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The strengths and weaknesses of the learning theory and the evolutionary theory

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    Haven't got a clue what this is about, but a friend has asked if you lot know anything about these concepts for the Psychology AS exam next week; any help would be appreciated.
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    I don't have the a level textbook here, so off the of my head:
    Evolutionary psychology
    Pros: research support Buss (1999) showed cross cultural norms in relationships, supporting evolutionary explanations as because we all grew up in the same age of evolutionary adaptiveness. Dunbar & Dunbar - matching hypothesis (we choose mates on a similar level of attractiveness to us) - shows that we want the same level of health we get. The studies on lonely hearts columns show that men and women look for different things, showing that we've evolved different mechanisms (women look for resources, men look for looks and youth).

    Cons: Not falsifiable; evolutionary theory isn't falsifiable because it says we evolved the same mechanisms, but these are fine tuned for culture with memes. So if there's a universal trait it's due to evolution, if not due to memes.
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    here are a few, hope it helps:

    Learning theory Strengths:
    1. We do learn by association (classical conditioning). This was demonstrated by Pavlov he struck a bell when the dogs were fed. If the bell was sounded in close association with their meal, the dogs learnt to associate the sound of the bell with food. After a while, at the mere sound of the bell, they responded by drooling.
    Weaknesses:
    1. The approach is reductionist. Behaviour is reduced to simple associations between behaviour and the environment. It ignores the cognitive factors that have been shown to be important in behaviour, however you could also add that social learning theory was developed to overcome these issues.
    2. Also not all behaviour is learnt. This approach would argue that anger is a learned trait however the biological approach offers some alternative explanations. They argue that hormones such as testosterone determine our behaviour. E.g. someone is angry, behaviourist would say they have imitated the behaviour but the biological approach would argue that this person is aggressive due to high levels of testosterone.
    Evolutionary Theory Strengths:
    1. It can offer some explanations about behaviours such as aggression. Males would fight each other for territory in hunter gatherer times and so it may explain aggression today, that we have inherited this trait from our ancestors because the more aggressive we are the likely we are to survive and pass on our genes.
    Weaknesses:
    1. It can’t be falsified because assumptions are mainly based on non-testable hypothesis. If we can’t test the hypothesis the validity of the theory must always be questioned.
    2. It heavily realises on animal research. Can we generalize from animals to humans? There are clear qualitative differences between humans and animals, we no longer have to behave in certain ways to survive and pass on our genes like animals do.
    3. Also some behaviour are not always adaptive. Anorexia is explained by evolutionary theorists as adaptive because some members in hunter gatherer times would starve themselves when food was scarce. However if it was adaptive to starve yourself then surely it would be found equally in men and women, but more women suffer from it. The more maladaptive the behaviour the more likely it will go away but anorexia is on the rise. This suggests there are other reasons that determine our behaviour such as psychological or cognitive.
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    (Original post by paperclip)
    I don't have the a level textbook here, so off the of my head:
    Evolutionary psychology
    Pros: research support Buss (1999) showed cross cultural norms in relationships, supporting evolutionary explanations as because we all grew up in the same age of evolutionary adaptiveness. Dunbar & Dunbar - matching hypothesis (we choose mates on a similar level of attractiveness to us) - shows that we want the same level of health we get. The studies on lonely hearts columns show that men and women look for different things, showing that we've evolved different mechanisms (women look for resources, men look for looks and youth).

    Cons: Not falsifiable; evolutionary theory isn't falsifiable because it says we evolved the same mechanisms, but these are fine tuned for culture with memes. So if there's a universal trait it's due to evolution, if not due to memes.

    (Original post by Mudya)
    here are a few, hope it helps:

    Learning theory Strengths:
    1. We do learn by association (classical conditioning). This was demonstrated by Pavlov he struck a bell when the dogs were fed. If the bell was sounded in close association with their meal, the dogs learnt to associate the sound of the bell with food. After a while, at the mere sound of the bell, they responded by drooling.
    Weaknesses:
    1. The approach is reductionist. Behaviour is reduced to simple associations between behaviour and the environment. It ignores the cognitive factors that have been shown to be important in behaviour, however you could also add that social learning theory was developed to overcome these issues.
    2. Also not all behaviour is learnt. This approach would argue that anger is a learned trait however the biological approach offers some alternative explanations. They argue that hormones such as testosterone determine our behaviour. E.g. someone is angry, behaviourist would say they have imitated the behaviour but the biological approach would argue that this person is aggressive due to high levels of testosterone.
    Evolutionary Theory Strengths:
    1. It can offer some explanations about behaviours such as aggression. Males would fight each other for territory in hunter gatherer times and so it may explain aggression today, that we have inherited this trait from our ancestors because the more aggressive we are the likely we are to survive and pass on our genes.
    Weaknesses:
    1. It can’t be falsified because assumptions are mainly based on non-testable hypothesis. If we can’t test the hypothesis the validity of the theory must always be questioned.
    2. It heavily realises on animal research. Can we generalize from animals to humans? There are clear qualitative differences between humans and animals, we no longer have to behave in certain ways to survive and pass on our genes like animals do.
    3. Also some behaviour are not always adaptive. Anorexia is explained by evolutionary theorists as adaptive because some members in hunter gatherer times would starve themselves when food was scarce. However if it was adaptive to starve yourself then surely it would be found equally in men and women, but more women suffer from it. The more maladaptive the behaviour the more likely it will go away but anorexia is on the rise. This suggests there are other reasons that determine our behaviour such as psychological or cognitive.
    Thank you.

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