Psychology

Six Contemporary Theoretical Perspectives in Psychology



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The science of psychology is one where there are many approaches to solve, work with and explain what is happening with the mind. Each of the theories has merit. It is more a matter of personal preferences and some take a bit from each to form their own beliefs. It is worth understanding each of the six contemporary perspectives in psychology.

~ Psychoanalytical
This theory was presented in 1900. The premise is the unconscious mind and experiences that are developed in early childhood determine the mental disorders and personality types. The names associated with this theory have become very familiar, They are Sigmund Freud, Alfred Adler and Carl Jung.

In this theory the mind is divided into two separate parts.  There is the unconscious mind which is a collection of thoughts, urges, memories that are outside of the conscious mind. It is the belief that these are mostly negative and have a strong influence of the conscious mind, even though individuals are not aware of them.   

~ Behavioral
This perspective was introduced in 1913. Those who are given credit for the foundations of this branch of psychology are John B Watson, Ivan Pavlov, and B.F. Skinner.

This school of psychology explains  all physical and mental activity in response of by muscles, and glands to external factors. Behavioral psychology suggests that behavior  based on outcomes or rewards and punishments.  This perspective states that human behavior can be understood by studying animal behaviors.  Treatment or education should be focused on changing the behavior and not the thinking patterns.

~ Biological
This approach is very close the most exact science.  It states that an organism’s functioning can be explained by biological terms.  The biochemical process and bodily structures of the body are the basics of all behaviors.

Pharmaceuticals can play a big part in this theory, as drugs can change chemicals in the body and brain..

Those who are attributed for experts in this arena are James Olds, Trosten Wiesel, Roger Sperry, and David Hubel.

~ Humanistic
This perspective was introduced in the 1950s. This approach is clear that humans are very different from animals.  In fact, they would not find a need to study animals at all. The concept is that humans are free and rational people. They have a great potential for personal growth and for using reasoning to solve a behavior issue.

The proponents of this theory were Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow.

~ Cognitive
Jean Paget, Noam Chomsky and Herbert Simon all favored the cognitive theory. The belief here is that human behavior can not be explained or understood without examining how individuals get knowledge, process information, and store and recall thoughts. It is about the mental process.

~ Evolutionary
This is the most recent of the six contemporary perspectives.  The professionals who are using this theory as a format are Martin Daly, David Buss, John Tooby, Margo Wilson and Leda Cosmides. This is basically that behavior patterns simple evolve. Natural selection provides better results both physically and mentally. Evolutionary process is the bases of behavior in animals as well as humans.

When studying the aspects of psychology it is important to look at all these theories.  Find a science that fits for you.

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More about this author: Trenna Sue Hiler

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