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Issues and debates.

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Presentation on theme: "Issues and debates."— Presentation transcript:

1 Issues and debates

2 Holism vs. reductionism
Describe what you see in relation to the following images….


4 Do you see things holistically?
Is this a duck or is it an animal made up of separate component organs?

5 Did you perceive an image of a cube?
There is in fact no cube in the image and your mind has created a cube due to the position and configuration of the black shapes. If you examine the image on the right, what you will instantly perceive is the outline of a cube.   However, there is in fact no cube in the image and your mind has created a cube due to the position and configuration of the black shapes.

6 Holism vs. reductionism (30 minutes)
Work through the hand out. Define and give examples of the following terms… Holism Reductionism Parsimony Levels of explanations Biological reductionism Environmental reductionism

7 What is reductionism and holism?
Holism: Attempts to understanding human behaviour can only be done through analysing the person or the behaviour as a whole rather than its constituent parts. Reductionism: Analysing behaviour by breaking it down into its constituent parts. It is based around the scientific principle of parsimony. All behaviour should be explained using the most basic (lowest levels) principles.

8 The simplest explanation is normally the correct one.
Levels of Explanations How explanations vary from those at a lower or fundamental level focusing on basic components or units to those at a higher more holistic multivariable level. The Law of Parsimony The simplest explanation is normally the correct one.

9 Levels of explanation (reductionism)
There are different levels of reductionism so different ways of viewing behaviour Each one is more reductionist than the one The reductionist approach argues explanations begin at the highest level and progressively REDUCE to consider behaviours at component elements. Social/Cultural Psychological Physical Physiological Neurochemical Increased reductionism Macro Micro

10 Reductionism Biological Reductionism
refers to the way that biological psychologists try to reduce behaviour to a physical level and explain it in terms of neurons, neurotransmitters, hormones, brain structure, etc. Environmental Reductionism is also known as stimulus-response reductionism. Behaviourists assume that all behaviour can be reduced to the simple building blocks of S-R (stimulus-response) associations and that complex behaviours are a series of S-R chains. This is based on the premise that we are biological organisms made up physiological structures and processes. Thus, all behaviour is at some level biological and so can be explained through neurochemical, neurophysiological, evolutionary and genetic influences. The behaviourist approach is built on environmental reductionism. Behaviourists study observable behaviour only, and in doing so, break complex learning up into simple stimulus-response links that are measurable within the laboratory. The key unit of analysis occurs at the physical level- the behaviourist approach does not concern itself with mental (cognitive) processes of the mind that occur at the psychological level. The mind is regarded as a ‘black box’- irrelevant to our understanding of behaviour. The process of thought itself was seen by the early behaviourist John Watson as a form of ‘sub-vocal’ (silent) speech, characterised by physical movement, the same as any other behaviour.

11 Examples: Environmental reductionism
Year 1 Psychopathology: The behaviourist approach claims that phobias are acquired through classical conditioning and maintained through operant conditioning

12 Examples: Biological explanations
This is the assumption of the biological approach and has been successfully applied to a number of different topic areas in psychology. For example, the effects of psychoactive drugs on the brain have contributed much to our understanding of neural processes and the fact that it might be possible to explain serious mental disorders such as OCD, depression and schizophrenia at a biochemical level. Year 1 Psychopathology: The biological approach claims that OCD is caused by higher levels of dopamine and lower levels of serotonin.

13 Environmental (stimulus-response) reductionism
+Parsimony: simple is better to understand behaviour that complex, over detailed explanations + successfully explains behaviour like phobias Too simplistic Focus is on learned association and ignores other factors

14 Biological reductionism
+ Scientific + Easy to replicate studies + Allows for successful treatments Too simplistic/ incomplete explanation Ignores learned behaviours Ignores social factors

15 Holism & Reductionism Which is more…? Scientific Objective
Deterministic Economical

16 Holism: evaluation The case for Holism
Some topics such as conformity to social roles and deindividuation cannot be understood without taking a holistic approach. Against Holism Holistic explanations such as the humanistic approach can be criticised for a lack of empirical (scientific) evidence.

17 Reductionism: evaluation
The case for Reductionism In order to ensure a scientific approach behaviour needs to be operationalised, broken down into its constituent parts to ensure measurement is valid and cause and effect is observed in relation to the effect of the independent variable on the dependent variable. We need to make sure the dependent variable is not affected by other extraneous variables so a reductionist approach is crucial. The case against Reductionism Explanations such as the genetic and biochemical fails to take account of the social context in which the behaviour occurs.

18 Exam practice Explain what psychologists mean by ‘levels of explanation’ in relation to reductionism. [3 marks] Give an example of biological reductionism from an area of psychology you have studied. [3 marks] Outline and evaluate reductionist explanations in psychology. (Total 8 marks) Discuss holism and reductionism in psychology. [16 marks] The best way to understand and explain behaviour is to reduce it to the simplest component parts.’ In the context of the holism-reductionism debate, discuss this view. Refer to at least one topic in your answer. (Total 16 marks)

19 Mark Scheme Use key terms - accurately and explain them.
Evaluation must be well developed/well explained. Balanced – strengths and weaknesses. (1 of each) Definitions are correct. Linked to the question. Clear line of argument. Use paragraphs. Arrive at own set of criteria – student friendly translation

20 Mark Scheme

21 Mark Scheme

22 Mark Scheme

23 Mark Scheme Our translation: Peer Assess
Use key terms - accurately and explain them. Evaluation must be well developed/well explained. Balanced – strengths and weaknesses. (1 of each) Definitions are correct. Linked to the question. Clear line of argument. Use paragraphs. Peer Assess Highlight/Annotate the assessment objectives in the answer. Circle anything they could improve Give them one strength, one target and an overall mark.

24 Discuss holism and reductionism in psychology. [16 marks]
Create a plan A01 Reductionism (biological/environmental) – OCD/PHOBIA A01 Holism (Gestalt) A03 Psychology as a science (experimental, reductionism, causal relationships) Real world applications (SSRI’s) Reductionism is limited: igmores the complexity of behaviour

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