Chair: Maria Perser
Office: BEH 1306C
Allen D. Glass II
Core Perspectives in Psychology
There are many different ways to think about human thought and behavior. The many perspectives in modern psychology provide researchers and students a way to approach different problems and find new ways to explain and predict human behavior as well as develop new treatment approaches for problem behaviors.
The Biological Perspective
The study of physiology played a major role in the development of psychology as a separate science. Today, this perspective is known as biological psychology. Sometimes referred to as biopsychology or physiological psychology, this perspective emphasizes the physical and biological bases of behavior.
This perspective has grown significantly over the last few decades, especially with advances in our ability to explore and understand the human brain and nervous system. Tools such as MRI scans and PET scans allow researchers to look at the brain under a variety of conditions. Scientists can now look at the effects of brain damage, drugs, and disease in ways that were simply not possible in the past.
The Behavioral Perspective
Behavioral psychology is a perspective that focuses on learned behaviors. While behaviorism dominated psychology early in the twentieth century, it began to lose its hold during the 1950s. Today, the behavioral perspective is still concerned with how behaviors are learned and reinforced. Behavioral principles are often applied in mental health settings, where therapists and counselors use these techniques to explain and treat a variety of illnesses.
The Cognitive Perspective
During the 1960s, a new perspective known as cognitive psychology began to take hold. Known today as the "cognitive revolution," this area of psychology focuses on mental processes such as memory, thinking, problem solving, language and decision-making. Influenced by psychologists such as Jean Piaget and Albert Bandura, this perspective has grown tremendously in recent decades.
The Humanistic Perspective
During the 1950s, a school of thought known as humanistic psychology emerged. Influenced greatly by the work of prominent humanists such as Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow, this perspective emphasizes the role of motivation on thought and behavior. Concepts such as self-actualization are an essential part of this perspective.
The Psychodynamic Perspective
The psychodynamic perspective originated with the work of Sigmund Freud. This perspective emphasizes the role of the unconscious mind, early childhood experiences, and interpersonal relationships to explain human behavior and to treat people suffering from mental illnesses.