on knowledge of its components


What is gestalt psychology?

An approach focused mainly on perception, arguing that what we see only makes sense if we look at the whole and not the components individually


What is humanistic psychology?

Approach that believes individuals react as an organised whole and not a set of stimulus-response links
The person’s sense of a unified identity is important
Lacking a lack of identity = mental disorder


What is cognitive psychology?

Recognising the importance of understanding an entire system
Whole network behaves differently to individual components


Evaluation point about drug therapies?

Biological reductionism has led to the development of drug therapies
Able to isolate the cause when studying basic behaviour units e.g. chemical levels


2 strengths of reductionism related to studying basic units

Underpin the scientific approach and adds weight so scientific research
More objective to consider basic components of behaviour


3 limitations of reductionism

Simplistic and ignores complex interaction of factors
Lost sight of behaviour in context
Lose validity as understand behaviour less as don’t understand the meaning