The Behaviorist, Psychodynamic and Humanistic Contributions to Psychology

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This essay will in turn look at the behaviorist, Psychodynamic, and Humanistic approaches to Psychology. It will evaluate the assumptions and contributions for each approach. Behaviorists emphasize the relationship between the environment surrounding a person and how it affects a person’s behavior. They are primarily concerned with observable behavior, as opposed to internal events like thinking and emotion. This is a criticism of the behaviorist approach; it is seen as mechanistic and oversimplified, because it ignores mental processes or reinterprets them as just types of behavior. John Watson saw emotions as the secretion of glands and thinking as the movement of our vocal chords without actual speech. However studies have been carried out and it has been found that people can still think even when their vocal chords are paralyzed. Behaviorists make the assumption that in humans; virtually all behaviors are caused by learned relationships between a stimulus that excites the sense organs and a response which is the reaction to the stimulus. John Watson was strongly influenced by the work of Pavlov on classical conditioning. Pavlov trained dogs to salivate whenever he rang a bell. An unconditioned Stimulus (the bell) leads to an unconditioned Response (salivation). When the unconditioned stimulus is paired with another Stimulus (food), this stimulus will eventually produce the response on its own and is then called the conditioned stimulus which produces a Conditioned response. Behaviorists propose that phobias come about in a similar way, for example, somebody who is spider-phobic, might have learned to be scar... ... middle of paper ... ... This essay has evaluated the assumptions and contributions of the behaviourist, psychodynamic and humanistic approaches to psychology. The behaviourist approach focuses on the behaviour of people and seeks to explain behaviour as being learnt. The psychodynamic and humanist approaches are more concerned with the emotional aspects of people’s lives rather than their behaviour. The psychodynamic approach places importance on childhood experience. The humanist approach places more emphasis on the importance of our self image. Bibliography Basic Psychology by Henry Gleitman (First Edition) Psychology, third edition by Cardwell, Clark and Meldrum Psychology – A New Introduction by Richard Gross, Rob McIlveen, Hugh Coolicun, Alan Clamp and Julia Russell (Twelfth Edition) Class lectures and handouts

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