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

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Introduction

OUTLINE THE MAJOR THEORETICAL PERSPECTIVES IN PSYCHOLOGY AND EVALUATE TWO OF THESE PARADIGMS. INTRODUCTION In this assignment I will be describing the five major schools of psychological research. These are Behaviourism, Biological, Cognitive, Humanist and Psychoanalytical. I will then attempt to evaluate the pros, cons and practical applications of the Behaviourist and Psychodynamic approaches. BEHAVIOURISM The earliest origins of behaviourism can be stemmed from the philosopher John Locke (1632-1704). He believed that the human being is born as a 'tabula rasa'. This effectively means a neonate is a blank slate with no prior knowledge or ideas. According to Locke it is experience through senses, which provides the mind. The modern founding father of behaviourism is John Watson (1878-1958). He believed that ? should be about the study of observable behaviour and that behaviour is moulded by experience. Behaviourists believe that however complex a piece of behaviour might be, it is possible to break it down and analyse it in basic STIMULUS-RESPONSE units. This theory also relates to Reductionism, where psychologists attempt to understand behaviour by looking at the most basic parts. This S-R theory can be best demonstrated in the work of a Russian psychologist called Pavlov (1849-1936). His theory of Classical Conditioning centred on his study of dogs and his attempt to artificially condition a natural response. The sight/smell of food leading to salivation is an unconditioned S-R. ...read more.

Middle

This theory is widely regarded and used to form the basis for modern child psychology. HUMANIST Humanistic psychologists believe that ? should focus on the subjective, conscious experience of the individual. They place great emphasis on the uniqueness of humans and the freedom to choose their own destiny. Humans are motivated by the drive to achieve they're full potential (to self-actualise) and that present experiences are as important as past ones. The approach dismisses scientific methods of research, as they are deemed inappropriate for the study of humans. The two main exponents of humanist ? are Maslow and Rogers. Maslow's (1908-1970) research involved the motives that drive people towards self-actualisation. He identified two types of motivation. First is deficiency motivation, which is the need to reduce and abate physiological tensions such as hunger and thirst. Secondly is growth motivation, which concentrates on the satisfaction of needs like the need to be esteemed and loved. From this he developed his Hierarchy of needs. He believed the needs in the hierarchy to be innate. The lower needs in the hierarchy such as food, shelter and water must be satisfied if that individual is to progress up the hierarchy. The end goal is to become self-actualised, to realise one's full potential and be fulfilled. Rogers's (1902-1987) work involved what he called the would/should dilemma. ...read more.

Conclusion

We are not always aware of our thoughts. Freud's theory of the sub-conscious mind is fact. It has been scientifically proven that we only employ a small percentage of our brain capacity. This also backs up the idea of defence mechanisms. Unwanted or painful events or thoughts are pushed into our sub-conscious and forcibly 'forgotten' to protect us from psychological damage. Freud's treatment methods are still used today. The psychiatrist's couch is the public's view of psychology. This method is widely used today as a treatment for psychological disorders. On the down side the research into the approach is historical rather than practical or scientific. The theories cannot be measured or quantified in any way. Freud's subjects were also very limited. He formed his theories from the study of nominal and questionable sources such as neurotics, and his whole theory of psychosexual development was derived from one subject. So if the basis for the research is in doubt the results must also be brought into question. In modern research a large sample is demanded to give room for error and individual differences. The main theme is that we are controlled by our past, this is true to an extent but it implies that we have no control over our lives. All our actions are pre-determined by past experiences. This has also brought reservations about the merit of Freud's theories. Flawed though it is, without it the world of psychology would be a different place. ...read more.

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This is a difficult essay to write since there is such a lot to cover. Because of this the writer has to summarise the approaches within a word limit without losing the central ideas.

Less time could have been spent on summarising the different approaches and more time could have been spent on the two theories of choice. However, the writer has covered in some detail all the approaches suggesting that there is a great deal of understanding. Learning to precis work and to summarise theories perhaps needs more practice. Writing a plan in future might help to structure the work better.

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Marked by teacher Linda Penn 22/04/2013

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