Five Approaches to Psychology

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Name Five Approaches to Psychology
1. Social Psychology
Social psychology is about understanding individual behaviour in a social context. Baron, Byrne, and Suis (1989) defined social psychology as “the scientific field that seeks to understand the nature and causes of individual behaviour in social situations”. It therefore looks at human behaviour as influenced by other people and the social context in which it occurs. 2. Comparative Psychology

This is a science which studies animal behaviour, although human behaviour is studied. There are several issues involved in the psychological study of animals; some of them resolvable by evidence and others more question whether to try to list the peculiarities of individual species. Cutting across this distinction is the question of whether to be satisfied with the outcomes or whether to look more deeply for explanations of known or as yet-known facts. In the twentieth century, several branches of comparative psychology have been influenced by the Darwin Theory of Evolution. 3. Developmental Psychology

Developmental psychology is interested is discovery of the process of development from birth to old age. It is also known as child development. Children were often viewed as little adults and not much attention was paid to the many advances in cognitive abilities, language usage and physical growth that occur during childhood and adolescence. Interest in the field finally began to emerge early in the twentieth century, but it tended to focus on abnormal behaviour. Eventually, researches became interested in other topics including typical development as well as the influences on development. An understanding of child development is essential allowing us to fully appreciate the cognitive, emotional, physical, social and educational growth that children go through from birth to early adulthood. 4. Physiological Psychology

This focuses on the relationship between our biological make-up and our behaviour and experiences. This area of psychology can be very convincing. For example, we do know that the structure of our nervous system (including our brains) and the action of chemicals can have an effect on our behaviour. The question is how much does our biology affect us? Some psychologists take a reductionist argument to answer this. They argue that behaviour and experiences can be explained in terms of brain structure and chemicals. This reductionist argument has led to such great discoveries e.g. the effect of drugs on mood and behaviour. However, other psychologists take the view that we cannot explain difficult human behaviour and experience just in terms of brain structure and chemicals. Other variables which need to be considered are how we act alone and in a group. five. Individual Psychology

Individual psychology is concerned with what makes people different from one and other. Two main areas of difference are personality and intelligence. These qualities are very difficult to measure. Many psychologists have tried to construct ‘pure’ intelligence tests, which do not have any social or cultural bias, but it is hard to construct such tests fairly. Many would not agree, however, that what we are measuring is intelligence, because that is a very emotional term. It is one thing to observe individuals and point out how one differs from another. It is quite another to generalise about particular groups on the basis of these results. If they say ‘boys are better’ than girls at mathematics, they could run into a lot of trouble. It is even more dangerous to claim that one racial or ethnic group possesses qualities that another does not. Individual psychology is also often concerned with what motivates different people and this is often safer ground for psychologists trying to make generalisations.

(a) Define Cognitive Psychology
Cognitive psychology is the branch of psychology that studies mental processes including how...
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