Foundations of Psychology

Topics: Nervous system, Psychology, Brain Pages: 3 (764 words) Published: March 7, 2014
The definition of psychology is referred to as an investigation of various mental processes and how a person behaves, (Kowalski & Weston, 2011). Psychology in itself has developed many schools of thought over the years. Below, this paper will discuss psychology’s schools of thought as well as the biological foundations of behavior that accompany it.

The four main perspectives of psychology are psychodynamic, behaviorism, evolutionary, and cognitive. Beginning with the psychodynamic theory, this was developed by Sigmund Freud. This perspective upholds three principles. First, a person’s actions are primarily determined by beliefs, emotions, and underlying desires. Second, most of this process is unconscious. Lastly, the mental processes conflict with each other, consequently resulting in a compromise between motivations. Thus, this would make the psychological chain of events unknown, (Kowalski & Weston, 2011).

The second perspective of psychology is behaviorism. Behaviorism began with Ivan Pavlov early in the twentieth century. This theory explores the idea that behavior is determined and affected by the environment. For example, you get food poisoning at a restaurant and your behavior towards eating at that restaurant makes your stomach churn just as if you were sick all over again. This is an acquired reaction as a result of getting sick. Behaviorists, such as B.F. Skinner suggested that behavior can simply be understood through acquired reactions and that it is merely a product of the experience, (Kowalski & Weston, 2011).

The third perspective is evolutionary. This perspective, whose roots originated with Charles Darwin, believes that our behavior is the result of our ancestors. These traits, as evolutionary psychologists believe, aided in the survival and reproduction of our descendants. Thus, our behavior has evolved through a natural selection of traits that assist us with acclimating to our surroundings, (Kowalski & Weston, 2011).

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References: Kowalski, R., & Westen, D. (2011). Psychology: The Study of Mental Processes and Behavior : John WIley & Sons Inc.
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