• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

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

Extracts from this document...


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. ...read more.


Behaviourists believe that since very little behaviour in human beings is inherited, the focus is on the role of experience, which is expressed through learning. It is easy to say that our past experiences determine how we behave, but how do we learn? Behaviourists believe that we learn through association, in other words we form connections between events and ideas. In contrast to the behaviourists views on learning, Cognitive Psychologists believe that the human brain is genetically able to process and organise information in certain ways, for example; language is developed in most human infants at approximately the same age, no matter in which country or on which continent they live in and regardless of the language spoken by the parents. While the first Behaviourists saw learning as a case of trial and error, Cognitive Psychologist argue that we tend to organise our experience in certain ways, this is shown as Insight, which means a rapid change in the way someone organises a problem, typically this is characterised by a change in behaviour from random responses to rule based responses. ...read more.


They believe that the information we store in our memory has to be significant. In conclusion the cognitive approach to Psychology deals with the mental processes such as memory and problem solving. By focusing on mental processes it places itself opposite behaviourism, which tends to ignore the mental processes of the human mind. In this day and age it seems that the cognitive approach has become more popular that the behaviourist approach and it is one of the dominant approaches to psychology. Behaviourism is focused on what individuals choose to do rather than what they may be thinking or feeling, if focuses on what you can see not the emotions. It is difficult to measure the thinking or feeling of independence and the behaviour of others, as well as the expectations of others in any particular given situation, for example John Watson believed that given the right environment anybody could be made into anything. Sources of Information Psychology - A New Introduction by Richard Gross, Rob McIlveen, Hugh Coolicun, Alan Clamp and Julia Russell (Twelfth Edition) Hilgards Introduction to Psychology by Rita L Atkinson, Richard C Atkison, Edward G Smith, Daryl J Bern and Susan Nolen-Hoeksema (Second Edition) Basic Psychology by Henry Gleitman (First Edition) www.sntp.net/behaviourism.thml http://scs.une.edu.au/Materials/573/573_4.html ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Developmental Psychology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Developmental Psychology essays

  1. 'Compare and contrast the contribution that behaviourist and psychodynamic theories have made to our ...

    Punishment has the effect of weakening behaviour. Some basic principles and assumptions made by the behaviourist approach are: * The role of the environmental factors have the emphasis in influencing behaviour, almost to the exclusion of innate or inherited factors.

  2. Review of Behaviourism

    Our history of reinforcement often is too impoverished to determine uniquely our behavior. Much learning, therefore, seems to require pre-existing or innate representational structures within which learning occurs. Though functionalism is significantly different from behaviorism in that the latter attempts to explain behavior without any reference whatsoever to mental states

  1. Describe and discuzz the Behaviourist approach to psychology

    Since the bell alone now produced the unconditioned response (salivation), the association had been established; therefore the dog was fully conditioned. Prior to conditioning Food (UCS) ------------------>Salivation (UCR) Bell (NS) --------------------->No response Conditioning Bell + ---------------------->Salivation Food Evidence of conditioning Bell (CS)

  2. A small scale investigation into children's understanding of scientific concepts.

    Daniel (age 7) also concurred with Piaget's theory in that he seemed unable to think in an abstract way perhaps as a result of not having reached the formal operation stage. As Piaget suggested Daniel rejected conflicting evidence in favour of his own theory that objects float because they are light and shaped

  1. Levels Of Processing

    there is an increased number of words recalled when semantically processed compared to when visually processed. The Mann Whitney stats test showed the observed value of U (8) was less than the critical value (27) therefore the null hypothesis was rejected.

  2. This essay will attempt to explore three approaches in psychology which will be the ...

    This part of the personality is very much influenced by our instincts. The Ego emerges from about the ages of two or three and is a conscious part of our personality. It keeps a balance between the unrealistic ID and super ego, the ego allows us to live realistically without feeling to bad.

  1. Is Popular culture an Influence on Violent Behaviour?

    out of wedlock or within eight months of obviously hurried marriages.19 Evidence that what are presumed as contemporary problems, influenced by television, film and music are problems which had been encountered before the advent of "popular culture ". It has been argued that censorship in television, film and music is

  2. The Behaviourist Approach To the Understanding of Human Behaviour

    In addition to that Pavlov found out that the intensity of the stimuli was also very important as a dog salivates more if trained on larger pieces of food and in response to a louder bell. This learning process is known as classical conditioning but it is also sometimes referred to as Pavlovian (after Pavlov)

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work