Basics of Psychology

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There are three major themes, or key perspectives, that occur throughout the field of Psychology. One such theme concerns stability versus change. The question asked is: “To what extent do we remain stable over time, and to what extent do we change?” Psychology addresses changes over time in cognitive abilities, physical functioning, and personality. A second theme is nature versus nurture. The question asked is: “To what extent are various aspects of our behavior shaped by inherited tendencies and to what extent are they learned?” The third theme is rationality versus irrationality. Is it human nature for people to act rationally or irrationally in certain situations? Psychologists ask the question, “Why?” The key perspectives in Psychology that cut across the previously mentioned three themes are as follows: 1. Behavioral perspective focusing on overt behavior;

2.Cognitive processes focusing on memory, thought, and reasoning; 3. Biological perspective focusing on the biological processes that underlie the behavior; 4. Evolutionary perspective focusing on the possible role of evolved psychological mechanisms in human behavior; 5. Developmental perspective focusing on changes in behavior and cognitive processes over a life span; 6. Psychodynamic perspective focusing on the role of hidden and often unconscious processes; and 7. Cultural or multicultural perspective where the focus is on the role of social and cultural factors and especially on the differences between cultural, ethnic, gender, sexual preference, and racial groups. In summary, the important concept is that human behavior is highly complex and is influenced by many different factors. Therefore, any aspect of behavior can be examined from these many different perspectives. The knowledge gathered by psychologists rests firmly on the scientific method and not just on common sense. The adoption of the scientific method makes psychology a science. The phrase, scientific method, covers the...
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