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Talk about how culture limit deviation from statistical norms also how culture limit deviation from social norms?  


Analytical comparison between approaches in behavioural theories and cognitive psychology

While ‘Psychology’ as a specific branch of study, focus on particular aspect of human life and often provides a specialized understanding about the behavioural aspects, in its disaggregated form one would find a number of approaches differentiating from each other. Familiarising with processes in which psychology research and theory are applied, unfolds that at one end it oscillates from learning to application of physiological models in mental illness, maladaptive behaviour in other end. This changing phenomenon of applications has led to many theories and models that would fit into varying contexts under the broader branch of psychology. The usefulness of psychological theory and research has been demonstrated by many researchers and practitioner in changing contexts such as education, health service, clinical-social work, legal psychology, not only to improve the understanding of the processes but also achieve solutions for problems in profession Some of the most important approaches of psychology thus are behavioural theories, cognitive psychology, pseudo-dynamic theory, humanistic psychology, physiological psychology. Overall these approaches have application in the area of child development, to learning, mass media, persuasion and attitudinal change and at the other end at application of physiological models in mental illness, maladaptive behaviour and so on. Educational psychology encompasses educational environment, interventions, practices and behavioural assessment in education, and also teacher or instructors’ training. In the context of health of children, psychology plays a major role mainly in the form of clinical child psychology, children mental health etc. Similarly workplace and legal aspects are equally taken care by application of psychological theories and models.

The psychological research and theories has improved a general an understanding about various aspects of childhood development both normalcy as well as deviated, and this knowledge informs further understanding on various developmental disorders (autism and other) and a verities of learning difficulties (for instance dyslexia among other). The psychological research has contributed towards further building up new models on development related disorders in consonance with advances in genetically studies on autism and other neurological issues (Volkmar et. al, 2004). In near past years the magnitude and variety of psychological research has tremendously increased. For example even if new studies on epidemiology have frequently established the commonness of autism spectrum disorders, there are laudable arguments about why the frequency of diagnosis of autism has been more and more (Volkmar et. al, 2004). The research in cognitive psychology makes disaggregate analysis of recognition quotient of children for different word, formations of texts and many related aspects (Anthony, 1987). There is a number psychological research which provides relevant knowledge about the career developments and job managements, jobs security, employability among many other job related determinants. This includes many linked activities like employee responsibilities towards organisations, Individual awareness about the duties, planning of career, skill development training and re-training as results from psychological analysis (Anderson and Chalk, 1998). The results from many physiological research and evaluations have resonated the existence obligations perceived by new staffs in an organisation influence and act as deciding factor of their continuing with the organisation job with fullest commitment, satisfaction and better performance (Vos et.al, 2009).


Given that there are some similarities between behaviourist theory and cognitive psychology approach exist, contrasting dissimilarities too exist, which can be discussed in following. While behaviourist theory dwells upon the approach of psychology bringing together both methodology as well as theoretical aspect, the cognitive psychological approach is based on studying mental related processes like use of language, attention,  memory related aspects, perceptions of the subject, solving of problems, thinking and creativity. Alternatively the behaviourist theory emerged as result of reaction towards mentalist psychology to avoid difficulty in predictions and better use of rigorous types of experimental techniques. The behaviourist theory’ primary tenets are found in works of JB Watson, Skinner among others whereas the cognitive psychology is much known for Carl Wernicke’s and Paul Broca.  In terms of its application, behaviourist theories git use in applied behavioural analyses, management of organizational behaviour and certain mental disorders like autism, substances abuse etc. In contrast the cognitive psychology got its use in recognising and treating depressions which led to the development of therapy as well as antidepressant.

By criticisms against these two approaches, the behaviourist theorists voiced in critical words about works of cognitive psychology in terms of missing empiricism and incompatibility in the latter’s conceptualisation of mental state. In recent times, even the information process mechanism of the cognitive approach is being grossly questioned across modern psychology. However the behaviourist theory too has got criticism in certain components on claim of language being set of acquired habits through conditioning and the process being very gentle and slow in explaining phenomenon vis-a-vis learning of language. There is a number psychological research on areas of developmental difficulty that pre-term babies may encounter. Developmental psychology theory and developmental systems theory are useful in this respect.Developmental systems theory use in psychology focus of genetic factors and traits in psychological changes. Developmental psychology theory believes that knowledge by virtue of natural process comes from acquiring, reconstructing and then making use of this. Many theories have been propounded to explain certain behaviour and processes associated with the behaviour for children at different time and contexts. Some of them are general behavioural theories, cognitive theories, developmental theories, humanist theories, personality theories, social psychology theories, learning theories. Psychology researchers working on children behaviour employ many specialized techniques under the natural environment by giving children various activities such as games, tasks which children would enjoy and at the same time improve the processes at mental level methods in a scientific way. These applications can help child psychologists and research to solve many of the problems. This also can give learning to many other researchers and students spending lot of time and resources in examining the children’s change of life style.

Theories of developmental dyslexia use the theories to design some children who are struggling with their word reading and spelling. In case of alphabetic and number based processes, when a young student start getting into letters which then lead to verbal system (Anthony, 1987). This reasoning of written symbols is associated with speech sounds, is the key design principle of alphabetic writing and must be grasped by the child. Whether this knowledge is acquired implicitly (through the extraction of print-speech correspondences in text) or explicitly (through direct instruction) varies among children (Anthony, 1987).Many of the theories have discussed are compatible in many respects and indeed share the fundamental assumption that achieving reading skill requires use of the alphabetic principle. This principle, effectively applied to print-sound connections and supported by phonological sensitivity, is the critical factor in early success in learning to read (Anthony, 1987). The policy design should follow these learning’s from physiological research analysis of dyslexia. Although most federal or state policies have taken cognisance of this, but poor political will has not made this so successful around many countries (Rayner et.al, 2011). The consequences of early infant-caregiver attachment in later life have been explained by some psychological theories. This can help to devise checklists for hospital staff and health visitors to help maximise the likelihood of a child forming a secure attachment. Attachment theory of Bowlby and Erikson's stage theory are some of the very useful ones in this respect. Attachment theory propounded by Bowlby is applicable for normal as well as specific developmental processes. While it is quite normal and expected that most infants requite to realise and relationship with minimum of one primary care-giver for fulfilling the emotional need and social  development, the attachment theory of Bowlby  gives an understanding of the magnitude of these developments or links in terms of parent-child development.


Primary research methods used in Psychology:

While a number of quantitative and qualitative methods (both tools and techniques) are used in Psychology research, many of their choices depend on the contexts, feasibility, convenience, interpretability and scalability. The quantitative primary research methods used in psychology research aims at experimental examination of developing and testing hypotheses on the respondent’s behaviour within given situations. Whereas qualitative research methods used in psychology is aimed at scoping and feasibility studies before the actual quantitative study. Also the qualitative research methods used as primary tools in many psychological research aims to disentangle the process or the actual phenomenon behind a specific magnitude of occurrence which quantitative method would not present any detailed solution other than estimation only.

The quantitative primary method used in psychological research is manly conducted buy developing questionnaire on selected parameters, following a relevant sampling method (often probabilistic designs), undertaking face to face interview followed by data analysis and interpretation against each research question and hypotheses. The resource on this method could be relatively higher both by time, mind and money. However the main output of the quantitative method used in psychology research is the magnitude of the problem following an estimation closely thought to be similar to the universe. The primary research used in quantitative method in psychology research starts with formative research and end with recommendation for further research on the processes behind the estimated situations. Hence this may lead to right kind of qualitative research method.

The qualitative research method used primarily in psychological research are the case studies, ethnography, FGD, in-depth interview (IDI), informal group discussions etc. Among the case study is quite common. In this method a guideline is prepared taking the process related questions about the issues of the ones identified by quantitative survey. Then the guidelines are subjected over the respondents to allow free flow of information mostly unaffected and unbiased by the researcher or external environment. The recorded version of responses are analysed in terms of transcripts and then a detailed content analysed version is prepared. Then final output of the qualitative case study method is to present narratives around the real process behind a condition or situation.

The recent research on psychology research however focus on mixed methods comprising of both quantitative and qualitative techniques and tools for getting a holistic picture Thus happens when the quantitative research are design with the scoping information collected through qualitative methods and used to form survey tools and finally verified by qualitative tools and technique to close the loop. This is particularly important as many of the psychological researchers are not only looking for the magnitude of the problems, but also increasing getting interest in unearthing the detailed process behind each phenomenon. This then can help the program people design necessary programs to combat the problems. This approach can thus be helpful for policy purpose besides its usual academic significance.


Summary of 2 published research papers

Elwell, Laura; Povey, Rachel; Grogan, Sarah; Allen, Candia; & Prestwich, Andrew 2013. ‘Patients’ and practitioners’ views on health behaviour change: A qualitative study’, Psychology & Health, vol. 28, no. 6, pp. 653-674.

Given the fact that psychology researchers are increasingly being concerned about the quality and nature of psychology research vis-a-vis controversies erupting around these issues, many research are focusing the primary research based investigation to challenge them. The current article by Elwell et al (2013) dwells upon examination of varying perspectives aroud lifestyle related changes in behaviour both from patient’s view points and health professional’s angle. This endeavours to provide understanding to develop relevant interventions for lifestyle related behaviour change intervention primary health care setting. The data for this study comes from FGDs subjected over thirteen health care professionals and 7 patients using questions to illustrate change in their lifestyle behaviour towards a tailored package of intervention. The authors in explaining the results analysed the transcripts based on thematic analysis producing host of issues which has relevance towards developing intervenetins for lifestyle related changes and then implementing those for interventions. The interventions includes time management, suboptimal resources, delay in interventions, personal level circumstances in addition to continuing effort required for behavioural changes. The authors tactically interpret them in the form of 2 super-ordinate types of themes -- external and internal effects over behavioural changes and initiation of behaviour change and their maintenance. This article thus discusses the results in the line of their implications for commissioners in health service and researcher involved in design of intervention and the practitioners responsible for implementation of interventions in lifestyle changes in primary health care. The article in turn infer that a number of factors are responsible for understanding interventions and change in lifestyle behaviour in case of patients and also health professionals, and recommend for  taking these revelations into consideration during design of interventions from theories of behavioural change.

Waters, Allison M.;  Mogg, Karin & Bradley, Brendan P. 2012, ‘Direction of threat attention bias predicts treatment outcome in anxious children receiving cognitive-behavioural therapy’, Behaviour Research and Therapy, vol. 50, no. 6, pp. 428–434

In another psychological research based on quantitative primary research method, Waters et al. (2102) discuss about the cognitive behaviour therapy among children. In the backdrop of existing bias in selective direct level attention towards threat based stimuli as a cognitive feature of anxiety related disorders, the current study endeavours to examine individual level differentials in threat attention biases before treatment and the ways in which treatment level outcomes emerge from CBT among anxious persons. This article also tests the have been inconsistency in findings on power of attention bias developing quality outcomes of treatment. The author employs a longitudinal type study in this article examining treatment based outcomes among 35 numbers of clinical type anxious kids for a period of ten weeks CBT therapy which is group-based to examine possibility of children showing attention bias before treatment vis-a-vis threat stimulus, in addition to assessing effect of the CBT over attention type bias. The analysis of these data for this paper showed that both children groups have significant magnitude of improvements who received CBT therapy. But the anxious type children with attention bias before treatment on threat led to significant magnitude of reductions in severity of anxiety symptoms compared to anxious children with bias away from threats. Even children with bias before treatment also reflected reductions in bias during the CBT course. Thus this article infers that existing differentials in directions of attention both towards and against threat may have serious implications in treating anxious type children.


Two main points from British psychological society code of ethics with human subject?

There are several principles led by the British Psychological Society which are also known by code of ethics dealing or researching with human subjects. While there are few general pre-requisites like participants in psychology research maintain confidence on investigators, mutual respect etc. required for good quality psychology research, there are several other codes of ethical principle need to be observed. Two main such principle are Consent and protection of participants which will be discussed here in details.


In this principle, based on convenience, investigator of the study ought to inform the participants (respondents) about the study objectives in addition to all relevant aspects behind the current research and intervention which is expected to have reasonable impact on willingness for participation. The study investigator hence must explain other relevant aspects of study asking for inquiry from participants if any. Failure in making complete disclosure before getting informed consent needs further safeguards for protecting the dignity and welfare of the respondents. Research particularly with children respondents or participants with impairments which may limit communication and possible absence of real type consent need special procedures for safeguard. However based on possibility this consent from children and disable adults are obtained. For participants below 16 years age consent must be taken from their parents or teachers in charge and approval from Ethics board or Committee. In absence of real type consent, investigators may take consultation from anybody better placed in appreciating the reaction of the participants in addition to approval from independent level advisors.  For research on detained person, utmost care is required in getting informed consents emphasizing on her/ his ability to provide the same freely. Study Investigators need to realise the existence of an authority environment which may influence the participants. In case of longitudinal type of research the consent can be taken on different occasions.

Protection of participants

Under this code of ethics, it is the primary responsibility of the investigator to ensure protection of the participants from any physical as well as mental risk harm during the process of investigation. Hence in such possible anticipatory situation the participant may be enquired about any components in research procedure which might develop any risk like cultural problem, medical condition of pre-existing nature far which necessary actions may be required in avoiding those anticipatory risk. The respondents may be given information about procedures to contact the investigators within reasonable time if participation faces stress or any potential harms even after precautions taken. When procedures in research could result into undesirable results for respondents, investigator must take responsibility to identify and remove those consequences. For children participants, much greater caution must be taken when results are discussed with teachers and parents. 


1. Blair, Clancy & Raver, C. Cybele 2012, ‘Child development in the context of adversity: Experiential canalization of brain and behaviour’, American Psychologist, vol. 67, no.4, pp. 309-318

2. Volkmar, F. R., Lord, C., Bailey, A., Schultz, R. T. and Klin, A. (2004). Autism and pervasive developmental disorders, Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 45: 135–170.

3. Rayner, Keith; Foorman, Barbara R.; Perfetti, Charles A.; Pesetsky, David and Seidenberg, Mark S. (2011). How Psychological Science Informs the Teaching of Reading, Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 2(2): 31-74.

4. Anthony V. Manzo (1987). Psychologically Induced Dyslexia and Learning Disabilities, The Reading Teacher, 40(4): 408-413

5. Anderson, Neil and Schalk, René (1998). The Psychological Contract in Retrospect and Prospect, Journal of Organizational Behavior, 19 (Special Issue: The Psychological Contract at Work): 637-647

6. Vos, Ans De; Stobbeleir, Katleen De and Meganck, Annelies (2009). The Relationship between Career-Related Antecedents and Graduates' Anticipatory Psychological Contracts, Journal of Business and Psychology, 24(3): 289-298.

7. Speer, S. A. and Stokoe, E. 2014, ‘Ethics in action: Consent gaining interactions and implications for research practice’ British Journal of Social Psychology, vol. 53, no. 1, pp. 54–73.

8. Rucker, D. D., Preacher, K. J., Tormala, Z. L. and Petty, R. E. 2011, ‘Mediation Analysis in Social Psychology: Current Practices and New Recommendations’, Social and Personality Psychology Compass, vol. 5, no. 6, pp. 359–371.

9. Steven C. Hayes, Matthieu Villatte, Michael Levin, and Mikaela Hildebrandt 2011, ‘Open, Aware, and Active: Contextual Approaches as an Emerging Trend in the Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies’, Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, vol. 7, pp. 141-168

10. Hallion, Lauren S. Ruscio, Ayelet Meron 2011, ‘A meta-analysis of the effect of cognitive bias modification on anxiety and depression’, Psychological Bulletin, vol 137, no.6, 940-958.

11. Elwell, Laura; Povey, Rachel; Grogan, Sarah; Allen, Candia; & Prestwich, Andrew 2013. ‘Patients’ and practitioners’ views on health behaviour change: A qualitative study’, Psychology & Health, vol. 28, no. 6, pp. 653-674.

12. Babcock, JC, Green, CE, Robie, C 2004, ‘Does batterers’ treatment work? A meta-analytic review of domestic violence treatment,. Clinical Psychology Review vol. 23, pp. 1023-1053.

13. Beck, AT 1970, ‘Cognitive therapy: Nature and relation to behavior therapy’, Behavior Therapy,  vol.1, pp. 184-200.

14. Beltman, MW, Oude Voshaar, RC, Speckens, AE 2010, ‘Cognitive behavioural therapy for depression in people with a somatic disease: Meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials’, The British Journal of Psychiatry, vol. 197, pp. 11-19.

15. Beynon, S, Soares Weiser, K, Woolacott, N, Duffy, S, Geddes, JR 2008, ‘Psycho-social interventions for the prevention of relapse in bipolar disorder: Systematic review of controlled trials’, The British Journal of Psychiatry, vol. 192, pp. 5-11.

16. Fry, Margaret 2012, ‘An ethnography: Understanding emergency nursing practice’, belief systems, International Emergency Nursing, vol. 20, pp. 120–125

17. Waters, Allison M.;  Mogg, Karin & Bradley, Brendan P. 2012, ‘Direction of threat attention bias predicts treatment outcome in anxious children receiving cognitive-behavioural therapy’, Behaviour Research and Therapy, vol. 50, no. 6, pp. 428–434

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