The Perspectives of Psychology

Instructor: Joe Ricker
While human psychology is the study of human behavior and the causes for it, each of the seven perspectives of psychology give us a better and more focused understanding of this field of study.

Different Ways of Looking at Behavior

In terms of science, psychology is fairly young. Despite this, there have been significant theories and perspectives developed that focus on the study of human behavior. When it comes to human behavior, our motivations behind our actions or how we behave can be explained by one of the following perspectives. If you've ever found yourself asking 'why' about someone's behavior, the answer might be explained in this lesson.

Psychoanalytic Perspective

One of the most renowned scientists in the study of human behavior wasn't even a psychologist. Sigmund Freud was a neuroscientist who paved the way for psychoanalytics. The psychoanalytical perspective focuses on the unconscious. Ninety-percent of our behavioral motivations are hidden beneath the surface and come forward as unconsciously expressed urges. Freud believed that our childhood experiences dictated our behavior through adulthood, regardless of what we have experienced as adults.

Evolutionary Perspective

The evolutionary perspective of psychology deals with the adaption of human behavior or the behaviors that we adopted in order to survive. This branch of study was heavily influenced by Darwin. Adaption simply means that at one point during our evolution, we learned to fear something dangerous. A lion, for example. If our ancient human counterpart had not run from the lion and instead, became the lion's lunch, we wouldn't know that a lion is something to fear.

Sociocultural Perspective

Sociocultural perspective focuses on society and culture in terms of our behavior; the things that are socially and culturally acceptable. It's our interpretation of what we find important within our culture and how we interpret the behaviors of others within our culture. We see behavior that is not familiar to our own social standards and culture as abnormal. An example of this would be the difference between words of gratitude between Americans and Indians. Americans are expected to say please and thank you, regardless of the person they're interacting with. In Indian culture, saying 'please' and 'thank you' to your close friends is insulting because it implies that you don't see them as close friends.

Biopsychological Perspective

Simply put, the biopsychological or biological perspective in psychology focuses on the biological basis for our behavior. Hormones, heredity and brain chemicals dictate behavior and fall under this psychological perspective. Take postpartum depression, for example, something that affects 11- to 20-percent of women after childbirth. Their behavior might change because of biological influences.

Humanistic Perspective

Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers were well-known proponents of the humanistic branch of psychological study. Their belief is that people are innately good and their behavior reflects that. Free will and the ability to make decisions are what makes us and our behavior unique from anyone else.

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