Approaches to Psychology

Assignment 1
Task 1
Task one of this document will demonstrate an understanding and produce an evaluation of The Behavioural and Physiological and Cognitive Approaches to Psychology, selected from the numerous Approaches available.
Psychology is both an applied and academic field that studies the human mind and behaviour. Research in psychology seeks to understand and explain the thought, emotion and behaviour. (
The Behavioural Approach
This is the theory of learning based upon the idea that all behaviours are acquired through classical (natural occurring stimuli paired with a response) and operant (active behaviour that operates upon the environment to generate consequences) conditioning. Accordingly, behaviour can be studied in a systematic and observable manner, with no consideration of internal mental state.
One of the most famous behaviourism theorists John B. Watkins conducted “The Little Albert Experiment”, where a small child was conditioned to fear a white rat by playing loud, horrific sounds when the rat was present. The child’s fear became generalised with other objects that resembled the rat thus proving that human reactions can be classically conditioned.
B.F.Skinner’s Operant Conditioning theory explained that by using positive/negative reinforcement or punishment cause an increase or decrease in behaviours. For example, an employee works significantly harder to gain a promotion as a reward. Behaviourism assumes that we are all born equally as “a blank slate”, the complete opposite to the Cognitive Approach, which relies on the study of thought processes. Behaviourism can not be dismissed as the effects of the environment must be considered in the development of personality and behaviours. Classical conditioning also explains phobias and neurosis, therefore some aspects of behaviourism can be used today in psychotherapy. It is also easy to quantify as it’s based upon observation.   However, there are many criticisms...