Compare, contrast and evaluate the Biological perspective and the Behavioral perspective of psychology.
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Compare, contrast and evaluate the Biological perspective and the Behavioral perspective of psychology. Psychology is a broad discipline and as such has seen an ever increasing number of fields of study grow within it. Psychoanalytic, cognitive and humanistic existential perspectives are just a few examples of differing core methods of approach and emphasis when applied to fundamental psychological issues. These differing approaches allow problems to be examined in a variety of ways by psychologists. Whilst it is quite common now to combine these metatheories in order to approach psychological issues (the biopsychosocial perspective or the sociocultural model, for example) the overarching framework of the broader perspectives still underpins these methodologies and ways of thinking. Two key metatheories which exist within the field of psychology are the Biological perspective and the Behavioural perspective. Whilst both of these approaches attempt to answer the same essential questions that exist throughout psychology they are fundamentally different in their delivery and methodology (although some similarities do exist).
Split-brain patients are people who have undergone surgery to sever the part of the brain responsible for joining the two hemispheres in order for them to exchange information, the corpus callosum. Participants were seated on one side of a screen with a series of objects on the other. The participants were able to handle the objects but the screen obscured their view. Words relating to the available objects were then individually flashed onto each side of the screen for one tenth of a second (ensuring that only the opposing hemisphere of the brain would pick up the word) whilst the participant fixes their gaze to a location in the centre of the screen. When asked to pick a particular object (after flashing the name of said object onto the right side of the screen) with the left hand, under the control of the right hemisphere, the participant is unable to ascertain why they picked up the object they chose.
After a time the dogs had learned to associate the bell with the arrival of food and would salivate in the same manner when the bell was rung whether it was accompanied by food or not (Sammons, 2005). Operant or operative conditioning acknowledges the classical theory but adds that animals and humans are also subject to the consequences of their own previous actions. If the consequences resulting from a certain type of behaviour are positive for example, this behaviour is likely to be repeated, whereas should that behaviour cause a negative result it is more likely to not be repeated (Sammons, 2005). Whilst both perspectives are distinct there are several points at which they intersect theoretically, particularly now with the advent of new technologies which can facilitate further investigation into areas of study (across both perspectives) which in the past were not accessible. Across the many avenues of potential psychological study in employ the Behaviourist and the Biological perspectives are arguably two of the most prolific, providing a foundation for the majority of combined metatheoretical studies and therefore holding great potential as platforms of future investigation.
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