The Five Perspectives of Psychology and Relationships

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Personality is defined as the distinct variances in individual patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving. (Rathus, 210) Personality study can be divided into two extensive areas. The first is understanding individual dissimilarities in certain personality characteristics, such as amiability or petulance. The other is understanding how the various parts of a person come together as a whole. There are five general perspectives in psychology, each of which emphasizes different factors in an attempt to understand how a personality develops and relates to others. These are the biological, psychodynamic, social and cultural (or sociocultural), learning, and cognitive perspectives. This paper outlines how each of these perspectives would describe the development and maintenance of a traditional (husband and wife) marital relationship.
The Biological Perspective
Bateson (198-233) states that the basic biological perspective is that all human behavior is biogenetic at its foundation. Thus, people form relationships and marry with those who are perceived as best for the survival of one’s genes. Following this line of thinking, men are attracted to women who signal fertility and women are attracted to men who signal not only fertility but the ability to care for a family. More specifically, there is a neurobiological structure that enables attachment bonding in a manner that motivates reproduction and with it a sense of security, anxiety reduction, and ability to cope. This bonding mechanism, developed in the earliest of years, guides a person throughout life. Thus, the creation and maintenance of a loving marital relationship arises out of and is reinforced by biological wiring involved in forming attachment bonds from the earliest to t...

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...viors. Their thoughts about future outcomes from their current interactions are reasonable and their assumptions about how the world operates are rooted in reality. They do not engage in selective attention to those aspects of the world that only support their beliefs and thinking but rather are open to contradictory information. It is this type of thinking that helps to develop and maintain a long lasting love relationship.
The Psychodyamic Perspective
The psychodynamic perspective of marriage holds that stable and long-lasting relationships form and are maintained when people are relatively free of neuroses and have good ego or self-functioning (Ringstrom 159-182). In other words, it is the same factors that make for general mentally healthy functioning that make for two people functioning in a marriage in a manner that expresses love and protects its stability.
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