SIX APPROACHES
TO
Ψ
 NEUROBIOLOGY- Believe that our
behavior is controlled by biological
responses in the body. (heart rate,
adrenalin, etc.)
 BEHAVIORISM- Believe that our
responses are directly related to past
experiences. Have we been rewarded or
punished in the past for the behavior,
or a similar behavior?
 HUMANISM- Believe that people are
naturally good. We are in control of
who we become, we control our own
destiny, not our environment.
PSYCHOANALYTIC- Believe that our
subconscious controls our behavior. We
are not aware of what drives us. (Freud)
COGNITIVE- Believe that our behaviors
are controlled by the internal
conversations we have with ourselves.
(talk yourself into or out of situations)
SOCIOCULTURAL- Believe that our
social environment controls our behavior.
(socio-economic, ethnic, religion).
Try these examples…
• Dr. Smith is studying the chemical effects
of alcohol on the brain.
• Professor Davis is conducting a study to
determine the effects on behavior of
excessive viewing of television.
• Graduate student John is gathering
evidence that shows a vocabulary-study
curriculum will enhance student learning.
Try these examples…
• Dr. Stewart teaches his clients to reflect on
events in their lives to help them make
better choices in their lives.
• Dr. Kelli studies the relationship between
early-childhood experiences and a
person’s personality traits.
• College student Susan is studying the
Navajo culture’s impact on the youth who
live inside the Navajo Nation.
How about another option?
• Eclecticism:
– creating your own system by borrowing
from two or more other systems
– Combining approaches to explain
behaviors / situations
Apply the Six Approaches to a
common situation…
Maria’s Problem
Maria wants to ask for a raise, but begins to
sweat uncontrollably every time she even gets
near her boss.
 What is the behavior?
How would you, as a psychologist, use each different
approach to explain this simple behavior?
Write a 2-3 sentence explanation for Maria’s
problem for each of the Six Approaches.
(Neurobiological, Behavioral, Humanistic,
Psychoanalytic, Cognitive, Sociocultural)
NEUROBIOLOGICAL
Maria has little control over how her body
reacts in this situation. This situation
causes increased adrenaline as well as
heart rate which in turn results in sweating.
She probably has the same reaction in
similar situations she cannot control.
BEHAVIORAL
Maria’s reaction is a result from being
punished, or observing punishment in
similar situations, maybe even by her
current boss. If she had been rewarded in
similar situations in the past the reaction
would be different.
Humanistic
Maria is potentially a good person, but she
does not seem to realize this. (internal
confidence problem) With some help she
hopefully will reconnect with her inner
strength and reach her potential.
Psychoanalytical
Maria’s uneasiness with her boss probably
represents hidden anxiety toward
someone else in her past, someone
probably very close to her. Through
psychoanalysis we might be able to
extinguish her anxiety.
Cognitive
Maria’s inner voice is probably telling her
things are going to go bad and she doesn’t
deserve the raise. She needs to replace
the negative internal statements to positive
ones.
Sociocultural
We need to view Maria’s apprehension in a
cultural context. Maybe she was brought
up to believe that she should never
confront authority figures. She needs to
decide if this cultural norm is important
enough to honor in this situation.
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2_Six Approaches to Psych notes