Psychological Perspectives of Smoking Essay

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Psychological perspectives of smoking

This essay will consider how each of the 5 psychological perspectives explain smoking. I will cover the psychodynamic, the behaviouristic, the biological, the cognitive and the humanistic approach.

Psychodynamic approach

The psychodynamic approach views behaviour in terms of past childhood experiences, and the influence of unconscious processes. There are five psychosexual stages in Freud’s theory, the first being the oral stage during which the infant focuses on satisfying hunger orally. Sigmund Freud believed that during this stage of development the person can become fixated in the oral stage of development. An infant's pleasure and comfort centres on having things in the mouth during this
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Ivan Pavlov conducted an experiment where he had surgically implanted tubes into the cheeks of dogs to monitor the secretion of saliva whilst the dog was eating. (Pavlov, 1902) He noticed that the dog started to salivate before the food was put in its mouth. He then presented to food to the dog whilst playing the sound of a metronome, eventually the dog started to salivate when just hearing the metronome alone. This can be related to smoking using the following model:

Conditioning diagram

Peer groups before conditioning acceptance and happiness

Peer groups + Smoking during conditioning acceptance and happiness

Smoking after conditioning acceptance and happiness

One of the main strengths of the behaviourist approach is that it focuses only on behaviour that can be observed and manipulated. Therefore, this approach has proved very useful in experiments under laboratory conditions. On the other hand this has been criticized for suggesting that most human behaviour is mechanical, and that human behaviour is simply the product of stimulus-response behaviours.

The biological approach

The biological approach looks at our genetics to construct a reason why we act the way we do and why we develop abnormal behaviours. This approach suggests that the reason people smoke is a biological addiction from a chemical in cigarettes called nicotine. Nicotine is a chemical that alters
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