Different Theoretical Approaches Within Psychology

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This essay will explore and analyse four different theoretical approaches within psychology; the behavioural, psychoanalytic, humanistic and cognitive approaches. Assumptions and theories of each approach will be described and evaluated. The behavioural approach involves two different types of conditioning, which are classical conditioning and operant conditioning. Watson suggested that human behaviour is learnt and that we are born as a ‘blank slate’ or ‘tabula rasa’ (McLeod, 2013). An example of classical conditioning was displayed by Watson as an observational experiment. It was undertaken on a 9 month old baby known as Little Albert. At the beginning of the experiment Albert showed no fear of a white rat. Watson wanted to see if he …show more content…

In 1930, BF Skinner conditioned rats through reinforcement and punishment. Positive reinforcement resulted in the rat receiving a reward of food when a bar was pressed. Skinner then noticed that the rats would go to get food more often. After some time, Skinner added an electric grid to the boxes and shocked the rats occasionally; this was punishment and led to the rats eating less food. Pressing the bar lead to a reduction in electric shock, this is known as negative reinforcement – where a removal of a stimulus is likely to increase the occurrence of behaviour (Bustamante et al, 1996). The social learning theory to aggression involves both the assumptions above, which determines that behaviour is influenced by the environment. Children are likely to be influenced by people who are similar to themselves, people who they admire and role models (Collin et al, 2012). Their behaviour is learnt through observation and imitation and is encouraged by awarding that behaviour. The person’s direct environment has an effect on their behaviour as well as learning it from other people, known as the vicarious experience (Breakwell et al, 2012). The Bobo doll experiment, which was done by Albert Bandura in 1961, determined that children are likely to imitate and learn from adult behaviour. Children who saw an aggressive model produced more aggressive acts on the doll than the children who observed non-aggressive models (Nolen, 2015). This experiment holds inconsistencies,

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