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Psychologists use some different approaches to the scientific study of behavior and mental processes.

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Modern psychologists use some different approaches to the scientific study of behavior and mental processes

Biological Approach:

  • Biological explanations are based on knowledge of living cells and organic systems. Brain scanning technologies have transform research of this type.
  • Scientists have increasingly full knowledge of cell interactions, chemical influences on the nervous system, and brain/behavior relationships.

Behavioral Approach:

  • Behavioral explanations highlight relationships between the organism and its environment plus the organism's history of learning.
  • The environment is conceived as stimulation that can be measured. The organism responds with behaviors that also can be measured.
  • Behaviorists once confined their notice to exterior, observable behavior. Now most consider thoughts and emotions as hidden behavior which can be measured and manipulated almost like visible behavior.

Cognitive Approach:

  • Cognitive approachesstress information processing. Cognitive psychologists study the mental representation of thoughts, images, knowledge, and emotions.

The word representation refers to the brain's storage of memories, images, perceptions, thoughts, and other mental contents.

Subjective Approaches:

  • This psychology approach describes unique thoughts, feelings, and experiences of individuals. Subjective approaches include phenomenology, which takes the individual's skill as a starting point. If we ask you to report how it feels to be reading this text, for example, that is a study of phenomenology.

One might argue that all four perspectives are relevant to almost all areas of psychology.

  • Psychology is by nature a very integrative science, employing a range of perspectives on the same phenomena.

Nomothetic Approach:

  • This approach is also called as Quantitative approach and it is basically used inferential and descriptive statistics as both mediums of scientific method of investigation in analyzing, presenting, and interpretation of data gathered by the researcher through standardized or objective instruments.

Idiographic Approach:

  • This approach is also called as Qualitative approach and it tends not to use inferential or descriptive statistics, but rather uses qualitative methods of data gathering such as interviews, diaries, and other written materials, obtained from or provided by the expected or anticipated respondents of a particular research.
  • The term “idiographic” comes from the Greek word “idios” meaning “own” or “private”. Psychologists interested in this aspect of experience seek to discover what makes each of us unique.

Despite the importance of our genetic individuality, proceeding from biology, the difference between the nomothetic and the idiographic is often equated with two types of science the natural sciences concerned with discovering laws of nature, and the social sciences concerned with individual meanings.

  • We can examine these differences further by seeing how they communicate to personality theory.

The other Psychology Research Approaches are

  • Archival research
  • Case study
  • Computational modeling
  • Content analysis
  • Controlled experiment
  • Field experiment
  • Interview, can be structured or unstructured.


  • Observation, can be naturalistic, participant or controlled.
  • Quasi experiment