Paper 2: Approaches

4.2.1  Approaches in psychology

  • Origins of psychology: Wundt, introspection and the emergence of psychology as a science.
  • Learning approaches: the behaviourist approach, including classical conditioning and Pavlov’s research, operant conditioning, types of reinforcement and Skinner’s research; social learning theory including imitation, identification, modelling, vicarious reinforcement, the role of mediational processes and Bandura’s research.
  • The cognitive approach: the study of internal mental processes, the role of schema, the use of theoretical and computer models to explain and make inferences about mental processes. The emergence of cognitive neuroscience.
  • The biological approach: the influence of genes, biological structures and neurochemistry on behaviour. Genotype and phenotype, genetic basis of behaviour, evolution and behaviour.
  • The psychodynamic approach: the role of the unconscious, the structure of personality, that is ID, ego and superego, defence mechanisms including repression, denial and displacement, psychosexual stages.
  • Humanistic psychology: free will, self-actualisation and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, focus on the self, congruence, the role of conditions of worth. The influence on counselling psychology.
  • Comparison of approaches.
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