Holism and reductionism: levels of explanation in psychology. Biological reductionism and environmental (stimulus-response) reductionism.

Qualification: A-Level Psychology
Paper: Issues and options in psychology
Unit: Issues and debates in psychology
Assessment criteria: Holism and reductionism: levels of explanation in psychology. Biological reductionism and environmental (stimulus-response) reductionism.

  • Holism = A way of understanding behaviour and the mind by focusing on looking at things as a whole from an outside perspective.
  • Holism looks at multiple factors such as biology, environment and social in order to determine why behaviour may have occurred.
  • Reductionism = Opposite to holism as it looks at things more closely and simply in order to understand behaviour.
  • Biological reductionism = The belief human characteristics, both mental and external, are determined by hereditary factors.
  • Environmental reductionism = The belief our external sources such as our environment determines our behaviour.

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