The Four Major Perspectives of Psychology
Psychologists associate different behavior to various factors. That has resulted in the four major perspectives of psychology. First is the Biological Perspective.
The Biological Perspective of Psychology is the branch of psychology that studies how the brain and nervous system influences our thoughts, feelings, and behavior (Lumen, 2020). The central nervous system controls human behavior. Therefore, understanding how the brain functions can help bio-psychologists understand behavior. Its focus is on emotions, motivated behavior, biological rhythms, control of movement, and learning and memory (Juneja, 2015). In other words, an individual’s behavior is tied to their biology. For example, my younger sister spent the afternoon playing soccer against a local school team. Her team won. After enjoying a quick snack with her friends, she went home for a shower and a nap. You can use the biological perspective to conclude that she was exhausted and her body needed rest.
The second is the behavioral perspective, which maintains that one’s behavior results from what they have learned from their environment (McLeod, 2013). It is concerned with response to stimuli. According to the behaviorist perspective, people learn from their environment in two ways. These include operant conditioning, where one learns from the consequences of their behavior, and classical conditioning, where one learns through association (Lumen, 2020). For example, a student can choose to stay home and study instead of going to a party on a school night. Her need for good grades can influence her decision because she associates success with hard work. It can also be because her parents would disapprove of her going to a party on a school night, resulting in punishment.
The third is the cognitive perspective, which involves examining internal mental processes like language, memory, attention, perception, and problem solving (McLeod, 2013). It revolves around the idea that one can identify what triggers people’s thoughts by figuring out their minds’ processes. In other words, cognitive psychology is the study of the mind and how people think (Houwer & Hughes, 2020). For example, Lydia was running late for work because she had a flat tire. Instead of risking her job, she decided to take a cab to work and fix her car later. Using the cognitive perspective, Lydia used her problem-solving skills to take care of her urgent needs.
The final one is the socio-cultural perspective that shows the progress of a learner who acts according to the knowledge and skills they acquire from the society (Miller, 2011). One’s attitude, race, gender, social class, or family traditions can affect their feelings, behavior, and thoughts (McLeod, 2013). For example, Davis is an excellent basketball player. His family is very supportive. They pushed him to practice for hours since he was a young boy. As a result, he stood out from other players in his team and earned a scholarship. In college, he spends most of his free time practicing to maintain his scholarship and qualify for the national team. That shows the influence that the socio-cultural perspective has on him.
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