Understanding Individuals: Personal Construct Psychology
“Compare Personal Construct Psychology approach to understanding behaviour to an experimental approach”.
Maximum1000 words (not to be exceeded)
Firstly, the essay requires that you think about what it is to use experiments in trying to understand behaviour.
Q. What is the aim of experimental psychologists (in all areas of psychology)?
A. To be able to generalise their findings to people who were not in the experiment; preferably as many people as possible i.e. whatever we find out about the people in our sample and how they behave/perform a task under different conditions we want to be able to say will also be true of other people if they were to be in the same conditions.
Think about whether this is what someone using PCP approach is aiming to do?
Q. What sort of questions are psychologists addressing when they use experiments?
A. What are the factors that affect/influence how people behave/perform a certain task? What can we conclude from this about how brains (or most people) work?
Think about what sort of questions you may be trying to answer if you are using PCP methods/techniques?
Q. What sort of methods do experimental psychologists use?
A. They manipulate variables and measure behaviour under different conditions of those variable using groups of people.
Think about how this compares to what you have been learning to do in PCP? What methods can be used in PCP? What techniques?
Q. What sort of data is collected in experiments?
A. Not exclusively, but most often (and often preferred), it is quantitative date that is NOT subjective e.g. that can be observed such as reaction times/ number of items recalled in a memory test/ number of objects recognised/ number of bystanders who went to someone’s aid etc.
Think about what sort of data is collected using PCP methods?
The above is not an exclusive list of ways to think about the essay; think also about how the two approaches deal with individual difference.
You will need to make sure that the essay includes description of the underlying assumptions of PCP (you don’t need to list all the corollaries but you MAY want to mention the Fundamental postulate) and of some of the methods/techniques.
You do not need to include a specific example of an experiment.
Do some reading and do NOT copy directly from this document, as that would be plagiarism. This is being provided to point you in the right direction and avoid misunderstanding of the title.