Task 1 AC 1.1
The Behaviourist perspective
The behaviourist perspective was a dominant approach in psychology for the first half of the 20th century and has left psychology with some useful techniques.
The main assumption of the behaviourist perspective is that all behaviour is learned and shaped by the environment.
The behaviourist perspective also argues that in order for psychology to be scientific it should focus on observable behaviour which can be objectively measured rather than on things like mental processes which can only be inferred. These can only be inferred as the mental process is something which cannot be measured or observed, so anything that is connected to the brain and isn’t to do with the actual functions can’t be determined.
Two important learning theories proposed by the behaviourist perspective are classical conditioning (Pavlov) and operant conditioning (Skinner). Classical conditioning explains how people learn behaviours through association and operant conditioning explains how the consequences of behaviours shape behaviour.
Classical conditioning is related to learning by association, and refers to the conditioning of reflexes. During Pavlov’s experiment, it was determined that new external stimuli such as sights as sounds, with the original stimuli could be associated with reflexes.
Operant conditioning involves learning through the consequences of behavioural responses. Skinner adapted the principles which were investigated by Thorndike, to explain how many aspects of human behaviour are acquired.
There is also a type of learning called social learning which other behaviourists believe is connected to the behaviourist theory. An example of this is in the Bandura et al. S...
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...ghly disturbing conflicts, which had to be resolved by the child identifying with the same-sexed parent.
The biological approach
The biological approach (sometimes known as the physiological approach) is the belief that we are the consequence of our biology and nature. This approach focuses on thoughts, feelings and behaviours coming from a biological and physical perspective. Therefore, all that is psychological is first physiological. All thoughts, feeling & behaviour ultimately have a biological cause.
Biologically orientated psychologists commonly use some techniques, more than others, these include laboratory experimentation e.g. stimulation, drug giving or removing parts of the brain to the effect on the study’s behaviour; correlations – e.g. between twins and adoptive family members: and laboratory observations; scanning of the brain activity and structure.
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