Paper 3: Issues and Debates

4.3.1  Issues and debates in psychology

  • Gender and culture in psychology – universality and bias. Gender bias including androcentrism and alpha and beta bias; cultural bias, including ethnocentrism and cultural relativism.
  • Free will and determinism: hard determinism and soft determinism; biological, environmental and psychic determinism. The scientific emphasis on causal explanations.
  • The nature-nurture debate: the relative importance of heredity and environment in determining behaviour; the interactionist approach.
  • Holism and reductionism: levels of explanation in psychology. Biological reductionism and environmental (stimulus-response) reductionism.
  • Idiographic and nomothetic approaches to psychological investigation.
  • Ethical implications of research studies and theory, including reference to social sensitivity.
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