Psychological Perspectives

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Three of the five major perspectives in Psychology are biological, cognitive and humanistic. The biological approach states that all behaviours, thoughts and feelings are caused by biological factors such as hormone production and genetics (McLeod 2007). For example the production of the hormone serotonin causes an individual to feel happiness, while genetics have evolved over the years so that human bodies and behaviour adapt to their environment, meaning that most behaviour we display today has an evolutionary purpose. The development of social behaviours in humans have resulted in the rise of civilisation, which has introduced “social norms” and feelings such as embarrassment. This shows the biological approach is nomothetic, meaning…show more content…
However the humanistic approach prefers subjective methodology; it focuses on qualitative research methods such as unstructured interviews and participant observation (McLeod, 2008), and is unscientific in its use of subjective concepts such as ‘self-actualization’ to explain behaviour. This is because humanism believes that scientific experiments have a low ecological validity, meaning that behaviours observed in a study do not accurately reflect the behaviour that would occur in the outside world. The ‘general adaptation syndrome’ (GAS) model, theorized by Hans Selye (1936, 1950), showcases how the biological approach explains the behaviour of stress. Selye noticed that animals exhibit the same response to unpleasant stimuli, known as a ‘stressor’, and proposed 3 stages of stress response that could lead to illness. The first of the stages is the ‘alarm reaction’ which consists of the shock phase and the countershock phase (Gale, 2001). During the shock phase, where the stressor is recognised, the body experiences biological changes such as lowered body temperature and blood pressure. However during the countershock phase the hypothalamus increases the production of hormones such as adrenaline from the adrenal glands. This causes the sensation of an ‘adrenaline rush’ by increasing blood pressure and body temperature to induce a ‘fight or flight’ response, enabling the individual to surpass their usual
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