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Psychological Perspectives

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Psychological Perspectives

When did you encounter something where you felt awkward about your actions? Then you discovered something similar happened to your friend, and his response was completely different. Maybe you've asked yourself why you acted that way. Psychological perspectives can help us understand why.

Psychological perspectives are systems of ideas psychologists use to understand and interpret behavior.

  • What are behavioral perspectives in psychology?
  • What is the cognitive perspective of psychology?
  • What are the biological perspectives of psychology?
  • What are linear perspectives in psychology?
  • What are some examples of different perspectives?

Behavioral Perspective in Psychology

The following text explores how we learn and acquire behaviors focusing on the role of environment and conditioning.

Psychological Perspectives, Man being cheered on by his colleagues showing external influence to behavior, pexels.com, StudySmarterMan being cheered on by his colleagues showing external influence to behavior, pexels.com

Environment Shapes Human Behavior

According to behavioral psychology, we acquire behaviors by learning (conditioning) from the environment.

In psychology, conditioning is learning to act in a particular manner in certain situations, as introduced in classical and operant conditioning.

Ivan Pavlov used classical conditioning in training dogs to salivate with a sound. John B. Watson, in his "Little Albert" experiment, conditioned baby Albert to fear a rat by pairing it with a loud sound that made him cry. B.F. Skinner's operant conditioning used reinforcements to teach animals new behavior, such as lever pressing in rats and key pecking in pigeons.

Observable Behaviors

Behavioral psychologists examine observable behaviors rather than what goes on in minds to understand the development of human behavior. Since numerous factors affect our minds and emotions, behavioral psychologists find it challenging to measure and evaluate these events and how these influence behavioral outcomes.

Stimuli-Response System

Behavioral psychology attributes stimuli to actions, and that past experiences direct a person's behavior. Psychologists of this view look to the external having a significant impact on a person's well-being and actions. This principle is based on Edward Thorndike's Law of Effect, which states that actions that lead to positive consequences are more likely to occur than activities followed by negative results.

Cognitive Perspective Psychology

What are some differences and similarities in approaches cognitive and behavioral psychologists adopt? Continue reading and find out more about mental events, the scientific method, and schemas.

Psychological Perspectives, Man illustrating how thoughts and emotions impact behavior, pexels.com, StudySmarterMan illustrating how thoughts and emotions impact behavior, pexels.com

Mental Events

Cognitive psychology considers mental events in understanding how a person responds to a stimulus. Mental events include memories and perceptions from past experiences. They believe that these factors direct how a person behaves. Cognitive psychologists think it will be difficult to understand human behavior without these mediation processes.

Psychology as a Scientific Discipline

Like behavioral psychologists, cognitive psychologists regard psychology as a science, emphasizing direct observation and measuring mental processes that direct behavior. They use scientific methods to explore the human mind and behavior. Findings from these investigations help them understand human thought.

Humans Are Data-Processing Machines

Cognitive psychology likens humans to a computer in terms of information processing. This mental process includes input, storage, and output.

  • Input involves the understanding of the stimuli.

  • Storage reflects the processing and interpretation of the information from the analysis of the stimulus.

  • Output involves decision-making and how the person will act in response to the stimuli.

Schemas are a body of information a person has based on past experiences. According to cognitive psychology, schemas can also affect mental processes. Schemas help us filter out the amount of information we receive from the environment. Problems may occur when irrelevant schemas are used to interpret data from the environment.

Biological Perspective Psychology

As the name suggests, biological psychologists believe that our behavior has biological roots.

Psychological Perspectives, DNA helix, pixabay.com, StudySmarterDNA helix, pixabay.com

Psychology as an Objective Discipline

Much like behavioral and cognitive psychology, the biological approach to psychology also values scientific methods in understanding behavior. Exploring behavior from a biological perspective means comparing different species to understand human behavior better, investigating bodily functions in the body such as hormones, brain function, and nervous system, and inheritance studies such as how genetics determine IQ.

Behavior has its Biological Roots

Biological psychology links biological causes to our thoughts, emotions, and actions. Biological causes include genetics, brain function and structure, and the mind-body connection. This view also explains how neurotransmitters or the brain's chemical messengers affect behavior and how specific imbalances contribute to mental disorders.

Evolution of Genes

Biological psychology links some evolutionary roots to how genes evolved to adapt behavior over millions of years. Evolution found similarities in animal behavior to human behavior, suggesting enhancement of genes over time, bringing evolutionary perspectives to biological psychology.

Linear Perspective Psychology

When you're walking down the road, you notice that the lines come together, and the closer it gets, the farther the road appears. This distance perception is called linear perspective, in which two parallel lines meet at a certain distance, and greater distance means the lines come closer together, such as on a sidewalk or railroad tracks. Linear perspective is a monocular cue, a distance cue perceived from one eye.

Psychological Perspective Examples

There are seven major perspectives in psychology and here are some examples.

Psychological Perspectives, Baby receiving toy illustrating positive reinforcement, pexels.com, StudySmarter Baby receiving toy illustrating positive reinforcement, pexels.com

Behavioral Perspective in Psychology

This psychological perspective states that people learn behavior through the environment. Cognitive or biological processes don't contribute to human behavior. But experiences from the environment. This concept applies to behavior modification used by psychologists to treat mental problems, built upon the works of Ivan Pavlov, John B. Watson, Edward Lee Thorndike, and B.F. Skinner. As seen in classical or operant conditioning, the behavioral perspective explains that human behavior is conditional on external responses.

Cognitive Perspective in Psychology

The cognitive perspective sees actions as connected with the mind. Cognitive psychologists study how mental processes and states (e.g., perception and motivation) affect behavior and why we think and act the way we do. In cognitive psychology, memory is composed of three steps involving receiving (encoding), retaining (storage), and recollecting (retrieval) information. This psychological approach contributed to other disciplines such as educational psychology and abnormal psychology.

Biological Perspective in Psychology

Psychological perspectives, such as the biological perspective, consider biological and physical influences on behavior. Examples include genetics, disease, and brain health. The science behind the biological perspective includes diagnosis of diseases, determining drug effects, and measurement of other natural factors to understand their impact on psychological health. This perspective explores vital areas such as sensation, hormones, and bodily functions.

Humanistic Perspective in Psychology

The humanistic perspective highly values self-growth and free will in helping people realize their highest potential. This perspective states that all individuals desire achievement driving them to self-actualization. Psychologists adopting a humanistic psychological perspective explore concepts such as values, purpose, and freedom to understand human existence.

The humanistic perspective states that:

  • Every person has the capabilities to succeed, given the appropriate factors.

  • Experiences and personalities are unique to each person.

  • Self-actualization is a responsibility that people need to realize.

Psychodynamic Perspective in Psychology

The psychodynamic perspective, introduced by Sigmund Freud, focuses on how conflicts rooted in early childhood determine adult behavior. According to this perspective, an interaction exists between the conscious, subconscious, and unconscious minds. The subconscious thoughts are attributed to human behavior. Free will has little to do with actions, according to Freud. A better understanding of the subconscious mind allows psychologists to guide an individual about his thoughts and feelings.

Evolutionary Perspective in Psychology

The evolutionary perspective, founded by Charles Darwin, states that people developed traits over time that proved to be helpful in their environment. This perspective is based on natural selection, wherein organisms compete for survival. The human brain continues to adapt cognitively. The evolutionary perspective explains how changes in the environment shaped how people think and act over millions of years.

Socio-Cultural Perspective in Psychology

The socio-cultural perspective explores how social and cultural influences affect a person's behavior. This perspective views a community, and rules within that community impact a person's thinking and emotions. These socio-cultural factors include race, gender, and social rank. Socio-cultural psychologists also value how experiences and peers shape human behavior.

Psychological Perspectives - Key takeaways

  • Psychological perspectives give us a holistic view of behaviors, considering many factors linked to behavioral development, such as the environment, our thoughts and emotions, genes, and many more.

  • The behavioral perspective in psychology reflects how the environment, through our experiences, influences the repetition or termination of behaviors.

  • The cognitive perspective in psychology explains the impact of mental processes, such as memory and perception, on our behaviors.

  • The biological perspective in psychology shows how physiology and our genetic makeup are connected to our behavior.

  • The linear perspective in psychology helps us understand why two same objects that come together appear narrower to the naked eye.

Frequently Asked Questions about Psychological Perspectives

Psychological perspectives are systems of ideas psychologists use to understand and interpret behavior.

There are seven major psychological perspectives: behavioral, cognitive, biological, humanistic, psychodynamic, evolutionary, and socio-cultural.

This psychological perspective states that people learn behavior through the environment. Cognitive or biological processes don't contribute to human behavior, only experiences from the environment. This concept applies to behavior modification used by psychologists to treat mental problems, built upon the works of Ivan Pavlov, John B. Watson, Edward Lee Thorndike, and B.F. Skinner. As seen in classical or operant conditioning, the behavioral perspective explains that human behavior is conditional on external responses. 

When you're walking down the road, you notice that the lines come together, and the closer it gets, the farther the road appears. This distance perception is called linear perspective, in which two parallel lines meet at a certain distance, and greater distance means the lines come closer together, such as on a sidewalk or railroad tracks. Linear perspective is a monocular cue, a distance cue perceived from one eye.

Final Psychological Perspectives Quiz

Question

The pioneer of the sociocultural perspective in psychology was:

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Answer

Harry Harlow

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Question

What sociocultural factors could help explain how someone experiences pain? 

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Answer

How the brain receives signals from the spinal cord

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What are some sociocultural factors that could influence how someone may successfully age?

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Answer

Having a healthy diet

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What is the sociocultural perspective in psychology?

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The sociocultural perspective in psychology focuses on how situations and cultural factors affect a person's behavior and thinking.

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What sociocultural influences might contribute to aggressive behaviors?

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Social: 

  • Exposure to violent media and/or environment
  • Being excluded from society and/or a group

Cultural: 

  • "Culture of Honor": If a family's honor has been negatively impacted, an aggressive response may help to reinstate honor
  • A culture that values aggression and rewards it

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Question

What are 3 examples of sociocultural factors?

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Answer

The following are examples of sociocultural factors: (The list is not limited to these)


  • Parental Influences
  • Peer Influences
  • Gender Norms
  • Social Norms
  • Religious Values
  • Personal Values
  • Mainstream Media

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What sociocultural factors could contribute to eating disorders?

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Answer

  • Cultures that emphasize thinness 
  • Family values: High achievement, emphasize being perfect, concerned with physical fitness
  • Media: unrealistic images of a "perfect body" or what it looks like to be successful 

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How do you define the term culture?

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Answer

Shared behaviors and ideas that are passed down through generations

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Question

What are NOT biological influences in development?

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Sex-related genes

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What are some examples of psychological factors/influences in development?

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Behavioral and mental responses as a result of our own temperament

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Question

The interactions of biological, psychological, and sociocultural factors/influences on our behavior and mental processes is known as:

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the cognitive perspective in psychology

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Question

How does the biopsychosocial approach help us to understand psychological disorders?

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Answer

Biological, psychological, and sociocultural factors can all contribute to the development of psychological disorders. Therefore, using this approach can help us to understand the reasons for developing a given disorder. 

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What American doctor developed and promoted the biopsychosocial model?

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Sigmund Freud

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What medical model was George Engel suggesting should be replaced by the biopsychosocial model?

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The biomedical model

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What is one of the biggest strengths of the biopsychosocial perspective in psychology?

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It allows us to have a more complete picture and understanding of a person's behavior and mental processes because it incorporated three different viewpoints. 

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What are some strengths of the sociocultural approach in psychology?

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  • The sociocultural approach's focus on social and cultural factors is important to understanding why humans behave and think the way they do.  

  • Vygotsky's sociocultural approach provided an alternative viewpoint about cognitive development from that of developmental psychologist Jean Piaget whose work focused on cognitive development via interactions with the physical environment. 

  • What we learn from our sociocultural environments is not fixed. We may internalize and accept concepts that we learn from our environment from a young age, but as we grow older, we may find ourselves interacting with new cultures and social environments that may subsequently change what we choose to internalize and accept as our own. 

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What are some weaknesses of the sociocultural approach in psychology?

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  • The sociocultural perspective in psychology tends to downplay personal responsibility and autonomy.

  • Even though there are sociocultural factors that influence our behavior and mental processes, there are other factors as well, and each person is unique. 

  • The sociocultural approach doesn't account for all factors that play a part in cognitive development. 

  • Vygotsky's theory of sociocultural cognitive development puts a lot of importance on the power of language. For example, scaffolding is heavily dependent on verbal instructions. However, this may not be as important or relevant in all cultures and for all types of learning.

  • Vygotsky's theory does not include many specific hypotheses that can be tested, making it hard to evaluate scientifically.

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Question

Why did George Engel disapprove of the biomedical model?

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Answer

The biomedical model was too heavily focused on the biology of the disease and not the other patient factors that could be contributing to the disease. 

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True or False: The biopsychosocial model first came about in the 1760s and was established before the biomedical model.

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False: The biomedical model was the main model before the biopsychosocial model was proposed in the 1960s. 

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What does the biopsychology perspective in psychology have in common with the study of phrenology?

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Answer

They both study neurotransmitters

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What is the main focus of the biopsychological perspective in psychology?

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It focuses on how behavior is a product of biological structures and processes.

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Who was the first person to make associations between the brain, mental processes, and emotions?

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Plato

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What is the study of Phrenology?

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Phrenology involved studying the bumps on a person's skull which was believed to have the ability to reveal a person's brain size, character traits, and mental abilities. 

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Define physiology

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Physiology is the study of the functions and activities of living things and living matter and of the chemical and physical processes involved. 

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True or False: Biopsychologists study genetics because it can help us to understand what psychological traits and characteristics are potentially heritable. 

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True

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Fill in the blanks: Our experiences impact the way our brains ___1___ and how the brain ___2___ over time

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1: work/function

2: adapts/changes

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Information gets processed through different regions of the brain, called ________, that help to process things captured by our senses, meanings, memories, and feelings

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lobes

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What ideology supports the idea that criminal behavior is heritable through genes.

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Eugenics

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Why are brain injury studies important to biopsychological researchers?

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Brain injury studies in adults can help researchers determine what specific functions are affected if certain regions of the brain are damaged or missing

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What is one strength of the biopsychology perspective in psychology?

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One strength of the biopsychological approach is that it is deeply rooted in science. Biopsychologists use empirical methods and their research tends to be reliable. 


Additionally, biopsychological research has been key in helping to discover treatments for psychological disorders. 

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How did the cognitive revolution change the field of psychology?

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It made the study of mental processes legitimate topics for scientific study in the field of psychology. 

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Question

Wolfgang Köhler is known for his study of insight in what animal species?

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Birds

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The cognitive approach in psychology aims to focus on:

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the ability of humans to interpret the world around them and respond accordingly. 

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What are some focus areas within cognitive psychology?

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Language

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True or False: Psychologists that supported the cognitive revolution strongly disagreed with behaviorism's idea that the mind was a "black box" that could not be scientifically studied. 

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True

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Studies have found that people are able to recall words more easily when the meaning of the words is related. What is the term for this phenomenon?

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Semantics Relatedness

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The study of the psychology of language is called:

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Linguaology

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____________ are a problem-solving strategy where a specific step-by-step procedure is provided that will guarantee you the ability to solve a specific problem.

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Algorithms

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Who believed that all languages likely possess a similar underlying logic called universal grammar?

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Lev Vygotsky

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True or False: Lev Vygotsky's work highlighted how language development is influenced by biological factors.

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False: Lev Vygotsky's work highlighted how language development is influenced by cultural and social factors.

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What are some strengths of the cognitive perspective in psychology?

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Strengths of the cognitive approach in psychology include its many practical applications such as in education and in understanding mental health disorders. Additionally, the approach is heavily dependent on experiments that can help uncover relationships between factors, potential cause and effect, and it allows researchers to control confounding variables. 

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What are some weaknesses of the cognitive perspective in psychology?

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One of the weaknesses that behavioral psychologists would point out is that the nature of thoughts is abstract and not directly observable. Also, not all cognitive psychologists have taken into account how social and cultural factors play a role in cognitive processes. 

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_______  ________ can be used in the treatment of depression by helping patients to correct false self-beliefs that can lead to negative moods and behaviors. 

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Answer

Cognitive therapy

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____________ refers to the way our mind processes and holds onto information.

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Cognition

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True or False: In cognitive therapy, patients work on substituting healthy thoughts for negative ones. This will lead to an improvement in the person's mood, self-concept, physical state, and behavior.

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True

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The humanist perspective in psychology is known for its emphasis on:

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Self-development

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Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers completely agreed with the psychodynamic theory and behavioral theory. True or false?

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False

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What does the term self-realization mean?

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Self-realization is the fulfillment of one's own potential.

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Define the term self-determination.

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Self-determination is the process by which a person takes control over their life.

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Abraham Maslow’s work focused on how humans are motivated by what he coined as the _____________.


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Answer

Hierarchy of Needs

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