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Key Perspectives of Psychology

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Key perspectives of psychology

The term psychology has many meanings to different people, even to those who work within the psychological field. The word psychology derives from two Greek roots; 'psyche' refers to 'soul' or 'mind' and logo refers to 'the study of'. A more update definition of the word psychology can be found from Atkinson, et al (1991) “The scientific study of behaviours and mental processes.” However on Google Definitions the definition of psychology is “the mental characteristics and attitudes of a person” [accessed 16 September 2011], which gives somewhat of a contradiction. In this assignment I will be outlining and evaluating four key psychological perspectives. The psychological perspectives I have chosen are the behavioural approach, biological approach, cognitive approach and the psychodynamic approach.

The biological approach to psychology makes the assumption that all behaviours are associated with changes in the brain function and that psychopathology will be caused by a disorder within the brain, neuroanatomy. Many biological psychologists tend to assume that most behaviours, normal and disordered, involve an inherited component from the biological parents. In theory this suggests that all behaviours can be related to changes in brain activity.

The biological approach looks at the relationship between behaviours and the body's physiological systems, especially the nervous system. Biological psychologists also believe that the chemical processes within the brain have an influence on behaviour. The treatments for the biological approach to psychology include, as previously said drug ...

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... pre-existing knowledge that when an individual recognise specific situations they use their own views, beliefs, understanding and stereotypes to form a full view or understanding.

Whilst evaluating the cognitive approach to psychology there are many strengths such as that the cognitive approach takes an understanding of the influence from mental processes on one’s behaviour, focusing on an individual’s thinking patterns and their perception. This approach also relates to many known functions and operations that the human body performs such as memory and problem solving.

The behavioural perspective to psychology’s assumptions are that all behaviours are learnt from the environment. The environment is made up of many aspects such as housing, local amenities, financial stability and education, these factors that influence are known as environmental determinism.