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What are the key assumptions made by Sigmund Frued?

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What are the key assumptions made by Sigmund Frued?

Behaviour is influenced by…

  • unconcious mind- driving force behind our behaviour = unconscious mind.

  • Instincts/drives- born with innate drives e.g. sex drives.

  • Early childhood experiences- most of our psychological developement is complete by the age of 6, according to Frued.

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Role of the conscious mind

Our lived experience, our memories, sensory experience

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role of precoscious mind

Accessable information, that you are not currently thinking about.

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Role of unconscious mind

  • Largest part of the mind experiences/thoughts/feelings and desires that are pushed under the surace.

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What are the three types of personality?

Superego, ego and ID

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When is the ID formed and what is its role?

  • from birth-18 months

  • Pleasure principle, childlike, selfish and impulsive

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When is the ego formed and what is its role?

  • 18 months-3 years

  • Reality priciple , delays ID’s drive for pleasure creating balance (mediates)- resolves unconcious conflict between ID and superego.

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When does the superego develop and what is its role?

  • 3-6 years old

  • Morality principle, opposite of ID

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What parts of personality determine our behaviour?

Behaviour is the result of conflict between ALL three peronalities.

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What are defence mechanisms?

Mechanisms we use unconsciously to reduce our anxiety

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What is repression?

  • unpleasant memory is pushed into the uconscious mind- not accessable → cannot cause anxiety

  • However it still affects behaviour in the unconscious mind.

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How does repression affect our behaviour?

No recall of event/ situation

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What is denial?

  • refusal to accept reality of unpleasant situation, reducing anxiety caused by situation.

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How does denial affect our behaviour?

  • individual may believe that the situation is not negative and therefore should not cause anxiety.

  • Not positive thinking, but resistance to accept reality.

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What is displacement?

  • focus of strong emotion is expressed onto a neutral person/ object.

  • Reduces anxiety by allowing expression of that emotion onto something else.

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How does displacement affect behaviour?

  • exhibit strong emotion but focus it onto an uninvolved peron/ object → can cause strains on relationships.

  • Relives anxiety by providing catharsis (emotional pressure released)

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What are the psychosexual stages?

  1. oral stage

  2. anal phase

  3. phalic stage

  4. latent stage

  5. Gentital stage

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What is the oral stage?

  • At birth

  • plesure from biting/ sucking

  • Fixation due to early weaning (e.g. no more breast feeding→ anger) resulting in biting fingernails, smoking as an adult.

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What is the anal phase?

  • from 18 months

  • Pleasure from defecating- potty training

  • If child gets rewards for defacating in potty, child will constantly want to poo in order to get their reward- anully expulsive.

  • If child gets shouted at for defacating, then the child will try not to use the potty, holding the poo in- anally retentive→ as adult very organised and neat.

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What is the phalic stage?

  • 3-6 years old

  • Pleasure moves to genitals

  • Boys experience Oedipus complex

  • girls experience electra complex

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What is the latent stage?

  • 6-11 years old

  • Sexual pleasure is spread across the body, calm time for development.

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What is the genital stage?

  • 12 years old

  • Libido is focused on genitals and will be for the rest of their life.

  • Any fixations in the first three stages stays with the child’sspersonality for life.

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Describe the oedipis complex

  • phallic stage (3 yrs old)

  • Boy experiences intense sexual feelings for his mother.

  • Father is seen as rival - competitor for mums affection.

  • Boy is worried he may be castrated by father - castration anxiety.

  • Boy is worried he cant compete with father so befriends him to reduce anxiety.

  • Boy ends up acting like father - identification.

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Describe the electra complex

  • girl realises she doesn’t have a penis, believes mum removed it → girl develops penis envy.

  • When desire is not fufilled, desire for a baby occurs.

  • Girl desires her father the same way that a boy desires his mother, eventually identifying with the mother.

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Evidence + Evaluation- weakness of psychoanalysis

E- Eysenck conducted meta- analysis of psychoanalystic patients.

  • found that worked for 66% however 70% of those suffering from neurotic disorders recovered without recieving treament.

  • Indicates that psychoanalyss’s effectivenness at treating neurtic disorders is limited→ doubts on Frued’s ideas.

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Other evaluations of psychoanalysis:

  • used still to this day - effective for 66% of patients

  • Difficult to test reliability (scientifically)

  • Case studies (ideographic)

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Outline a psychodynamic explanation for the development of the superego.

Arises through identification with same sex parent and internalisation of his/ her moral standards via resolution of Oedipus/Electra standards.

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What are the assumptions of the conitive approach?

  • behaviour is the result of information processing

  • Thoughts are conscious and non-conscious and they pass through stages called internal mental processes.

  • Thoughts act as a mediating pocess between stimuli and behavioural response.

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Why are models made in cognitive psychology?

To provide testable theories about mental processing and these can be studied scientifically and inferences can be made.

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What are schemas?

  • Cognitive frameworks formed from prior experience that help us navigate life easily.

  • Help us organise the large amount of new information we exerience every moment.

  • Prevents being overwhelmed by enviornmental stimuli.

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Who do inferences have to be made in cognitive psychology? Is this a weakness or strength?

  • weakness → internal mental processes cannot be directly observed, we can only make assumptions about the underlying structure of menal processes.

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What is the computer model?

  • how we think of the structure of the mind as analogous to a computer

  • Input (stimuli presented)→ process/coding (stimuli into thoughts) → output (behaviour)

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What is a theoretical model?

  • Flow chart models used in computer programming

  • representation of how information flows

  • processed through a mental system e.g. memory/ attention.

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What is assimilation?

Add new information to existing schema

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What is accommodation?

Old schema has to be adapted/ new schema create

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What are the different types of schemas we have?

  • self schemas- mental short cuts about how we view ourselves

  • Role schemas - mental short cuts about how a teacher should behave

  • Event schemas- certain situations e.g. library → shhhh

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Explain 3 reasons why using schemas might not be useful when processing infomation from the world around us:

  • can lead to incorrect assumptions → sterotypes, prejudice and bias.

  • Negative schemas → negative impact on mental health.

  • Can lead to iaccurate EWT ( stereotypes).

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What is cognitive neuroscience?

  • Investigates how cognition is produced by the interaction of neural mechanisms.

  • brain structure and chemistry is part of neuroscience.

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What is functional neuorimaging and and give two examples.

  • FMRI/PET scans

  • Used to investiate brain activity while engaged in various cognitive tasks to see the interaction between separate nbain regions.

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What is brain mapping?

technique used to provide a map of the brain, showing localised function for memory, language and a range of individual tasks.

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how does cognitive psychology suggest soft determinism?

Weakness- Eventhough thoughts are influences by previous experiences (schemas) and brain structures, conscious thoughts can overide as an expression of free will.

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How does cognitive psychology suggest machine reductionism?

Weakness- overly mechanical in desribing human thinking as processing likea computer. This does not explain human irrationality in many decisions and the role of emotions.

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How does cognitive psychology suggest the nature nurture debate?

  • Both nature and nurture

  • Nature- inheritance of general brain structure that leads to development of mental processes

  • Nurture- development of schemas down to experiences within the environment.

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How does the cognitive psychology suggest the ideographic and nomothetic debate?

Mostly nomothetic, but also ideographic

  • Nomothetic- large scale experiments used to make general rules of human behaviour.

  • Ideograhpic- unusual case studies → unique experiences → may not apply to wider population.

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What is a genotype?

Genetic code for physical/ behavioural characteristic inherited from parents e.g. height, aggression.

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What is a phenotype?

The expression of the characteristics (growing tall) can differ from genotype due to environmental effects (diet).

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Difference between MZ and Z twins

  • Twins can be either monozygotic (identical) or dizygotic (non-identical).

  • MZ twins share 100% of their genes/ genotype.

  • DZ twins share 50% of genes.

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What is a concordance rate?

The likelihood of one twin having the characterisitc if the other twin has the characteristic ( measure of correlation).

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Schizophrenia has a 48% concordance rate in MZ twins and only 4% in DZ twins. What does this data indicate?

  • the more genes you shre with someone, the more likely you are to develop schizophrenia (inherited genetically).

  • Concordance rate isn’t 100% for MZ twins indicating that there are other factors affecting likelihood of developing schizophrenia e.g. environment.

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What is the diathesis stress response?

Suggesting that a disorder is the result of the interaction between a pre- existing vulnerability (e.g. genetic genotype) and environmental stressors (e.g. abuse).

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What is evolution?

The development of successive generations of natural organisms due to adaptation to the environment.

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What is the theory of natural selection?

  • Darwin (1858).

  • Individuals in a species vary due to genetic differeces.

  • Variances most suited to the environment give a survival and reproductive advantage.

  • These genes are more likely to be passed to the next generation.

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What are examples of inherited characteristics?

  • physical - muscles (strength) → helps individual to get a mate →reproductive success.

  • Behavioural adaptations (fear responses), imprinting (attachment)→ ensures survival, inbuilt aggression to get resources needed for survival.

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What is the endocrine system?

  • Chemical messaging system throughout the body. Releases hormones that enter the blood stream.

  • Slower than CNS but with longer lasting effects.

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What is the role of the pituitary gland?

  • master gland.

  • Control release of hormones from the other glands.

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What is the role of the adrenal gland?

  • releases adrenaline/ noradrenaline as part of the fight or flight response.

  • Adrenaline increases heart rate, blood flow and blood pressure.

  • Also constricts blood vessels, diverts blood away from the skin, kidney and digestive system.

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Describe the process of the reflex arc:

  • sensory neuron sends information from the senses to the brain.

  • relay neuron connects with other neurons ( mostly found in brain/ CNS- analyse sensations, interpreting meaning, deciding on responses. acts between sensory and motor neurons.

  • motor neurons send messages along axon from brain to muscles (effectors)

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summarize synaptic transmission:

  • action potential travels down presynaptic neuron axon.

  • this causes vesicles to release neurotransmitters into the synaptic cleft and bind to receptors on post synaptic neuron.

  • neurotransmitters can be inhibitory (serotonin) making post synaptic neurons less likely to fire.

  • or excitatory (dopamine) making post synaptic neurons more likely to fire an impulse.

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What is summation?

net effect of inhibitory and excitatory influences, resulting in action potential less/ more likely to fire.

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What are re-uptake inhibitors?

drugs that keep serotonin in the synaptic cleft.

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What is the nervous system and what is it split into?

  • collection of nerve cells across the body that sends electrical messages.

  • peripheral nervous system: information form senses across the body to the brain; decisions from the brain to the body.

  • contains the brain and the spinal cord. receives information, processes and makes decisions.

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What is the role of the brain stem?

  • regulates basic functions such as heartrate, breathing sleeping and eating.

  • connects brain to the spine to the rest of the body.

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What is the role of the cerebellum?

  • receives information from sensory systems, spinal chord and other parts of the brain.

  • regulates motor movements and balance.

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What is the role of the occipital lobe?

processes visual stimuli, colour, shape, orientation etc…

<p>processes visual stimuli, colour, shape, orientation etc…</p>
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What is the role of the parietal lobe?

Regulates sensory information from across the body and the manipulation of objects.

<p>Regulates sensory information from across the body and the manipulation of objects.</p>
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What is the role of the temporal lobe?

auditory perception (hearing), processing noise into words (speech comprehension). Declarative memory storage.

<p>auditory perception (hearing), processing noise into words (speech comprehension). Declarative memory storage.</p>
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What is the role of the frontal lobe?

  • predicts future consequences, over ride socially unacceptable behaviour.

  • decides appropiate brhaviours (consequences).

<ul><li><p>predicts future consequences, over ride socially unacceptable behaviour.</p></li><li><p>decides appropiate brhaviours (consequences).</p></li></ul>
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What is meant by biological determinism?

biological determinism is the idea that as our behavior is causally driven by internal natural processes (genes, neurotransmitters) and is predictable, we do not have the free will to control our own actions.

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What is meant by biological reductionism?

  • reducing the explanation for complex behaviours to simple biological elements.

  • based on the scientific principle of parsimony.

  • humans may be too complex to reduce our behaviours in the simplest way possible.

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Biological approach and nature vs nurture:

  • fully supports idea that behaviour is due to nature processes (influence of genes, neurotransmitters, brain structure).

  • minimises the role of the environment such as cultural/ social learning pressures on behaviour.

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Biological approach and ideographic and nomothetic:

quantitative scientific approach of studying large groups of people in an attempt to form general laws of behaviour that can apply across populations → led to effective drug treatment.

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Build you evalutation: biological approach


  • objective scientific measurements e.g. neurotransmitter levels → increases validity of findings.

  • Effectiveness of drugs has helped people.

  • Large number of empirical studies to back up biological theories.


  • mechanistic - no consideration of internal mental processes (cognitions).

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When was the humanistic approach developed?


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What are the key assumptions of the humanisitic approach?

  • every inividual is unique - no point trying to generalise to groups - too many differences within groups.

  • We have free will- ability to choose what we can do and in control of our behaviour. There are constraints e.g. laws, social rules however we can go against these.

  • People should be viewed hlisitcally - no point looking at just one aspect of an individual → cal lead to missing other reasons for distress.

  • Scientific method is not appropiate to measure behaviour- too objective but humans are subjective.

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What are the five levers of the hierachy of needs- Maslow?

  • self actualisation

  • Esteem needs

  • Beloningness and love needs

  • Safety needs

  • Physiological needs?

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How can we reach self actualisation?

  • all needs below Maslow’s hierachy of needs must be met, the basic needs, psycholigcal needs and self fufillment needs.

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What are examples of physiological needs?

  • food

  • Water

  • Warmth

  • Rest

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What are xamples of safety needs?

  • secuirity

  • Safety

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What are examples of belongingness and love needs?

  • Intimate relationships

  • Friends

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What are examples of esteem needs?

  • Feelings of accomplishment

  • Prestige

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What is self actualisation?

Achieving ones full potential including creative and activities.

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What is Humanistics pshychology’s aim?

To focus on peoples health, personal development and creativity.

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What are the three selves that needs to be intergrated to achieve self actualisation, and who were they propsed by?

  • The self concept

  • The ideal self

  • The real self

Carl Rodger

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What is the self concept?

  • the self you feel you are, its the root of your self esteem.

  • If you have low self esteem you will have a low concept of yourself.

  • People may have a distorted view of themselves.

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What is the ideal self?

  • the self you wish to be/ who you are aiming toward becoming.

  • If you say “i wish i was more…” your ideal self differs from the self concept.

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What is the real self?

  • The person you actually are.

  • Difficult to see who this is due to subjectively meaning we all percieve people differently.

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What is congruence?

  • When our ideal self and self-concept are the sam.

  • Slef- acutalisation is necessary for this.

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How can congruence be stimulated?

Through unconditional positive regard- people are care about you no what what you do and they like you as you are.

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What are conditions of worth?

  • requirments an individual feels they need to meet in order to be loved.

  • Can be real or imagined.

  • This is called conditional positive regard.

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What is client centred therapy?

  • The therapists role is to give the client unconditional positive regard they may be lacking from their own family/friends.

  • The focus is to reduce the difference between the ideal self and self concept in order to improve the level of congruence.

  • Client is considered expert of their own condition and are expected to arrive at own solutions to problems.

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What are criticisms of the humanistic approach?

  • concepts such as self actualisation are not fully operationalised → unscientific.

  • Possible example of cultural bia, individualistic western cultures prioritise individual success and achievement. In collectivist cultures group success is more important. Humanistic psychologists may view individuals from collectivist cultures as less able to self actualise therefore in some way inferior.

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What are strengths of the humanisitcs approach?

  • acknowledge that there is an importance in the differences within a group itself, not only between other groups.

  • Positive theory, allows for personal development and change at any stage of life.

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Comparisson of the humanistic and behavioural approach:


H: focus on free will, B: environmental deeterminism.

H: anti-scientific/ holisitc, B: scientfic and reductionist.

H: ideographic (case studies), B: nomothetic.

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Comaprisson of humanisitc and cognitive approach:


H: focus on role of free will, C: actions determind by schemas.

H: ideographic (case studies), C: nomothetic (applying general laws to whole population)

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Comparisons of the Humanistics apprach and Biological approach:


H: focus on free will, B: biological determinism.

H: anti-scientific and holistic, B: very sceintific and reductionist.

H: ideographic( case studies), B: nomotheitc.

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Comparison of the humanistic and psychodynapic approach:


Both ideographic and less scientific.


H: focus on free will, P: psychic determinism.

H: positive approach, fcusing on how we can achieve our best, P: focus on neative aspects of human behaviour (defence mechanisms).

H: developed at any stage, P: problems fixed in place frm the first few years after birth (stuck with certain problems forever).

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Who is the father of psychology?

Wilhelm Wundt

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What did Wundt do?

  • Set up the first experimental psychology lab in Liepzig Germany, 1870’s.

  • He used the technique called introspection- thinking about your own thought processes.

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Timeline of psychology as a science:

Wilhelm Wundt (1879) first ex psy lab & introspection → Sigmund Frued - psychodynamics (1890’s) → Watson (1913) Albert , Pavlov (1890’s) classical conditions, Skinner (1953) operant conditioning - behaviourists - more scentific method of studing human behaviour. - Only can measure stimulus and behaviour → Bandura (1960’s) SLT how social interactions affect our behaviour → Maslow (1960’s) Humanist- rejects scientific method → cognitive (1960’s) - computer model → biological psychology- scanners, genetic research, brain damage patients.

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What is science?

Finding out systematically and objectively about the physical and natural world using observation and experimentation.

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