Contemporary Approaches to Psychology
The Latin prefix “psych” is translated into “mind or soul”. The suffix “ology” means the “study of”. Therefore, the study of behavior and mental processes is known as psychology. This field of study deals with animal and human behavior to the environment to which they are exposed. The purpose of psychologists studying the behavior of their “subjects”, or the people or animals being observed or tested, is to find four main things. These goals are to describe, explain, predict, and/or influence the subject’s behavior. Contemporary psychologists go about their research with six main methods of study. These contemporary methods of study are Psychoanalytic Psychology, Behavioral Psychology, Humanistic Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Biological Psychology, and Sociocultural Psychology. Psychoanalytic research is focuses on the unconscious part of the mind. Studying the unconscious side of the mind can help psychologists understand the primitive, instinctual urges. These urges are done without the subject realizing they are being fulfilled. A technique called free association was practiced by Sigmund Freud. This practice was used to examine the subject’s unconscious mind. This method consisted of the subject simply stating everything that he/she thought, no matter how random it might be. Freud would then take notes on all of the unsystematic statements. He would use these notes to come up conclusions about his patients. Some concerns with this type of study are that the patients’ thoughts are all random. It takes a lot of work and processing to comprehend these comments made by patients; however, when done correctly, one can understand the unconscious mind. Another contemporary approach to psychology is behavioral. Behavioral psychology is studying the way a subject changes its approach to a situation based on the stimuli it is exposed to in its environment. Psychologists who study this way are known as Behavioralist. They...
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