Asked by TahminPsychology 🧠

Can you explain determinism and reductionism in terms of behaviourism? And why they are limitations?

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Suheda Geneci

Medical Neuroscience - University of Sussex | 2yrs experience

Reductionism is breaking down complex behaviour into several factors making it easy to test and creates a cause and effect relationship. E.g. behaviourism reduces complex learning to just classical conditioning. It supports the idea of psychology as a science, as if you have one or two factors causing the behaviour they can be tested with scientific techniques. Limitations of reductionism: - ignores extraneous variables and other possible causes of behaviour -complex behaviour cannot be reduced to simple one or two factors as the human mind and behaviour does not work this way. An alternative approach can be taken such as holism (humanistic approach) which takes into account all factors that may influence an individuals behaviour. - Reductionism, however, may be favourable as it supports the psychology as a science concept and makes behaviour easy to test. Determinism is suggesting that a certain factor is the sole cause of behaviour. For example, cause of aggression is genetic predisposition (biological approach), or the cause of aggression is social learning ( behavioural approach). These ignore other factors, e.g. behaviourists ignore the influence of biology ( genetics ) on behaviour. This is a limitation as there is supporting evidence for all approaches, e.g. support from ct/mri scans for the role of biology in aggression, case studies supporting the behaviourists, etc. One approach may not be the sole cause of a behaviour.

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