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What is psychology and how can people understand it better? Psychology is a scientific term used to understand how the mind and body works together. It is also the studying of human behavior and the understanding of other people’s thoughts and behaviors as well. To comprehend psychology and how it has evolved since its beginning, people need to know and comprehend some perspectives or theories that have been used in the past. Some examples of the different theories are: behaviorism, cognitive, humanistic, structuralism and psychodynamic.
By having a basic knowledge of the different perspectives, it will help us have a better understanding of how psychology works today. HISTORY OF PSYCHOLOGY
Throughout history, people have been curious about the mind and how it works. It all started around the fifth century B.C., when there was a great debate over the mind-body concept. There were many questions on whether or not the body was connected with the mind, and if they were connected, how was it possible.
Plato and Aristotle, who were Greek philosophers, had two different views of this concept. Plato claimed that the mind and body were
two separate parts and it would remain the same even after death. He also believed that when people are born they will possess all the knowledge they will ever have in their lifetime, and during their life the education they receive will be based on what they already knew. Aristotle, on the other hand, had the total opposite view compared to Plato.
He felt that the body and mind were interlinked together and were made of the same matter. He also thought that the knowledge was not inborn, but instead it was due to the lack of experience or understanding in the world (Editorial Board, 2011).
Aristotle believed that all matter which includes the human body was made up by four key components. These components were called: earth, air, water, and fire; they were known as the pillars of science. Through the use of scientific technology, which started around late 19th century, psychology spread to the studies of understanding the mind and how it works. By 1879, a doctor named Wilhelm Wundt started the very first scientific research laboratory in dealing with psychology in Leipzig, Germany. Wundt used a method known as introspection to help better understand why a person would do a certain action, and he was also known to be the founder of structuralism which is one of the theories used in psychology (Editorial Board, 2011). PERSPECTIVES OF PSYCHOLOGY
Behaviorism is a perspective that was discovered by a Russian physiologist named Ivan Pavlov. It shows that learning can be taught through rewards or punishments which are related with a certain behavior. His studies showed that dogs would be salivating because they heard the ringing of the bell which was associated with their food. He thought it was a definition of learning and so the behaviorist approach was born. Other psychologists, such as John Watson and B.F. Skinner, had a strong hand in developing the behaviorism perspective (Editorial Board, 2011). Skinner believed that behaviorism had changed dramatically since it was first introduced by Pavlov. Skinner introduced the behavior analysis concept into the psychology field. He also established himself in the contribution of behaviorism by introducing his concept of operant behavior by publishing an article called The Behavior of Organisms in 1938. Skinner was known as the main
representative for behavior analysis, and behaviorism was shaped from the works of Skinner. From the 1950s to the 1980s, American psychology was believed to be shaped by Skinner’s work more than any other psychologists during this period (Watrin & Darwich, 2012). PSYCHODYNAMIC
Psychodynamic is a perspective in psychology that was discovered by a medical doctor named Sigmund Freud. It shows that hidden or unconscious thoughts could be the cause of present traumas or aliments, and by remembering them it would usually more often than not relieve their troubles and cure them. Freud also used psychoanalysis on his patients to help figure out what was going on with them. Psychoanalysis is a process where the patients would talk about their problems and try to figure out what was going on with them. There were a couple of other psychologists who made some contributions to the psychodynamic theory who were known as Neo-Freudians. Neo-Freudians are people that are psychologists who will give a lower profile to Freud’s work about the sexuality part of the psychodynamic theory, but still help to further the cause of the theory (Editorial Board, 2011). Karen Horney was one of those people. She believed that to have a healthy relationship, you need to be raised with trusting relationships with dependable parents that would meet the needs of security for their children. She is known to be the first women to study the field of psychology through a women’s point of view (Editorial Board, 2011). An example would be if someone was afraid of a long-term commitment and they did not understand why, you could use the psychoanalysis approach which is part of the psychodynamic perspective and figure out why. By using the psychodynamic theory, a person could find out that because of a the person’s father leaving them at a young age it could cause them to be afraid of a long-term commitment and by addressing this problem they could resolve their issues and move on with their new life. Even though many people have contributed to the development of psychodynamic theory, it has been popular because of Sigmund Freud who had made the most noteworthy influence to the theory and also to psychology itself (Editorial Board, 2011). HUMANISTIC
The humanistic theory was introduced about two centuries ago through the writings of J.C.L. Simonde de Sismondi. It deals with how the person has
basic needs that need to be met and those needs are: material, social, and moral. These needs deal with the physical aspect rather than the mind. The works of Sismondi were more basic than the works of Abraham Maslow, who developed the hierarchy of basic needs. The Maslow’s hierarchy of basic needs is elaborated more than the works of Sismondi and it is considered to be a facilitator for the humanistic perspective and a role for security for human development (Humanistic Perspective, 1999). He also felt that if the person did not satisfy all of their basic needs, then they cannot recognize their gifts to their fullest (Editorial Board, 2011).
Carl Rogers was an innovator in the field of humanistic psychology and he advocated a medicinal technique called client-centered therapy. He believed that all people have an interior core, or true self, and that it can be unclear if a person is absentminded with increasing the approval of other people. He also believed in using unconditional empathy or approval and understanding which is known today as active listening (Editorial Board, 2011). Making sure a person has the basic necessities like food, water, air, shelter, and sleep, then a person is on the right path for self-discovery and using the humanistic theory could help with it as well. SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCES
SIMILARITIES BETWEEN THE PERSPECTIVES
1. They are each a force in psychology
2. They each have a relationship between the patient and the therapist 3. They each had a specific person that contributed to each of the perspectives DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE PERSPECTIVES
1. They each deal with a different part of the body or mind 2. They each had a different contribution to psychology
3. The therapists uses different types of theory for each of the perspectives CONCLUSION
Psychology is a fascinating field that studies the mind and how it works. It is important to have a basic knowledge about psychology, no matter what profession a person has. Everybody works with people, and having the understanding and knowledge about people and what they think will come to be valuable. Understanding the history of psychology and the perspectives that
have contributed in developing the field of psychology today is important to any person who will be working with other people.
Editorial Board. (2011). Introduction to Psychology. Words of Wisdom, LLC. Retrieved from http://wow.coursesmart.com/9781934920565/id0002#. Humanistic Perspective. (1999). In The Elgar Companion to Consumer Research and Economic Psychology. Retrieved from http://www.credoreference.com/ entry/elgarcrep/humanistic_ perspective Watrin, J., & Darwich, R. (2012). On behaviorism in the cognitive revolution: Myth and reactions. Review Of General Psychology, 16(3), 269-282. doi:10.1037/a0026766 Retrieved from: http://search.ebscohost.com.proxy.cecybrary.com/login.aspx?direct= true&db=pdh&AN=gpr-16-3-269&site=ehost-live
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