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Three Approaches To Psychology

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In modern day terms Psychology is the science that deals with mental process and behaviour. Modern Psychology is divided into several sub-disciplines, each based on differing models of behaviour and mental process. Perhaps the most significant of approaches are the biological, behavioural and psychodynamic. Biology is defined as the study of life (from the Greek word bios meaning "life", and logos meaning "study"). The biological approach attempts to relate behaviour to the workings and genetic makeup of the body. Greek physician Galen suggested that personality and temperament may be linked to the levels of body fluid such as blood and bile. It is assumed by those that study this approach that all human psychological behaviour has a biological cause, since it is the mind that resides within the brain, genetically modifying human behaviour with time to suit it's environment. ...read more.


The behaviourist's assumed that after birth the majority of observable behaviour is learned from the environment surrounding us, and that we are in essence made up of all our previous learning experiences. Beliefs of universal learning law, convenience and quantitative difference, led the behaviourist's to adopt very strict animal laboratory testing which would later go on to explain aspects of language acquisition, moral development, attraction and abnormality, aggression, prejudice, gender role identity etc. Practical applications have included programmed learning and the treatment of those suffering behavioural disturbances. Animal training has benefited from operant conditioning and manipulation of behaviour within society suggested. The very scientific behaviourist approach lends itself to the nurture debate, producing many effective practical applications using only a few simple principals. This however suffered criticism. ...read more.


The methodology used within the psychodynamic approach focuses on observation in everyday human life and the collection of rich and detailed information from individuals. Freud's theory was for its time revolutionary but his ideas have endured, helping psychology to be seen as a science. He put together the first systematic theory of personality but failed to indicate in detail how behaviour is determined. Certain testable parts of Freud's theory have been found to be wrong. The examination of the biological, behavioural and psychodynamic approach skim barely the tip of the Psychological iceberg, it is however evident that differing models of behaviour and mental process make up several sub-disciplines within the vast science. A demonstration of classical conditioning used by Pavlov in his study of dogs. A demonstration of operant conditioning used by Skinner in his study of positive reinforcement, partial reinforcement and immediate reinforcement. ...read more.

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Response to the question

This essay is responding to a question that asks for an outline of three approaches to Psychology. Whilst Behaviourism and Psychodynamic Psychology are technically perspectives, it can be considered an Approach here for means of the argument. The candidate maintains ...

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Response to the question

This essay is responding to a question that asks for an outline of three approaches to Psychology. Whilst Behaviourism and Psychodynamic Psychology are technically perspectives, it can be considered an Approach here for means of the argument. The candidate maintains consistent focus on how Psychology is split into "several sub-disciplines" and chooses the Biological Approach, the Behaviourist Perspective and the Psychodynamic Perspective.

Level of analysis

The Level of Analysis is wholly representative of GCSE candidate ability. The introductory paragraph shows a candidate who can conduct external research into the roots of Psychology, though perhaps the Greek derivation of the word is a little too much. Though this answer would achieve a sound A grade if they have quoted from a greater range of sources, they have only only source that actually stems directly from Psychology and this lack of evidence loses all of AO2 in the syllabus, which it the Area of Study that carries the most marks. Without sufficient evidence from psychological studies to backup the assumptions of the Biological Approach, the Behaviourist Perspective and the Psychodynamic Perspective, this candidate can only achieve a middle B grade.
In the future, tie a core study to the points you make, showing that you know how to apply practical psychology into theoretical explanations and therefore understand the theory behind the practices.

Quality of writing

The Quality of Written Communication is very good, with few spelling mistakes even with the specialist terminology. There are no grammatical errors to speak of, although a broader range of punctuation would make the quite systematic essay a far more interesting read.

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Reviewed by sydneyhopcroft 24/02/2012

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