Thursday, 9 June 2016

Strengths and weaknesses of the debates and approaches

Approach/Debate
Strengths
Weaknesses
Biological approach, Cognitive approach Individual debate, Reductionism debate & Nature debate

1.       Practical/useful applications: understanding and identifying certain behaviours that are inherited or specific to the individual can help us to intervene accordingly.
2.       Uses objective scientific measures. This means that extraneous variables are highly controlled and cause and effect can be established, increasing validity.

1.       Reductionist as it tries to explain complex behaviour with one influence. It doesn’t consider how other factors interact together in influencing behaviour.
2.       Discovering that certain behaviours are inherited (e.g. personality, intelligence) may not be helpful. It can lead to the assumption that these types of behaviour are difficult to change through the environment. This restricts the useful applications.
3.       Specific to Cognitive – lacks ecological validity due to high use of lab experiments.

Social approach, Behaviourist approach, Situational debate &
Nurture debate
1.       Practical/useful applications: has real life relevance as it focuses on real life social issues. It has key relevance to the majority and helps our understanding on how human behaviour can be changed in a positive way.
2.       It is very scientific and usually uses controlled experimental methods in order to establish cause and effect – increasing validity
1.       It is very difficult to separate the effects of a situation/social/environmental influences from the individual. This is very similar to the nature/nurture debate, in the sense that it is impossible to study them separately as they will always influence together – reducing validity of the approach/debate.
2.       Ethical issues can arise due to deceiving participants in order to achieve valid results of environmental/social/situational influences.
Individual differences approach & Psychodynamic approach
1.       Research has practical applications. It helps us to understand how we measure differences and develop support for certain disorders.
2.       Different types of data are used. Freud uses qualitative and Baron-Cohen uses quantitative. Using both types enables researchers to obtain comparable and measureable results as well as an in depth exploration into individual differences.

1.       Methodology is sometimes subjective and therefore open to bias. Freud is a perfect example of this, reducing the validity. Theory of mind is also a subjective construct which could be difficult to measure in a valid way.
2.       Ethical issues tend to arise. People with disorders are classed as vulnerable and therefore informed consent is sometimes questionable. In addition, participating in certain tasks may cause psychological harm e.g. people with Asperger's out of their normal routine.
Developmental approach & Holistic debate
1.       Useful/practical applications i.e. holism - more reflective or how factors interact in real life, developmental – understanding children and cognitive – understanding memory.
2.       More holistic as considers more than one factor as it looks at interactions: Developmental – interaction between nature and nurture.

1.       Ethical issues: Relies heavily on the use of children Issues with gaining parental consent and debriefing children in a way that makes sense to them.
2.       Issues with validity. Holism – difficult to measure all factors reducing cause and effect. Developmental - measuring children’s thoughts and behaviour accurately is difficult due to adult’s perceptions.

Ethnocentrism
1.       Understanding ethnocentrism can help us to understand how discrimination arises in the first place so that other cultures can be studied in more depth.
2.       By understanding ethnocentrism, researchers are better prepared in addressing it, in order to improve researches generalisability.

1.       Ethnocentrism causes prejudice and discrimination which raises moral ethics, by discounting some cultures as unimportant and therefore no researching them.  
2.       Researchers must be aware of ethnocentrism when generalising and interpreting data in order to avoid biased and invalid findings.
Socially sensitive research
1.       Carrying out socially sensitive research usually means that the researcher develops a personal relationship with participants and can often gain insightful data.
2.       Building an understanding of these sensitive issues can allow useful applications by finding out info that wouldn’t usually be accessible.

1.       Building relationships when carrying socially sensitive research can open issues with bias and subjectivity.
2.       Interviewing participants about sensitive topic may induce painful emotions and memories and therefore cause harm.
Freewill/
Determinism debate
1.       Having deterministic views helps the world to be more understandable and predictable.
2.       Determinism is very scientific in this sense that it tries to highlight certain factors have an influence. This makes this debate more acceptable in society with its explanations and scientific basis.
1.       An extreme determinist would say that free will in an illusion - we think we have choice, but we do not. Therefore how could we punish others if it wasn’t their fault?
2.       Determinism can never fully explain behaviour because behaviour is far too complex and a deterministic view is often a reductionist one.

Psychology as a science
Is a science:
1.       Psychology uses scientific methods in its investigations. Research is carried out through experimentation and uses many controls, which means cause and effect can be established.
2.       Like other sciences, psychology has theories. Theories generate hypotheses and these are tested empirically.
Is not a science:
1.       Psychologists study humans. They cannot be investigated in the same way as subject matter of e.g. chemistry or physics. People are aware of being investigated and this can alter behaviour.
2.       Even with hypotheses, lots of material which is called psychology is clearly not a science e.g. Freudian theories.