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Year 12 - Debates in Psychology

Lesson 1 & 2 of Debates

Clare Schulze

on 10 September 2012

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Transcript of Year 12 - Debates in Psychology

The Main Debates Nature Vs Nurture Debates within the study of Psychology Holism Vs Reductionism Derren Browns' subliminal film Learning
Objectives (cc) photo by Metro Centric on Flickr (cc) photo by Franco Folini on Flickr (cc) photo by jimmyharris on Flickr (cc) photo by Metro Centric on Flickr Nature Vs Nurture Holism vs Reductionism
Free will Vs Determinism
Idiographic Vs Nomothetic All - To recap the main approaches used in Psychology
- To identify the differences between debate &
approach Most - To describe the main differences
between the debates Some - To begin to link examples of approaches with debates Our nurture is our environment when we are growing up, and includes the people around us, the physical setting, social structures such as school and family structure. Basically all other influences we can learn from The 'debate' is the problem of finding out which part of a particular behaviour or attribute (if any) comes from our genetic make-up and which comes from our experiences Usually an issue has both nature and nurture aspects Hypnosis One theory suggests that some people are more suggestible to hypnosis than others. This suggestibility could be due to their genes, or could be due to their experience and learning Our nature comes from our genetic make up (we get 50% of our genes from our father and 50% from our mother) Scientific (Nature)
* Cognitive Approach
* Biological Approach Non-Scientific (Nurture)
* Psychodynamic approach
* Humanistic Approach Most recent views in Nature Vs Nurture We are the product of our nature and our environment, and these two cannot be meaningfully seperated Not only are we affacted by our environment, but we affect our environmentand can be said to make our own environments We should NOT ask whether a charactristic or behaviour comes from our nature or our nurture, but how much of the cause of the behaviour might be from each. Reductionist A western scientific approach For example Schizophrenia is seen as an illness caused by a problem with some part of the body Parts are examined to try and discover things about the whole Holism The opposing view claims that when looking at parts, the whole can never be understood because some relationships between the parts is overlooked Just looking at individual components eg the brain, memory or aggression does not complete a picture.

“ the whole is greater than the sum of the parts” Reductionism operated in the behaviourist approach-animal behaviour broken down into stimulus and response bonds that are strengthened or weakened by reward/punishment (Skinner and Watson)
Arguments for Holism The word Gestalt is German and means a whole, single form.

Gestalt psychology has been applied when looking at problem solving in animals, stating that it could not be simply responding to stimuli as stated in the behaviourist view

Gestalt psychology as been influential in cognitive psychology even though it has been criticised for lacking in experimental approaches
Lab experiments are largely reductionistic Idiographic Vs Nomothetic Nomothetic * Behaviourism is an example

* Emphasises general aspects of human nature that apply to all humans (with occasional exceptions)

*Laws of human behaviour

* Predictions are made of how people are likely to behave in certain circumstances The nomothetic approach to personality agrees that personality can be categorised on the basis of those traits that we share. Hence nomothetic personality theorists such as Hans Eysenck talk about extravert, introvert, stable, and unstable Idiographic in psychology refers to something that is unique and personal to the individual. If like Rogers, Maslow, Allport and Kelly you see personality as unique to each individual you are taking a idiographic view. Broad categorizations cannot be made. * Humanistic is an example of the idiographic approach

* Exploration of single cases in depth

* Concerned with individuality and differences in behaviour

* The emphasis is on what makes people into individuals, rather than what is common to all human beings Idiographic Free will Vs Determinism This is a complex issue and much of the debate is beyond the scope of A-Level Psychology Do we have free will, or is all our behaviour determined by identifiable causes?

Much of psychology assumes determinism, since to be scientific (finding cause and effect) means identifying determining causes
Definition of Free Will Definition of Determinism Choice:
* People have free will if they have a genuine choice of behaviour
* Assumes that influences on behaviour can be rejected at will Determinism means all behaviour has theoretically identifiable causes and can be predicted
Evaluation of the two * Belief in free will matches subjective experience and our sense of moral responsibility

* However, difficult to find an scientific explanation of behaviour if we don’t accept determinism

* Perhaps different phenomena differ in the extent to which they’re determined
e.g. language use vs. instinctive responses Why are these issues important? It allows you to be ‘thematic’- As learners of psychology you will be able to draw upon links and connections between topics.
This skill will allow your written response to have a more synoptic feel- Thus you will access the higher marks available in examinations. The examiner wants you to demonstrate that you able to pull all these strands of issues together to produce a response that has depth and breadth.

Depth- Good detailed coverage of the topic.

Breadth- Illustration of how the topic is inter-related to a number of different topics across many disciplines e.g. law, Philosophy, Biology etc
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