The Biological And Cognitive Approaches

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There are a number of different approaches in contemporary psychology including; the behaviourist, cognitive, humanistic, physiological (or biological) and psychodynamic approaches (Eysenk, 2005, pp.171). A specific approach or perspective involves certain beliefs or assumptions about human behaviour; the way individuals function and which aspects of these functions are deemed worthy of study. (Glassman and Hadad, 2013). Alongside this, there may also be several theories within an approach but all share the described common assumptions. For the purpose of this essay the biological and cognitive approaches will be explored, compared and contrasted in relation to the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness, distress or maladaptive…show more content…
In other words, cognitive psychology refers to the study of human mental processes and their role in thinking, feeling and behaving (Bernstein, 2013). According to Jones (2004), the cognitive approach was developed from the basis of Wundt and Titcher’s (1927) theory of structuralism.

Additionally, the biological and cognitive approaches differ in their view on the nature verse nurture debate. More specifically, the biological approach focusses on nature rather than nurture where it makes the assumption that behaviour is determined by internal physiological processes which, could include functions and structures of neurons, hormones, DNA and the brain (Nevid, 2012, pp.328). For example, the mental illness schizophrenia is explained by the biological approach as being caused by a high level of dopamine or genetic makeup. In this essence, the biological approach demonstrates that nature is the true cause of psychological abnormalities like schizophrenia. Alternatively, the cognitive approach fails to identify either nature or nurture within its assumptions. For example, this approach assumes that maladaptive behaviour is caused by faulty and irrational cognitions and it is the way an individual thinks about a problem rather than the problem which causes mental disorders (Glassman and Hadad, 2013). In this sense,
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