• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Compare And Contrast Any Two Perspectives In Psychology

Extracts from this document...


Compare And Contrast Any Two Perspectives In Psychology The word 'Psychology' is derived from the Greek words 'Psyche' meaning 'mind' or 'soul' and 'Logos', meaning 'study of'. The definition in the dictionary states that it is ' the study of human and animal behaviour'. Atkinson et al (1991) defines psychology as ' the scientific study of behaviour and mental processes'. All definitions are correct in their own rights but as simple definitions can sometimes be misleading as through out history, Psychologists have not only disagreed about designation of psychology but what and how it should be studied. These approaches are often referred to as 'perspectives'. Each has a very different way of explaining human behaviour and makes different assumptions about the processes behind this behaviour. There are 5 major perspectives in Psychology offering different explanations as to why humans behave in the way they do. * Psychodynamics -An approach based on the idea that the unconscious is a source of drive or motivation. * Behaviourism - The approach restricts its focus of study to observing and recording human behaviour. It offers a view of human behaviour as being infinitely malleable, crafted by the rewards offered by the environment around us. * Humanistic - A holistic approach. It stresses the importance of an individuals unique potential to change in positive ways towards the goal of self -actualisation. ...read more.


who was not interested in the mental processes. He saw no role for the mind and consciousness. The mind and its thought processes were abstract and unobservable and therefore unscientific. Behaviourism is a great challenge to psychodynamic theorists, who believe our behaviour is controlled and processed outside people's awareness. Many critics of Freud say that his experimental research was un-testable. His research was merely descriptive. Psychodynamics try to seek conclusion from qualitative study rather than from scientific studies. Freud's case studies were limited. He mainly studied neurotic middle class Austrians. Which, it was argued is not representative of the general population. There have been many empirical studies of various aspects of Freud's theory. Fisher and Greenberg (1977) concluded that, "it is a complex structure consisting of many parts, some of which should be accepted, others rejected and the rest at least partially reshaped". The Behaviourist needs to test everything! We can confidently say that behaviourism clearly satisfies one of the criteria for a good scientific theory, in that its explanations are simple. There is no need to invent complex hidden processes to explain why behaviour happens. They believe that emotions are qualitative and not easily measurable. An implication of this Slife and Williams (1997) is that although stimuli, responses and reinforcements are essential in behaviourist explanations of behaviour, they are never observed directly. ...read more.


Unconditional response - the bar was struck when Albert petted the rat. Eventually, Albert associated the loud noise with the rat -conditional response. Watson's theory to emotional responses did seem correct, but poor Albert. The things we do in the name of science! As for the psychodynamic perspective we cannot complain about research on animals. However, therapists see themselves as "psychological midwives", present during the "birth" and helping the patient to express his or her true self. All therapists of whatever persuasion (if they are at all effective) influence their patients. Both approaches comprise a situation where one human being (therapist) tries to act in a way that enables another (patient) to act and feel differently. There we have it two perspectives similar in some ways, yet clearly different in approach. There is no doubt that both perspectives have contributed to better understanding both human and animal behaviour. Psychology is a dynamic science. It needs to be studied from many perspectives and it would be na�ve to dismiss any single approach out of hand. Technological advances have had a knock on effect to the way the modern psychologist operates. New theories, notions and experiments are conducted everyday. However, I believe the key to any approach is an open frame of mind. There may be no Holy Grail of psychology but as long as work is carried out and evaluated with an open-minded approach, we may yet discover the key to unlock the mysteries of the mind. 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Developmental Psychology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Developmental Psychology essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Outline the major theoretical perspectives in psychology and evaluate two of these paridigms.

    3 star(s)

    One aspect of this approach is the notion of Reductionism (also used by Behaviourists). This is where area of research is broken down into basic forms or units. From the biological perspective it sees nerve activity, muscle movements and neuro-chemical processes as an understanding of psychological functioning.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    Define Psychology using four perspectives; Psychoanalytical, Behaviourist, Humanistic and Cognitive

    3 star(s)

    In order to accepted as a scientific theory, it should be possible to conceive of the circumstances of where the theory might be proved wrong, because if there is no way to suggest the theory might be wrong, there is no grounds for accepting that it might be right.

  1. Describe And Evaluate Two Approaches In Psychology. - Psychodynamics and Behaviourism

    The Oedipal conflict resolves at the latency period, which lasts from the age of seven to twelve. During this time children become less concerned with their bodies and turn their attention to life skills. Finally, adolescence and puberty bring about the genital stage, the mature phase of adult sexuality.

  2. 'Compare and contrast the contribution that behaviourist and psychodynamic theories have made to our ...

    metaphors or explanatory fictions and that behaviour attributed to them can be more effectively explained in other ways...'. Skinner found that for him, these more effective explanations of behaviour come in the form of the principles of reinforcement derived from his experimental work with rats and pigeons.

  1. Review of Behaviourism

    This is mainly because of his emphasis on the control of behaviour. Skinner is as uninterested in the role of evolution and genetics. Skinner also avoided structural concepts, and mildly dynamic or motivational concepts. (3) In the course of theory development in psychology, if somehow, mental terms or concepts are

  2. Free essay

    Compare and contrast two psychological perspectives

    He believed normal behaviour came from acceptable conditioning, reinforcing and modelling etc, and bad behaviour was the result of defective conditioning etc. He believed people could be reconditioned. (Gross, R. Et al 2000) After Watson came another key figure in behaviourism- B F Skinner.

  1. Atkinson et al (2000) defines psychology as the scientific studyof behaviour and mental processes ...

    as being instinctive, irrational, being driven by the unconscious mind and doomed to conflict and the behaviourist perspective which viewed people as mechanistic and controlled by the environment (Malim et al, 1997). The humanists believe that each person has unique qualities and a person's principal tendency is toward growth and self-actualisation.

  2. c hallenging a client to change

    - Skilful frustration; In this the therapist: - Repeatedly frustrates client's avoidance of uncomfortable situations, until they show willingness to try and cope. - Helps client's to identify the characteristics they project on to others that are most missing in themselves.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work