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 Psychological Perspectives

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Table of contents

    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 shows external influence on 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, StudySmarterMan illustrates 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, StudySmarterBaby 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

    What is psychological perspective?

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

    What are the major perspectives in psychology?

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

    What is 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, 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. 

    What is linear perspective in 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.

    Test your knowledge with multiple choice flashcards

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