Psychological perspectives for Health and Social Care

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Psychological perspectives for Health and Social Care

In this assignment I will be talking about the principle of six psychological perspectives.

The behaviourist perspective:

The main assumption of this perspective is that all behaviour is shaped and learned by the environment. It is when people are being controlled by their environment and particularly that individuals are the reason of what we have learnt from their environment. This perspective helps us understand any type of behaviour by looking at what the person has learned.

Classical conditioning is one of the theories of learning in the behaviourist perspective. Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936) developed this theory. Pavlov tested his theory by training a dog to learn that his food is ready whenever he hears a bell. He did this by using an unconditioned response (which was the dog’s salivation) and an unconditioned stimulus which was the food. He then trained the dog to learn that the bell was associated with food thus the dog salivated every time he heard the bell. So now the conditioned response was the dog’s salivation and the conditioned stimulus was the bell.

Operant Conditioning is another theory of the behaviourist perspective and it was developed by B.F Skinner. He mainly used to work with rats and pigeons to learn some of the key principles of learning new behaviours. He did an experiment of lever pressing behaviour using a famous device called a ‘Skinner box’. There are two types of reinforcement: Positive reinforcement and Negative reinforcement. Skinner used both as he used positive reinforcement by giving food to the rat whenever the rat pressed the leaver and he also used negative reinforcement by giving a little electric shock to the rat so it learnt not to press the leaver so often.  


A weakness of this theory is that it only focuses on objectively noticeable behaviours and doesn’t focus on any independent mental activities. Another weakness is that it only focuses on nurture as how the environment changes behaviour and it doesn’t really focus on nature as how emotions or motivation can affect people’s behaviour.

The strength of this approach is that it has been successful because Pavlov’s theory about classical conditioning helped people by aversion therapy which helps people with addictions. Another strength of this approach is that it uses scientific methods to observe the behaviour as the experiments are observable, measurable and objective.

Social Learning Theory:

This perspective is about the effects of other individuals, groups, culture and society on behaviour and the self-fulfilling prophecy. Parents, siblings, peers, celebrities, media, television and sports personalities; these can all influence our behaviour. You may act as the person you observe; this could be anyone from family or a celebrity, this is called Observational Learning. For this theory, role models are very important. This is when you are influenced by someone else’s behaviour; this could be how they act to how they look (model). For example, you may be influenced on your behaviour by your idol as you may admire them on how they look or what they do, you may also want to be like them therefore you will try and copy them.

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A psychologist called Solomon Asch was interested in a concept called majority influence. This is when you change your behaviour when in a group so that you don’t stand out from the group. For example, you may start smoking with your group of friends if they all smoke, to show that you are like them and you fit into the group that way.

Self-fulfilling prophecy:

This is when you behave in a certain way as you would like other to behave with you, for example, you will be cheerful, kind and polite to people who you want ...

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