Four Main Perspectives in Psychology

2425 Words Apr 14th, 2013 10 Pages
There are four main perspectives in psychology. These are known as; behaviourism, humanism, psychodynamic and cognitive. Each of them explain some aspects of human behaviour well, but one perspective cannot explain all human behaviour.
Behaviourism is primarily concerned with observable behaviour; the behaviour which can be watched and seen by others. It does not focus on any internal events, such as thinking, memory or the mind. It suggests that all behaviours are the result of some sort of stimulus, which triggers a response. Behaviourists believe that no matter how complicated the behaviour, it can be reduced down to a simple stimulus and response association. Watson described the purpose of psychology as “To predict, given the
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Humans also have personal agency and do not follow the deterministic laws of science. Cognitivism believes that there is a mediation process between the stimulus and response such as memory and thinking, behaviourism fails to acknowledge this.
The Psychodynamic Perspective criticises behaviourism as it ignores the unconscious mind. Freud rejects the idea of Tabula Rasa and believes we are born with basic instincts (Eros and Thanatos). Biological psychology also believes that behaviourism ignores the fact that we have hormones, for example testosterone, that could affect our behaviour.
Sigmund Freud is the founder of the psychodynamic approach to psychology. It is not based on science like behaviourism, but instead focuses on the workings of the mind and the unconscious. Freud believed that all of our behaviours are affected by unconscious motives which are caused by our childhood experiences. He thought all behaviours had a cause, even parapraxes, making all our behaviour pre-determined.
Freud believed our personality is made up of three separate parts; the id, the ego and the super-ego. The id is the part of the unconscious that is impulsive and responds to our basic instincts, for example to eat or drink. The id tells us what we want and that we need them immediately. The ego is the part that mediates between what the id tells us we need immediately and reasons with it, working out a realistic way of satisfying the id, often postponing satisfaction. The
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