Biological and cognitive

Compare and Contrast the Psychodynamic and Cognitive approaches in terms of similarities and differences. [12 Marks] The cognitive and psychodynamic approaches have many similarities and differences; these include debates in nature and nurture, the usefulness of these approaches, deterministic and scientific/non scientific. The psychodynamic approach takes into account both nature and nurture, however the cognitive approach has failed to recognise the influence of nature and nurture.

Freud claimed that adult personality is the product of innate drives (nature) and childhood experiences (nurture). These innate drives include the structure of the personality, Id, ego and superego as well as the psychosexual development every child passes through. If a child does not pass through these processes successfully it could lead to abnormalities in behaviour. The cognitive approach has carried out research into intelligence but has not looked at the influence of genes in its research or environmental factors (such as wealth) that could influence intelligence.

Therefore this clearly indicates that both approaches are different in terms of nature and nurture. The cognitive approach is useful and has been applied successfully in therapy. As one of the core assumptions of the cognitive approach is that mental processes influence our behaviour, therefore if these process are irrational this can lead to psychological problems. Therapy, such as RET, aims to replace these irrational thoughts with more positive ones. Engels (1994) concluded that Rational Emotive Therapy is an effective treatment for a number of different disorders.

In contrast, the psychodynamic approach is useful in many different ways; it highlights the importance of childhood experiences, arguing that it is a critical period of development. Who we become is greatly influenced by our childhood experiences. Ideas put forward by Freud have greatly influenced therapies used to treat mental disorders. For example, Freud was the first person to recognise that psychological factors could influence physical symptoms of paralysis, as shown in the Anna O case. This represents that both approaches are similar in terms of usefulness.

A further similarity is that both approaches are seen to be deterministic. Freud believed that our behaviour is determined by innate forces, id, ego and superego, and childhood experience. It therefore believes that we have no free will (choice) on who we become and how we behave. The psychodynamic approach sees our personality as shaped (pre-determined) by forces that we cannot change nor have any control over. The cognitive approach has also been criticised for being deterministic. Schemas are seen to be important in an individual’s behaviour.

For example, Piaget suggested that cognitive development is essential for the development of schemas. Another way we acquire schemas is through social interaction and we learn stereotypes through these interactions. For example, ‘a person that wears glasses is intelligent’. These schemas and stereotypes determine the way we interpret a situation. Another difference between the two approaches is in terms of whether it uses a scientific or non-scientific method. The psychodynamic approach is not scientific as it is not testable, and this leads to difficulty to falsify.

For example the use of dream analysis is a subjective method, and therefore there are no scientific measurements of interpretation. Also much of Freud’s work was based on a very small sample and it is difficult to generalise these findings to other people in the population. The cognitive approach on the other hand believes that behaviour should be testable in a scientific manner; it should be measurable in a quantitative manner. Behaviour should be studied objectively and variables should be operationalised so they are simple and easy to measure.

For example Loftus et al (1987) used lab experiments to highlight that when victims are faced with a weapon they focus more on the actual weapon rather than the offender. Compare and contrast the Biological and Behaviourist Approach in terms of similarities and differences. [12 Marks] There are many similarities and differences between the Biological and Behaviourist approaches. The first difference is that the biological approach focuses on nature whilst the behaviourist approach focuses on nurture. The behaviourist approach says that our behaviour is moulded by society which is a nurture belief.

The behaviourist approach believes that we are born as a ‘blank slate’ and society shapes our behaviour. The two main processes of learning behaviour are through classical conditioning, which is learning through association and operant conditioning, which is learning through negative and positive associations/reinforcement. On the other hand the biological approach focuses on nature as one of the assumptions is that all psychological disorders can be explained by neurotransmitters, DNA and the brain structure.

For example, schizophrenia is explained by the biological approach by high levels of dopamine or genetic makeup. This clearly shows that nature is the true cause of psychological abnormalities. A similarity is that both approaches are useful as they are used as a treatment. The biological approach has also led to many forms of treatments. Chemotherapy is a popular form of treatment because it is easy and enables many patients with mental illnesses to live a relatively normal life outside of mental hospitals.

Also Selye’s research has had a major impact on our understanding of the link between stress and illness. It has led to a large amount of other research that people recover less quickly from wounds when they are stressed. Such understanding has been applied in a hospital setting to reduce stress and anxiety to help patients recover quickly. The behaviourist approach is also useful and has been successfully applied to the real world, particularly in the treatment of phobias and education.

Classical conditioning has been applied to systematic desensitisation, and this has been helpful in helping people deal with phobias. The principles of operant conditioning have been applied in education, helping to underlie successful teaching. Positive reinforcement and punishment have helped shape behaviour in the classroom. Skinner applied the principles of operant conditioning to teaching. Skinners concepts meant that each student could work at their own pace and receive positive reinforcement to encourage future learning.

Another similarity is that both approaches are reductionist. The biological approach is reductionist as it only focuses on simple physiological factors that influence human behaviour. Biological explanations reduce complex human behaviours to a set of simple explanations, for example reducing …

A similarity between the two approaches is that they are both useful. The biological approach has been successfully applied to the real world in terms of treating mental disorders. Chemotherapy is a popular form of treatment that enables patients with …

The purpose of this essay is to discuss and evaluate different approaches that are used to find the cause and treat various mental disorders. There are five major approaches in Psychology, which are: The Behaviourist Approach, The Cognitive Approach, The …

This essay will attempt to explore three approaches in psychology which will be the psychoanalytical, behaviourist and the cognitive approach. The main features of these approaches will be highlighted and there strengths and weaknesses will be evaluated. Qualifications within certain …

David from Healtheappointments:

Hi there, would you like to get such a paper? How about receiving a customized one? Check it out