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Compare And Contrast The Main Theoretical Concepts Relating To The Behaviourist And Cognitive Approach To Psychology

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  • Essay length: 1200 words
  • Submitted: 31/03/2006
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AS and A Level Developmental Psychology

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Compare And Contrast The Main Theoretical Concepts Relating To The Behaviourist And Cognitive Approach To Psychology

In this essay I am going to explore two of the major approaches to Psychology, Cognitive theories and Behaviourist theories. I will discuss in some detail the two approaches, state how they compare and illustrate the similarities and the differences between them.

John Watson, one of the founders of Behaviourism, based his theories on the principles of learning outlined by Pavlov who suggested the theory known as Classical Conditioning; he trained dogs to salivate whenever he rang a bell. Dogs have a natural reflex response to salivate when they see food, Pavlov rang a bell when the dogs were given food and after several repetitions of this action, the dogs began to salivate whenever they heard the bell, even when there was not any food there. This approach rejected the idea of the conscious mind. Albert Ellis & Aaron T Beck developed the present form of the Cognitive approach to psychology in the 1950's. This development emerged from a growing dissatisfaction with the narrowness of the behaviourist approach as it neglects complex human activities such as planning and communication.

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