Evaluate the Contribution of Either the Social or the Cognitive Perspective to Our Understanding of at Least Two of the Chapters in Book 2.

Topics: Psychology, Developmental psychology, Cognitive psychology Pages: 6 (1668 words) Published: May 29, 2011
Write an essay of 1500 words addressing the following question:

Evaluate the contribution of either the social or the cognitive perspective to our understanding of at least two of the chapters in Book 2.

Psychology perspectives provide us with an insight into these issues important to human beings.... Scientists, from a range of psychological perspectives have attempted (successfully or not) to provide an insight on human development. This essay will look at the way in which the social perspective has expended/limited our understanding of issues related to attachment and language and how it compares to other perspectives. It will also attempt to answer whether social approach, as a single perspective, can account for this diverse aspect of human development within self and as part of society.

Social perspective, underpinned many other perspectives (social constructionist, discursive...), and is concerned with how human behaviour is shaped within self and with the influence of society. It views language as the main tool for social interaction (as cited in Cooper, T. & Kaye, H. (2007), pp 101). Social psychologists are more concerned with the meaning of language than its structure in terms of syntaxes, phonology... (as cited in Cooper, T. & Kaye, H. (2007), pp 102).

Social constructionists argued that language remains the foundation on which society is created; through human interaction (Harold Garfinkel (1967) in Cooper, T. & Kaye, H. (2007), pp 103-4). The findings of Wieber’s study (as cited in Cooper, T. & Kaye, H. (2007), pp 104), highlighted the fact that language is used as a tool to create communities and can therefore be viewed as enabling a dynamic process between the members of that community... Language then creates meaning, knowledge and is the strength in building communities (Potter & Wetherell (1987) in Cooper, T. & Kaye, H. (2007), pp 104).

Sociologists researches are based on this aspect of language which is viewed as a construct of societies with human development at the heart..

In contrast, cognitive perspective focused on the internal aspect of language and argued that meaning has already been created via cognitive processes of learning, perception... with language being a product of these. Dynamic processes to the creation of language take action in the brain. These two perspective seem to conflict with each other in term of object of knowledge. However, as language is the product of what is heard, it has an influence on cognitive skills, enabling them to take form and serve their purpose in human development and in society. And vice versa, for language to be creating meanings, it has to exist first. And that is where cognitive approach comes to play. In this view, then both perspectives complement each other.

Social perspective and evolutionary perspective clearly conflict with each other as evolutionarists define language as a unique and natural adaptation to human species, compared to others ( as cited in Cooper, T. & Kaye, H. (2007), pp84-5).

In terms of methodology, social constructionists use thematic/discursive analysis to interpret people’s use of language and their influence on them as individuals and as part of a larger group. Their observations are based on an everyday account of human activities, therefore carry a high degree of ecology validity.. The findings could, however, been seen as biased as language is used as a main tool in the studies, with researchers carrying their own interpretation shaped by their personal values (culture, education...)... Evolutionists and cognitive scientists use a scientific approach, based on study cases and controlled laboratories experiments.

In relation to our understanding on attachments, social perspective, underpinning social context theory, explained how society contributes to our development, influenced by horizontal and vertical relationships(as cited in Wood, C. and Al (2007)). Context theory also...
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