The study of mental functions and human behavior in which scientists develop hypotheses and test these theories are referred to today as psychology. In effort to explain the human behaviors, psychologist research and use the studies of other psychologist in effort to find the answers to question like why a person acts or behaves the way they do? The most common approaches in psychology are behavioral, psychoanalytic, cognitive, social/cultural, and physiological. The complexity of humans has fascinated scientist for years.
Psychologists have been investigating human’s cognitive, humanistic, social/cultural and behavioral responses since the beginning of this century. It has been only recently that the physiological approach has begun to understand how the brain affects behavior and how behavior affects the brain. In the 1800’s psychology used two major approaches known as structuralism and functionalism. Structuralism approach analyses the basic elements of experiences in which people acknowledged. In effort to research mental awareness of people, psychologies recorded the verbal explanations of their experiences.
Functionalism focused on how the brain processes information when people are being observed in the ideal learning conditions. Frances Galton believed that intellectual abilities were inherited and fixed at birth because when he observed that people in the same family often were similar in terms of intelligence. By the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, a psychologist named Stanley Hall was the first president of the American Psychological Association and the founder of the first scientific psychological journal.
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The American Psychological Association provided a way from many psychologists to share their researches. Hall was one of the first psychologists to explain the biological view of human behavior with an emphasis on stages of development unfolding in a predetermined way. Hall observed children and described the ages that certain behaviors could be expected. He believed that children had an inner timetable to display behaviors like crawling, waking, and talking which occurred at similar ages regardless of the learning or experience of the children (Schickedanz &Forsyth).
In addition, several child psychologists gathered dada to establish age-related standards or patterns of behavior that applied to large groups of children. This was considered the norms for child behavior and became known as the developmental theory that is still in use today. The psychoanalytic theory originated with Sigmund Freud. While the earlier part of the twentieth century documented intellectual and physical development, Freud studied personality and emotional development. He recognized the importance of biology but also stressed the interaction of biology with the environment.
Freud was interested in neurology and the psychological causes of the subject’s behavior responses. This component of personality, Freud labeled instinct and referred to the mental representation of the body’s needs and functions. Today, psychologists still use Freud’s theory and parts of the personality of people in their studies of human behavior. Some Psychologist use Freud’s theory of the id, ego, and superego. The id is the unconscious source of instinct and operated according to the pleasure principle and gratification. The ego tries to direct the id but is the reality-oriented part of the personality.
The ego tries to deter the id so that there is not a negative consequence to the instinctive action. Next, there is the superego in which is part of the moral component of the personality. According to Freud, the superego is responsible for guilt and anxiety and understand the significant of punishment when display inappropriate behavior. Finally, there is the ego defense mechanism in which guards the ego against overwhelming negative consequences form others. Later, Erik Erikson developed another theory because he did not agree with Freud’s theory of the id, ego, and superego. Erikson focused more on how society affects the ego.
He believed that healthy adaptation to reality differs greatly from one society to another. He saw that society’s demands on a person would change the person as he or she grows. Therefore, an individual is influence by his or her environment. These external environmental changes were also responsible for shaping behavior so that the behavior reflected the views of society. Another well known psychologist was B. F. Skinner and he was a behaviorist. His behaviorism theory was often referred to as radical behaviorism. He showed that reinforcing the desired behaviors produces the desire response.
He proved this theory when he demonstrated how a pigeon would peck a red dot when it knew it opened a door to reveal bird food ( Branches of Psychology). Today, positive reinforcement is frequently used to change the undesirable behaviors of children. As a result, children produce the desired behavior society expects at home, in school, and in any other environment (Dong & Juhu) The social/cultural approach covers the behavioral patterns of society as a whole. These behavioral patterns cover lifestyles, habits, arts, rituals, beliefs, activities, and ethics.
It is common belief by Carl Gustav Jung that humans share common emotions and awareness regardless of the identified culture. Humans are social creatures and the cultural customs shape people’s behavior from childhood. Today, in United States there are many cultures, a variety of religious beliefs, social gathering, political beliefs, and economic influences that structure society (Overskeid). Today, the shift in roles in which people play like stay home dads, male nurses, and female police officers are becoming the norms in certain areas of society.
The biological approach of psychology is the study of the brain and the nervous system. The nervous system is the central system within the body that carries messages to the brain. The crucial section is the neurons which are the structures of the nerve cell and it is responsible for transmissions that occur between the nerve cells and the brain. There are many other parts of the nervous system but the brain is the most important. There are three anatomy of the brain but the cerebral cortex section of the brain is responsible for the basic behavior functions.
The biological psychology studies all of the parts of the body and how each of these parts affects human behaviors. Biological psychology takes into account genetics and the large roll it plays in human behavior. Genetics does not just refer to inherited traits but also to what is inside the body, such as glandular and hormone functions. Biology plays and important part of psychology because it allows scientist to learn about the brain functions and how to help people who suffer from head traumas.
It also allows scientist a way to understand how brain traumas correlates between physical responses, as well as their emotional responses to situations when a person could not recall actual memories that delivered such responses. In conclusion, the more common approaches in psychology today are behavioral, psychoanalytic, cognitive, and social/cultural. The behavioral approach emphasizes that behavior is shaped by the environment while psychoanalytic approach is the study of how the brain affects behavior and how behavior affects the brain. The cognitive pproach is the research of how awareness, thoughts, and strategies to problem solve affect individual’s lives. The cognitive approach studies whether or not a person’s behavior is a result of consciousness guiding a person’s personal feelings. Social/cultural approach relates to a situation that influences actions that are considered to be the norms of society and which roles people play. The biological approach is important because it provides a way for psychologist to understand a person who suffers from a head trauma emotional and physically.
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