The Psychological Perspectives

Topics: Sigmund Freud, Nervous system, Psychosexual development Pages: 17 (6340 words) Published: January 3, 2015
Unit 8. P1.
The Psychological Perspectives

A perspective is basically a view that includes specific assumptions about human behaviour. Contemporary psychology covers six perspectives including Behaviourism, Social learning, cognitive, psychodynamic, humanistic and biological. There can be several different theories within an approach however they all share common assumptions.


Behaviourism is a leaning theory that has scientific evidence to support it. Behaviour is observable which is why scientific methods are used as they are carefully controlled. Behaviourists use animals within their studies because they are more convenient to study rather than humans, they also assume that animals learn in the same way as humans. Behaviourists believe that we are born blank and as we grow up we learn everything that comes to us “Tabula Rasa” which means blank slate. The environment is very affective towards our behaviour as the people surrounding you and life events always has an impact on how you act, think, as well as feel. According to this perspective classical and operant conditioning is the only two ways in which we learn from the environment.

Classical Conditioning is when someone associates one thing with another, for example a child might be afraid of the dentist because he/she associates it with injections and pain, and this might be because of an experience in the past. After this experience they will always remember being at the dentist and also might become scared of people wearing a face mask, just like the people at the dentist. Pavlov gave evidence of this with dogs. Firstly he observed how much a dog salivated whilst eating, and then he came to notice that before the dog even got the food it was salivating already. He then tested if a dog salivated whilst the food was hidden which it didn’t, so it then lead to wanting to know if the dog could learn to know when its food was coming. To do so Pavlov used a bell sound every time the dogs were fed. In a result of Pavlov’s observations the dogs came to learn when their food was coming because they associated it with the bell noise. ‘Little Albert’ also gave evidence of this. When he was 9 months he had shown no fear when a white rat, a rabbit, a monkey and various masks were present. However he did show fear and ‘burst out in tears’ when a hammer was hit against a steel bar behind him, resulting a loud noise. When Little Albert was just over eleven months he still didn’t show fear of the white rat and again became startled when the hammer was hit against the steel bar. This was repeated every week for seven weeks and by the eighth week Little Albert instantly showed fear of the white rat as he would start to cry and attempt to crawl away although the hammer hadn’t yet hit the steel bar. This is because he associated it with the loud sound of the hammer hitting the steel bar. Operant Conditioning is when someone learns from either a reward or punishment in the past. For an example of punishment, if a child does something wrong their carer might tell them to sit on the naughty step; the child will then know to not do it again because of the unpleasant consequences that has happened in the past. However a reward is different for example, if a child did all their homework they would get a reward of something like some sweets. This makes the child more likely to do her/his homework in the future because of the pleasant reward they was given in the past. If rewards and punishments were not given to a child they will not learn within operant conditioning (learning from consequences), which means it is unlikely that they will grow up to know their rights and wrongs. Skinner's result of his observation gave evidence of this theory. He observed how rewards encourage learning as he used a rat inside a box with nothing but a leaver. Once the rat had discovered that by...
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