Explanation of human behaviour

Describe the key features of the historical development of modern day psychology particularly focusing on changes in explanation of human behaviour. The word psychology was derived from two Greek words, psyche meaning mind, soul, spirit and logos meaning study. Philosophy was the predecessor to psychology. The new psychology differed from philosophy because psychology has a scientific influence while philosophy had been reflecting on and speculating about the mind.

In Europe around 1879 Wilhelm Wundt opened the first psychology laboratory at the University of Leipzig in Germany. Wundt investigated the mind through introspection. He analysed conscious thought by recording research under controlled conditions. The emphasis was on measurement and control in a scientific manor, rather than speculation. Around the same time a wealthy Irish American called William James opened the 1st psychology laboratory in America at Harvard University in 1875. Like Wundt, James applied some of the principles of science to human behaviour. These two men are considered the ‘founding fathers of psychology’.

In Europe in the late 19th century as a reaction against Wundts Structulisum the Gestalt schools of psychology was opened in Austria and Germany. Psychologist Sigmund Freud started publishing his theories on psychoanalysis in which the unconscious mind played a critical role and this represented a major alternative to James and Wundt. Freud combined the current cognitive notion of consciousness, perception and memory with ideas about biologically based instincts. He pronounced that behaviour was an unconscious process. Freud’s studies of many neurotic and hysterical middle class people lead him to believe the unconscious mind was responsible for behaviour. His controversial views of primitive urges and repression brought great criticism from some colleagues who claimed none of his work could be proven.

By the 1920’s the validity and usefulness of these approaches were being questioned. American psychologist John B. Watson believed that introspection and psychoanalysis produced results which could never be proved or disproved. It was possible to obtain completely different results from participants in the exact same scientifically controlled experiment. He believed psychology should be confined to what is measurable and observable i.e. behaviour hence the new psychology ‘Behaviourism’ was born.

Watson believed that the workings of the mind and private mental processes have no place in truly scientific psychology. Behaviourism remained a dominant force for the next 40 years with the emphasis on the role of learning in the form of conditioning. This was supported back in Europe with research on classical conditioning by Nobel prize winning Ivan Pavlov’s (1859-1936) and his work with dogs, and in America by Burrhus Frederic Skinner’s (1904-1990) research on operate conditioning. The behaviourists were not concerned with explaining why a person behaved in a certain manor, only in predicting and controlling that behaviour which led to much criticism.

During the last 50 years Freudian psychoanalytical theory has declined because it could not be validated and it didn’t always work. References to infantile sexuality were considered rather scandalous and ridiculous. In the 1940’s Norbert Weiner founded cybernetics and along with Claude Shannon’ information theory became a major influence in the cognitive approach to psychology. This approach saw individuals as a kind of computer and the mind as a processing mechanism.

In the 1950 Psychologist Abraham Maslow rejected the current preoccupation with psychoanalytic treatments and the behaviourist’s mechanistic view of humanity. He believed that psychology should be about maximising individuals own potential, he called this self- actualization. Along with Carl Rogers the new ‘Third force’ of psychology ‘Humanism’ was developed. Unlike previous theories the humanists believed that Humans are unique and have their own free will. They regarded the use of scientific methods as impropriate for studying humans. They do however accept the relevance of the ‘mind’ as a topic in psychology. It was how an individual perceived themselves that most affected mental health. Humanist psychology remains prevalent today.

Biological psychology had been bubbling away gently in the back ground since the day’s of philosophy. It became more prominent as Biology and medical science progressed. In recent years Biopsychology has become a science in its own right. It combines knowledge of biology with behaviour and mental processes.

Describe and evaluate one of the major approaches to psychology in terms of its contributions to understanding human behaviour. Behaviourism is known to be the second major approach of psychology. This approach will be used for the purpose of this essay …

From the five perspectives of Psychology compare and contrast any two perspectives. Which seems to be the more reliable when discussing human behaviour? To get a better insight to what this essay is trying to define, a brief explication of …

Attachment describes a strong, emotional bond that endures over time between an infant and their caregiver. It is an important bond that results in desire to stay strong physically. One of the theories how attachment works and forms is called …

Freud’s’ theory of development based on the psychosexual stages proposes that adult behaviour is a direct consequence of how well individuals get through the stage sequence. The stages follow a child’s development when an erogenous zone becomes their focus in …

David from Healtheappointments:

Hi there, would you like to get such a paper? How about receiving a customized one? Check it out https://goo.gl/chNgQy