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An introduction How psychologists explain human behaviour Why do people behave the way they do?

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Presentation on theme: "An introduction How psychologists explain human behaviour Why do people behave the way they do?"— Presentation transcript:

1 An introduction How psychologists explain human behaviour Why do people behave the way they do?

2 Biological approach to understanding human behaviour All behaviour is determined by genetic, physiological and neurological factors The central nervous system and the ‘brain’ is a major influence Normality is a properly functioning nervous system

3 Biological approach to understanding human behaviour The nature of psychological development Stages of behavioural & psychological development are based on changes in brain growth which are genetically determined (maturation) Preferred method of study Experiment (on animals often rats and humans)

4 Biological approach to understanding human behaviour Major causes of abnormal behaviour  genetic disorders  organic (bodily) disorders  brain disease or injury  chemical imbalance / allergies  mental illness

5 Biological approach to understanding human behaviour Preferred methods of treatment chemotherapy( drugs) electroconvulsive therapy; psychosurgery Goals of treatment To alleviate symptoms or to reverse the underlying cause (s) of the illness Key Studies Maguire et al : Brains of London Taxi Drivers Sperry: The split brain studies

6 Psychodynamic approach (perspective) to understanding human behaviour (Freud) Behaviour determined by unconscious forces The individual experiences unconscious conflict due to opposing demands made by different parts of the personality (id, ego, superego) Normality A reasonable balance between id, ego, superego but there is always some conflict

7 Psychodynamic approach (perspective) to understanding human behaviour (Freud) The nature of psychological development Five psychosexual stages whose sequence is determined by maturation An individual is shaped by early childhood experiences

8 Psychodynamic approach (perspective) to understanding human behaviour (Freud) Preferred method of study is case study Key Studies: Freud, S. (1909) Analysis of a phobia in a five-year-old boy. Pelican Freud Library, Vol. 8, Case Histories Thigpen, C.H. & Cleckley, H. (1954) A case of multiple personality.

9 Psychodynamic approach (perspective) to understanding human behaviour (Freud) Major causes of abnormal behaviour Emotional disturbance / neurosis caused by unresolved conflicts stemming from childhood Preferred methods of treatment Psychoanalysis in which the unconscious is revealed Goals of treatment To uncover unconscious conflict and to achieve balance between id, ego, superego

10 Behaviourist approach (perspective) to understanding human behaviour All human behaviour shaped by environmental forces behaviour is learned by classical & operant conditioning (Pavlov’s dogs) Normality The possession of an adequately large repertoire of learned responses

11 Behaviourist approach (perspective) to understanding human behaviour Major causes of abnormal behaviour learned maladaptive responses no distinction between symptoms and behaviour disorder Key Study: Little Albert: J Watson & R Rayner (1926) Conditioned emotional responses

12 Behaviourist approach (perspective) to understanding human behaviour Preferred methods of treatment –behaviour therapy –systematic desensitisation –aversion therapy, flooding therapy Goals of treatment To eliminate maladaptive responses (phobias etc) and to acquire new ones

13 Behaviourist approach (perspective) to understanding human behaviour Classical conditioning With care & patience, it is possible to demonstrate the conditioning of the eye-blink reflex in humans. In pairs choose who will be the experimenter and the learner Experimenter - blow carefully (use a drinking straw ) across the eyeball. Now pair the puff of air with a gentle tap on the back of the participants hand. Record the number of pairings required to produce the eye-blink to the tap on the hand alone.

14 Cognitive approach to understanding human behaviour The human mind is compared to a computer (information processor) as cognitive processes select, code, store and retrieve information Key Study Areas: Memory, Perception, Language Normality The proper functioning of cognitive processes & ability to use them to monitor & control behaviour

15 Cognitive approach to understanding human behaviour The nature of psychological development Stages of cognitive development (Key Names: Jean Piaget, L Vygotsky) Preferred methods of study experiment (mainly humans) artificial intelligence

16 Cognitive approach to understanding human behaviour The major causes of abnormal behaviour unrealistic/irrational ideas about self & others the inability to monitor behaviour through cognitive processes Key studies: Loftus & Palmer – how leading questions reconstruct memory Samuel & Bryant: Asking only one question in the conservation tasks

17 Cognitive approach to understanding human behaviour Preferred methods of treatment Rational Emotive Therapy Cognitive Behaviour Therapy e.g. Pain clinics / depression clinics The goals of treatment To correct unrealistic ideas so that thinking becomes an effective means of controlling behaviour

18 Key questions to ask about human behaviour Do people behave the way they do because of the sort of ‘person’ they are the dispositional explanation or because of the situation they are in? the situational explanation or ‘a bit of both’

19 Key questions to ask about human behaviour Do people behave the way they do because of biological (nature) reasons or because of their environmental (nurture) experiences? or ‘a bit of both’

20 Key questions to ask about human behaviour How can metaphysical mental processes cause behaviour? The ghost in the machine!

21 Psychology of why people behave the way they do !


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