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1. Answering the approaches questions. Some guidance Assumptions of the approach These are covered in the introductory PowerPoints for each approach. The examples given…
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  • 1. Answering the approaches questions. Some guidance Assumptions of the approach These are covered in the introductory PowerPoints for each approach. The examples given here are not exhaustive. Cognitive assumptions Cognitive psychology investigates how we think, perceive, pay attention, use language, problem solve and remember. It explains behaviour in terms of how the mind works/processes information Underlying idea is that the mind works like a computer – information is inputted, stored and retrieved Physiological psychology investigates how biology, especially neurobiology impacts on behaviour Assumptions of the physiological approach
  • 2. Much of human behaviour has a biological base Psychologists should study the brain, nervous system and other biological systems, e.g. hormones, chemicals acting on the brain The typical exam question is along the lines of: a) Describe the strengths and limitations of the cognitive approach using examples from any of the three cognitive studies. (Loftus and Palmer, Savage-Rumbaugh and Baron-Cohen et al) [12] – although it seems from specimen papers the whole question is sometimes asked with reference to only one of the studies. How to answer it Consider how the issues in the specification relate to the approach. These are ethics, ecological validity, snap shot studies, longitudinal studies and qualitative and quantitative data. Always make reference to studies when explaining a strength or weakness.
  • 3. Strengths can refer to general findings from the studies and methodological issues may be used to explain/back up point, or methodological points be stated as a strength or weakness with findings used to illustrate point. Examples A strength of cognitive psychology is that research has demonstrated how vulnerable memory is to change according to information given subsequently to an event. [1 mark]This was shown in the experiment by Loftus and Palmer who found asking whether participants had seen broken glass after two cars smashed into each other led a significant proportion of participants to report seeing broken glass when in fact they had b not been shown any.[1 mark] This finding is very useful as it has highlighted the unreliability of EWT in court cases.[1 mark] A strength of cognitive psychology is that it often employs well controlled experiments to obtain findings [1 mark]. Baron-Cohen et al used a
  • 4. standardised procedure where 3 groups of participants were shown the same pictures for the same length of time and had to determine the emotion of the person in the picture.[1 mark]. This level of control makes it more likely that the differences in scores in the eyes test were due to whether a participant had autism or not leading to a firmer conclusion that a key deficit in autism is an impaired ability to read social and emotional cues.[1 mark] A weakness of the cognitive approach is that case studies have been used to gather data to make generalisations about behaviour. [1 mark]. Savage-Rumbaugh base their conclusions about the ability of non-humans to use language on the study of mainly one bonobo chimp called Kanzi.[1 mark]. Case study data can lack reliability as Kanzi may have been one exceptional chimp and his ability may not be representative of the majority of bonobos, this could lead to misleading conclusions about bonobo language ability. Formula for answering questions
  • 5. P - point E- example E- explain/elaborate PEE – students must PEE on their exam papers. Note: the example and explain can be given in either order depending on the point. E.g. POINT – one strength of the physiological approach is that it has practical applications EXAMPLE – findings from Maguire’s study could be used to help rehabilitate those who have had brain damage. ELABORATE – the study suggests that the brain can develop in response to environmental demand, therefore patients who have had brain damage could have activities designed to stimulate the damaged areas. To answer a 12mark question they have to PEE four times.
  • 6. The focus should be on what we have learned from the studies in the approach and how have research methods helped or hindered conclusions or applications. ASome more ideas for strengths and weaknesses Cognitive strengths Lab experiments allow precise control of variables – improves validity of findings as many confounding variables controlled. Use of self reports allows participants to relay to researcher what is in their mind as opposed to researcher just inferring from observing their behaviour Well controlled lab experiments are easily replicated so reliability of findings can be determined Exploring how non humans acquire language/ or struggle to acquire language helps us to understand the complexity of human language/may have implications for speech and
  • 7. language therapy in those who have language impairments/difficulties Identifying a key impairment in autism has implications for how individuals with autism can be helped to adjust to social situations Understanding how memory works may help design strategies to improve recall (cognitive interview technique) Lab experiments usually involve consent and often lack major deception so research is ethically sound Cognitive weaknesses Lab experiments often lack ecological validity so findings to not generalise outside of lab, limits usefulness It isn’t possible to actually measure how information is being processed so self reports have to be used – elaborate on weaknesses of self reports Use of student samples lack generalisability
  • 8. Research often snap shot in nature Longitudinal research time consuming, difficult to replicate Quantitative data can be reductionist, tells us what but not why Physiological strengths Use of complex machinery allows accurate and precise measurements Scientific approach lends credence to study of psychology – establishes psychology as a respectable science Impact of biology on behaviour can lead to treatment and intervention to those suffering Understanding how an abnormal brain works can shed light on normal brain functioning Physiological weaknesses Research may focus on rare conditions that have little impact on the everyday lives of most people
  • 9. Complex machinery operated by humans and therefore measurements subject to human error Correlations frequently employed – cannot determine cause and effect Small or restricted samples make findings difficult to generalise Laboratory experiments lack ecological validity Self report measures can lack validity
  • Amit Repodsrt

    Jul 23, 2017
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