Psychology is the scientific study of the way the human mind works and how it influences behaviour, or the influence of a person’s character on their behaviour. There are 7 main approaches in psychologywhich are: · The Biological Approach· The Behavioural Approach· The Cognitive Approach· The Social Approach· The Psychodynamic Approach· The Evolutionary Approach· The Cross-Cultural Approach· The Humanistic ApproachAn approach is a view that involves certain beliefs and ideas abouthuman behaviour: the way they function, which aspects of them are worthy ofstudy and what research methods are appropriate for undertaking this study.This essay will focus on the behavioural approach. Behaviourism (behaviouralpsychology) is a theory of learning based on the idea that all behaviours areacquired through conditioning. Conditioning occurs through interaction with theenvironment. Behaviourists believe how we respond to the environment (stimuli) shapesour actions. Behaviourism was first mentioned in the 1913 publication of JohnB.
Watson’s classic paper, “Psychology as the Behaviourist Views It.”.He famously said: “Give me a dozen healthy infants, well-formed, and myown specified world to bring them up in and I’ll guarantee to take any one atrandom and train him to become any type of specialist I might select – doctor,lawyer, artist, merchant-chief and, yes, even beggar-man and thief, regardlessof his talents, penchants, tendencies, abilities, vocations and the race of hisancestors” (Watson, 1924, p.
104).Strict behaviourists believe that all behaviours are the result ofexperience. The Behaviourist approach has 2 processes; Classical conditioningand Operant conditioning. The classical conditioning theory involves learning anew behaviour using the process of association. Two stimuli are linked togetherto produce a newly learned response in a person or animal. The newly learnedstimulus is known as the conditioned stimulus and the learned behaviour isknown as the conditioned response. Classical conditioning (CC) was studied bythe Russian psychologist Ivan Pavlov. By looking into natural reflexes andneutral stimuli he conditioned dogs to salivate to the sound of a bell throughrepeated associated with the sound of the bell and food.
Different factors caninfluence the classical conditioning process. Factors such as the significanceof the stimuli and the timing of presentation can play a key role in howquickly an association is formed. When an association disappears, this is knownas extinction, causing the behaviour to weaken gradually or vanish. Factorssuch as the strength of the original response affect how quickly extinctionoccurs. The longer a response has been conditioned, the longer it could takefor it to become extinct.Operant conditioning is the second process in the behaviourist approach.
B.F. Skinner created the term Operant conditioning (instrumental conditioning);this is a method of learning that occurs through rewards and punishments for behaviour.Through operant conditioning, a connection is made between behaviour and aconsequence for that behaviour. Skinner believed that it is more productive tostudy observable behaviour rather than internal mental events. The work ofSkinner based on the view that classical conditioning was too simplistic to bean explanation of complex human behaviour. He believed that the best way tounderstand behaviour is to look at what causes an action and the consequences. Skinner identified three types of responses that can follow behaviour:• Neutral operant’s: responses from theenvironment that do not alter or change the behaviour being repeated.
• Reinforcers: responses from theenvironment that increase the chance of a behaviour being repeated. Reinforcerscan be either positive or negative.• Punishers: responses from theenvironment that decrease the chance of a behaviour being repeated.
Punishmentweakens behaviour.His theory was influenced by the work of psychologist Edward Thorndike,who had proposed what he called the law of effect. According to this principle,actions that are followed by desirable outcomes are more likely to be repeatedwhile those followed by undesirable outcomes are less likely to be repeated. Operantconditioning relies on the fact that actions that are followed by reinforcementwill be strengthened and more likely to occur again in the future. Actions that result in punishment orundesirable consequences will be weakened and less likely to occur again in thefuture.Depression (major depressive disorder) is a common medical illness thatnegatively affects the way you feel, think and how you behave. Depressioncauses feelings of sadness, a loss of interest in activities that were onceenjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and candecrease a person’s ability to function at work and at home.
Symptoms ofdepression include:• Feeling sad or having a depressedmood• Changes in appetite — weight loss orgain unrelated to dieting• Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much• Loss of energy or increased fatigue• Feeling worthless or guilty• Difficulty thinking, concentrating ormaking decisions• Thoughts of death or suicide• Lack of motivation• Avoidingcontact with friends and taking part in fewer social activities• Neglectingyour hobbies and interests• Havingdifficulties in your home and family lifeApproximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience amental health problem each year. In England, 1 in 6 people report experiencinga common mental health problem (such as anxiety and depression) in any givenweek. In 2016 3.3 in 100 people suffered from depression.There are several different types of depression:• Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) – Depressionthat usually occurs in the winter. Related to the winter season. • Dysthymia –Dysthymia also known as persistentdepressive disorder (PDD) is a mood disorder consisting of the same cognitiveand physical problems as depression, with mild but longer-lasting symptoms.• Prenatal depression – Also known as antenataldepression, is a clinical depression that occurs during pregnancy.
• Postnatal depression (PND) – Occursin the first weeks and months after becoming a parent. Postnatal depression isusually diagnosed in women but it can affect men, too.Treatment for depression usuallyinvolves a combination of self-help, talking therapies and medicines. The treatment that will berecommended will be based on the type of depression you have.Behavioural psychologists use concept of learning theory to explainhuman behaviour.
According to behavioural theory, dysfunctional or unhelpful behavioursuch as depression is learned. Because depression is learned, behaviouralpsychologists suggest that it can also be unlearned. In the mid 1970s, PeterLewinsohn argued that depression is caused by a combination of stressors in aperson’s environment and a lack of personal skills. The environmental stressorscause a person to receive a low rate of positive reinforcement.
Positivereinforcement occurs when people do something they find pleasurable andrewarding. According to learning theory, receiving positive reinforcement increasesthe chances that people will repeat the sorts of actions they have taken that causedthem to receive that reward. According to Lewinsohn, depressed people are peoplewho don’t know how to cope with the fact that they are no longer receivingpositive reinforcements like they were before. Some depressed people becomepositively reinforced for acting depressed when family members and socialnetworks take pity on them and provide them with special support because theyare “sick”. As a result they almost feel rewarded because they get todo less and still receive support and extra help. Behaviourists didn’t focus onpeople’s thoughts, perceptions, evaluations or expectations and instead focusedentirely on their outward, directly observable and measurable behaviour.
Theydid this because they believed internal feelings and thoughts were irrelevantto the process of influencing behaviour, and too hard to measure with any accuracy.Recent research shows that internal events such as perceptions, expectations,values, attitudes, fears, desires, etc. do affect behaviour, and are importantto take into account when doing therapy.
Behaviourism allowed researchers to investigate observable behaviour ina scientific and organised way but behaviourism failed by not accounting forthe unconscious mind’s thoughts, feelings, and desires that influence people’sactions. More recently, biological psychology has highlighted the power thebrain and genetics play in determining and influencing human actions. Thebiological approach believes that most behaviour is inherited and has anadaptive function. Biological psychologists explain behaviours in neurologicalterms; the physiology and structure of the brain and how this influences behaviour. Many biological psychologists have focused onabnormal behaviour and have tried to explain it. An example of this is biologicalpsychologists believe that schizophrenia is affected by levels of dopamine (aneurotransmitter). These findings have helped psychiatry take off and helprelieve the symptoms of the mental illness through drugs.
However, Freud andother psychologists would argue that this just treats the symptoms and not thecause. Behaviourism has been criticizedin the way it under-estimates how complex human behaviour is. Many studies usedanimals which are hard to generalize to humans, and it cannot explain, forexample, the speed in which we pick up language.
There must be biologicalfactors involved.