The 4 major schools of thought in psychology; psychoanalysis, behavioural, cognitive and biological all involve very different outlooks on what affects human behaviour and the mind. The psychoanalytic approach in psychology was founded by Sigmund Freud (1856-1939). Freud was influenced by Josef Breuer and Anna O. He believed that he could help people through unlocking their unconscious thoughts into the conscious mind, thus letting them gain insight from possible bad childhood experiences that influenced them. A key feature that distinguishes the psychoanalytic school is that it is based on the conscious and unconscious mind, thoughts, feelings and memories that are hidden and are trying to be unlocked. One strength of the psychoanalytic approach is it does have some experimental support. This is that there proof in some senses through experiments that this approach is reputable. For example, Williams (1994) found women who had been abused as children did not recall such experiences happening to them when asked in an interview. This shows that they had repressed their memory due to it being so traumatic. This is a strength as it makes the approach more reliable due to it having backed up evidence. Another strength is Freud’s ideas are still used today. This is because they had a huge impact on psychology as he drew attention to the unconscious and conscious processes influencing behaviour. For example concepts like “slips of the tongue” and “repression” were devised by Freud. This is a strength as it shows how influential Freud’s school of thought is and how it must be strong if it’s still used today.One weakness of the psychoanalytic approach is that it’s unscientific. This is ultimately because their is no way to study things like repression scientifically making it so theories can’t be proved wrong. For example in Williams (1994) study repression was found as the reason they could not remember memories, this however cannot be shown to be true as repression can’t be studied scientifically. This is a weakness as it makes the approach less credible and valid as there is no way of testing it. Another weakness is its deterministic. This means that it doesn’t think about other reasons that could affect behaviour like biology and only focuses on itself. For example if the psychoanalysis was the only way to explain behaviour then we world have no free will. This is a weakness as it makes it less believable and lower in validity.An application of theory for the psychoanalytic approach includes free association. This is where the client without conscious effort recalls words associated with a memory, event or person. Like ‘car’ would associate with fast,road and such. The belief is memories and past experiences in the unconscious can leak into the consciousness and free association will get access to the unconscious and examine the buried experiences and feelings.The behavioural approach was founded by J.B. Watson in 1913. He was influenced by Pavlov’s stimulus response and Skinner’s operant conditioning. He felt human behaviour is the result of stimulus response which is a contrast to the psychoanalytic approach which claims its a result of unconscious drives and childhood experiences. A key feature that distinguishes the behavioural approach is that it’s based on behaviour, how people act and what causes them to act like that is through reasons like imitation and learned behaviour from others.One strength of the behavioural approach is there is lots of evidence that behaviour is learned. This means that behaviour that is shown to someone when they are young may influence them to copy the behaviour they have witnessed. For example the Bobo doll experiment carried out by Bandura in 1961 showed this concept, children were shown adults acting a certain way towards the Bobo doll either aggressive, non aggressive or doing nothing. If the adult displayed aggressive behaviour towards the Bobo doll then the child would copy and be aggressive too. However when another child was shown an adult who displayed zero aggression the child would copy that behaviour and display no aggression. This is a strength as it helps show the behavioural approach has high replicability as it can be easily replicated to see if the same results would occur. Another strength is its very scientific. This is because the variables can be easily tested over and over again in order to gain results and see if they are similar or not. Thus helping to show whether the results are good or not. For example the Bobo doll experiment had variables which included independent variable of exposure to aggressive or non aggressive behaviour. This is a strength as it is highly replicable as it can be easily repeated.One weakness of the behavioural approach is it has ethical issues related to manipulating behaviour. This is that perhaps by giving rewards or punishments to a participant for performing a specific way, may influence their behaviour and change the results greatly. It may also change the participants state of mind afterwards if a punishment was used for doing something. This is a potential cause for psychological harm. For example ‘Little Albert’ and experiment done in 1920 by Watson and Rainer that involved scaring him with a metal bar being hit on a chair behind him and then showing him a mouse which conditioned a response that resulted in him being scared of mice or anything white and fluffy. This is a weakness as it is highly unethical and cannot be repeated. Another weakness is it ignores other important factors like emotions, cognition and biology. This means although some behaviour can be explained by the behavioural approach, it only offers a partial account of human behaviour. For example humans would have little free will if this was the reason that behaviour was affected. This is a weakness as it is lowering validity.An application of theory for the behaviourist approach includes systematic desensitisation. This technique has been used to remove phobias. The behaviour has been learned so can be unlearned too. If someone was afraid of spiders this is the process they would go through 1.Taught how to relax. 2. Rate fear on scale 1-100 terms of scariness. 3.spider introduced step by step. 4.Each time person practices relax techniques. 5. Eventually person relaxes in front of spider. The cognitive approach came about due to its disagreement with the behavioural approach as it did not explain the internal processes that create the behaviour and only focused on the display of behaviour. The cognitive revolution movement in the 1950s created what’s known as the cognitive sciences. A key feature that distinguishes cognitive approach is that it says thought processes influence all behaviour. Humans actively think about things and consider their meaning then act on them. Much like how a Computer works with its input and output processes.A strength for the cognitive approach is it is based on research that is experimental. This is the laboratory experiment that is used to show how the approach works. For example Tolman’s maze in which it shows how animals can learn without reward and can think and make decisions themselves meaning they have free will. This is a strength as it is easy to replicate and has high reliability. Another strength is it has lots of practical applications. This is that it has offered advice on improving many aspects of life such as memory, treatments of mental disorders and depression. For example improving memory through the use of Tony Buzan’s mind maps. This is a strength as it has real life implications that can be used to show how the approach is reputable and ecologically valid.A weakness is it’s based on research that is conducted in a laboratory setting. This is experiments being done under controlled conditions which cannot be applied to real situations and may influence results. For example Tolman’s maze is done in lab setting under specific rules. This is a weakness as it is low in ecological validity. Another weakness is it is reductionist. This is because it reduces all behaviour to thought processes. It ignores other factors like biology and environment. For example this would mean that the people and things around us would not influence how we act at all. This is a weakness as it makes it less valid.An application for the cognitive approach is schemas. These are mental mind maps that store knowledge and experiences of the world in our minds. We can only have schemas of things we have done or know of. They usually fill in the blanks of things to give them meaning, so zoo will have a mind map of what that is to the person thinking it which may include animals then branching from that will be specifics like penguin and panda.The biological approach was brought about by Charles Darwin (1859) by the idea that behaviour is influenced through genetics and natural selection. Many theorists consider how genes can affect human behaviour through things like biochemical imbalances in the brain. A key feature that distinguishes the biological approach is that it explains behaviour as the result of biological changes within the body.A strength of the biological approach is there is evidence. This is that there is biological evidence in the body that this approach is reputable. For example a change in the bodies levels of neurotransmitters away from the norm does lead to a change in behaviour. This is a strength as there is evidence to help show its validity. Another strength is treatments work to help behaviour. This is through the use of drugs in which they work on stabilising levels of neurotransmitters, they have been shown to be successful. For example SSRI’s have been shown to help with the symptoms of depression. This is a strength as there is actual methods of changing behaviour with biological means showing it is reliable.A weakness of the approach is drugs used to change neurotransmitters don’t always work for everyone. This suggests there are other factors that explain behaviour. For example psychological a factors or other biological factors. This is a weakness as it makes this less reputable and valid. Another weakness of the approach is its reductionist. This is that it thinks all behaviour is only influenced by biology. For example we would have no free will if it is our biology that controls us. This is a weakness as it makes the approach lower in validity.An application for the biological approach is treatments. Drug treatments may include the use of anti anxiety drugs which have a sedative effect and increases the production of GABA which has a calming effect on the brain. Other drugs can also be used to treat symptoms of stress like beta-blockers. These can reduce heart rate and blood pressure. In conclusion all approaches have interesting backgrounds and reputable thoughts on how humans minds function. Any approach could be seen as a proper way to look at how human behaviour can be explained.