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Issues & debates p2

AQA A-level psychology issues and debates year 13

Holism An approach which focuses on understanding the entirety of a person’s experiences and behaviours by appreciating the complexity and interdependence of all relevant factors
Reductionism An approach which focuses on individual “parts” of a person’s experiences and behaviours without explaining how they interact
Emergent properties Properties of a whole that cannot be explained by any of the individual parts in isolation
Machine reductionism Viewing the mind as solely the product of mechanical or computational processes
Environmental reductionism Explains human behaviours solely in terms of environmental stimuli and their direct influence on behaviour
Biological reductionism Understanding complex phenomena solely in terms of the biological mechanisms that drive them such as genetics and hormones
Levels of explanation The different ways of understanding and explaining a particular behaviour or phenomenon using different perspectives to study them. The 3 main levels are Biological, psychological and social/environmental
Levels of explanation: biological How biological mechanisms contribute to thoughts, emotions, and actions
Levels of explanation: psychological How internal mental processes and cognitive functions contribute to our behaviour
Levels of explanation: social/environmental How the external environment, social interactions, cultural influences, and societal factors contribute to our behaviour
Integration of levels Sometimes it can be important to consider multiple levels of explanation to gain a holistic understanding of behaviour and this is known as the “biopsychosocial approach”
Idiographic The study of individuals to understand their unique characteristics, experiences, and behaviours
Nomothetic Attempts to identify general principles and laws that apply to all people, or at least, to a large population
Methods, and strengths: idiographic Uses qualitative data from methods such as interviews and case studies. Doesn't test hypotheses, only exceptions. Is more detailed, better suited to sensitive topics, and accounts for individual differences
Methods, and strengths: nomothetic Uses quantitative data from experimental methods as well as closed questions and meta analyses. Develops and tests specific hypotheses. More representative, conclusions are easier to draw, more replicable
What to include at the end of an essay question about idiographic vs nomothetic The debate is not necessary (false dichotomy) and it is better to have a mix of both
Socially sensitive research Research that could have an impact on society, either for specific individuals or a social group
Seiber and Stanley guidelines: The research question Simply by investigating a question can lend scientific credibility to it
Seiber and Stanley guidelines: Conduct of research and treatment of participants The most important ethical consideration is anonymity. Especially if it’s a socially sensitive issue, lack of confidentiality could cause harm
Seiber and Stanley guidelines: Institutional context Research is normally funded and managed by an institution or private company who may have a vested interest in the outcome and manipulate it by selectively publishing evidence in their favour
Seiber and Stanley guidelines: Interpretation and findings Even if research is conducted ethically, others may report and apply these findings unethically so it is important to think of the consequences for socially sensitive research
Created by: Study_B
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