Contemporary Approaches to Psychology

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Published on October 17, 2008

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Contemporary Approaches to Psychology : Contemporary Approaches to Psychology Unit 1: Introduction to Psychology Key Terms : Key Terms psychoanalyst behaviorist humanist cognitivist psychobiologist Psychoanalytic Psychology : Psychoanalytic Psychology Sigmund Freud is credited with founding psychoanalytic psychology While other early psychologists were studying the conscious mind, Freud was studying the unconscious mind Freud believed that primitive biological urges were in conflict with the requirements of society and morality. Freud further believed that these unconscious motivations were responsible most human behavior. To study unconsciousness, Freud developed the technique of free association In free association, patients say everything that comes to mind without attempting to make meaningful statements Patients aren’t supposed to edit their thoughts Psychoanalysts : Psychoanalysts Psychoanalyst: a psychologist who studies how unconscious motives and conflicts determine human behavior A psychoanalyst is to be objective. They would just sit and listen while the patient made their free associations. The analyst would then interpret the associations Freud believed that dreams were where we expressed our most primitive urges He used dream analysis to study dreams in the same way he interpreted free associations Freud took extensive notes on his patients sessions. Using these case studies he developed he theory of personality Freud in Psychology Today : Freud in Psychology Today Many of Freud’s ideas on the unconscious remain controversial in Psychology today Most psychologists have very strong opinions about Freud’s work Free Association is still used by psychoanalysts today as well as intensive case studies. Case Studies: an analysis of the thoughts, feelings, beliefs, experiences, behaviors, or problems of an individual Behavioral Psychology : Behavioral Psychology Russian, Ivan Pavlov created a new type of psychological investigation known as Behavioral Psychology His most famous experiment, Pavlov rang a tuning fork each time he gave a dog some meat powder. The dog would normally salivate each time the powder his its mouth. As the experiment continued, the dog would begin to salivate at the sound of the turning fork even if food didn’t appear. The dog had been conditioned to associate the sound with food. Behavioral Psychology : Behavioral Psychology Psychologists used this method as a way to explore human behavior They used this method to account for behavior as the product of prior experience This allowed them to explain how certain acts and certain differences among individuals were the result of learning. Behavioralist are psychologists who stressed investigating observable behavior This approach to psychology was created by John B. Watson Watson believed psychology should only concern itself with that which is observable facts of behavior Watson also believed that all behavior (even instinctive) is the result of conditioning and occurs because the appropriate stimulus is present Behavioral Psychology : Behavioral Psychology B.F. Skinner added to the Behavioralist perspective. Skinner introduced the idea of reinforcement. Reinforcement is a response to a behavior that increases the likelihood the behavior will be repeated Skinner tried to explain how his techniques could be applied to society Humanistic Psychology : Humanistic Psychology Humanistic Psychology developed in reaction to behavioral psychology Humanism came about in the 1960’s from psychologists, Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers, and Rollo May. These humanists believed that human nature was evolving and self-directed Unlike behavioralism and psychoanalysis, humanism doesn’t view humans as being controlled by events in the environment or by unconscious forces. Instead the environment and other outside forces simply serve as a background to our own internal growth Humanism emphasizes how each person is unique and has a self-concept and potential to develop fully. Cognitive Psychology : Cognitive Psychology Beginning in the 1950’s cognitive psychology developed with the contributions of Jean Piaget, Noam Chomsky, and Leon Festinger Cognitivists: a psychologist who studies how we process, store, retrieve, and use information and how the cognitive processes influences our behavior Cognitive processes include: thinking, language, problem solving, and creativity Cognitivists believe that behavior is more than a response to stimulus Cognitivists believe behavior is influenced by a variety of mental processes, including perceptions, memories and expectations Biological Psychology : Biological Psychology Psychobiologists emphasize the impact of biology on our behavior Psychobiologists study how the brain, nervous system, hormones and genetics influence our behavior PET scans and CAT scans are the newest tools used by psychobiologists Psychobiologists have found that genetic factors influence a wide range of human behavior Our behavior is a result of our physiological makeup Physiology: having to do with an organism’s physical processes Sociocultural Psychology : Sociocultural Psychology The newest approach to psychology involves studying the influence of cultural and ethnic similarities and differences on behavior and social functioning Sociocultural psychology looks at how our knowledge and ways of thinking, feeling and behaving are dependent on the culture to which we belong Sociocultural psychologists study the attitudes, beliefs and societal norms of those in different ethnic groups The sociocultural approach is also concerned with gender and socioeconomic status (SES) It is believed that these factors impact human behavior and mental processes

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