The development and distinguishing features of three major schools in psychology Essay Example
The development and distinguishing features of three major schools in psychology Essay Example

The development and distinguishing features of three major schools in psychology Essay Example

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  • Pages: 6 (1460 words)
  • Published: December 24, 2017
  • Type: Case Study
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On the whole, psychology is more or less a new form of science. However, many psychological issues have been giving philosophers the world over something to think about for centuries.In this essay I shall attempt to describe the development and distinguishing features of three major schools in psychology since the nineteenth century.

These are as follows, Behaviorist, Humanist and cognitive.This school of psychology has gone through many transformations in the years since it was developed by John Watson in the early twentieth century. It is an approach to psychology that accounts for behaviour in terms of observable events. Watson started the movement in 1913 when he wrote an article called "Psychology as the behaviorist views it". This article paved the way for the main principles and assumptions of behaviorism.As far as Watson was concerned introspection was out and the


philosophy of empiricism was in.

His argument was that conditioning causes behavior and that we behave in accordance to the environment around us, as it is our environment that reinforces specific habits. For example;Behaviour > > > Environment > > > Rewards & Punishments > > > BehaviourWatson was not alone in his thinking. Behaviorists Skinner and Thorndike proceeded to develop theories of learning such as classical and operant conditioning based on earlier works by the Russian "Pavlov". They used these theories in an attempt to explain almost all behavior.

A more recent extension of this approach has been the development of the social learning theory which emphasizes the role of plans and expectations in people's behaviour. In this theory people were not seen as passive victims of the environment. Instead they were seen as self reflectin

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and thoughtful.Behaviourism offered explanations for lots of different things in a person's life. These accounts were always centered around the idea of learning.

Behaviours were learned either by classical or operant conditioning.Some examples of classical conditioning applied to real life are,Taste aversion, learned emotions, advertising and phobias.The use of operant conditioning techniques is referred to as behaviour modification. For example, teachers can (sometimes) change the behaviour of disruptive children and in therapy, behavioural modification treatments have been applied to many things such as the treatment of phobias and the teaching of autistic children.Many people feel that behaviourism can have an over simplified view of the world and this has led to the development of "pop behaviourism" which is the view that rewards and punishments can change almost anything.

This is not what behaviourists such as Skinner intended. Skinner wanted to emphasize the importance of intrinsic rewards such as a person's pride and initiative in their choice of activities.As radical as it first was, behaviorism was not only responsible for changing psychology from a study of conscious experiences to a study of behaviour but it also dominated the psychological world until the late 1950's when ethologists and cognitive psychologists began to criticize it's methods.This is a more recent development in the history of psychology. The humanistic movement developed out of America in the early 1960's and grew out of the need for a more positive view of human beings than was offered by psychoanalysis or behaviourism.

Major humanistic psychologists such as Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow, (who called humanism "the third force in psychology" since it aimed to replace psychoanalysis and behaviourism) believed that human beings

were born with the desire to grow, create, and to love, and had the power to direct their own lives. Some people may argue about this. However, there is no doubt that humanistic psychology is a major force representing the case for free will, the uniqueness of the individual and the inappropriateness of objective research into personal experience.The environment that a person is exposed to and interacts with can either frustrate or assist this natural destiny.

If the environment is oppressive, it will frustrate a person; if it is favorable, it will assist them. Humanistic psychologists also believe that the main aspect of being human is subjective experience. This might not be a true reflection of the real world, but a person can only act on his or her own personal experiences. This is probably the biggest problem for scientific psychology which stresses the need for its subject matter to be publicly observable and verifiable. Subjective experience, by definition, resists such processes.

All humanists value the importance of uniqueness within an individual and the potential each person has for self-determination and self-actualisation. Humanists such as Maslow believed that every individual has the need to self-actualise or reach there potential. Carl Rogers developed client-centered therapy to help individuals in this process called the "hierarchy of human needs".Humanism views things like psychological disorders as a product of self deceit and basically believes that people need to look within and understand themselves and their problems to find the answers.

Early pioneers in the field such as "Wundt", who founded the first psychological laboratory in Germany, realized that many aspects of mental processing of which we are aware are the product

of prior levels of "unconscious" processing.Because of the rise of radical behaviourism in the 1920's these psychological processes were neglected until the "cognitive revolution" of the late 1950's.Cognitive psychology mainly kicked off in 1967 when the publication of Ulric Neisser's "cognitive psychology" was released.Since then, cognitive psychology has been an important development by replacing behaviourist orthodoxy in areas like, learning, memory and thinking.The emergence of cognitive neuropsychology in the 1970's illustrates the productive synthesis of cognitive psychology and clinical neuroscience in addressing common questions of how the mind / brain works.Cognitive psychology attempts to study and understand the way in which cognitive processes work.

This knowledge is used by psychologists to explain many aspects of our every day behaviour such as traffic accidents and study skills.It is a general approach to psychology that emphasizes the internal mental process.It is safe to say that today, contemporary psychology is overwhelmingly cognitive in nature and that almost every area of study has an overlay of cognitive theory and interpretation. Academic psychology is mainly used in the teaching of psychology in colleges and universities.

Academic psychologists are quite often expected to carry out some form of research and are occasionally funded by the government to study and hopefully solve certain social issues or problems. These problems include things such as racism and football hooliganism. They try to answer the question of what drives people to commit random acts of violence for the sake of a game, team, skin colour or any other reason.Academic psychology has also been applied to things such as the armed forces and solving problems for the department of education.This area of psychology deals with things like

the assessment and treatment of abnormal or maladaptive behaviour.

A major field in this branch of psychology is the assessment of mental health problems such as depression and alcoholism. A mental health problem is anything that is disrupting a person's normal life. It is said that around one in every six people in the population have experienced mental health problems in their lives and that this number is rising rapidly.The way in which a clinical psychologist would treat these kinds of problems would be to recommend rehab programs and medication. Certain patients may have to be treated in a hospital because they may not be capable of living independently and may need someone to monitor their taking of medication etc.A clinical psychologist would be expected to have passed a psychology degree and a postgraduate in clinical psychology.

This is quite a broad based area that mainly deals with the application of psychological knowledge in educational settings.Educational psychologists help parents and teachers in how to deal with children with learning difficulties such as dyslexia, behavioural problems, hyperactivity, I.Q. problems and even children with physical problems such as being blind or deaf.They are basically involved in applying the principles of learning in classroom settings, classroom management, psychometric testing, teacher training and any other aspect of child and adolescent development linked to the educative process.

Educational psychologists are employed by local authorities. They usually posses an honours degree or equivalent in psychology, a teaching qualification and appropriate experience, and finally a post graduate in educational psychology.This branch deals with human beings at work. It consists of a very wide and varied range of interests.

For example, the selection and recruitment of

staff, careers guidance and counselling, the effect of working conditions on staff performance and psychological well being, and the study of people in different occupations.Many people associate occupational psychology with its industrial context. However, occupational psychologists can also be found working in many non-industrial settings.

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