Main Psychological Perspectives

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Despite that psychology is a comparatively new science, its origin can be traced back to Socrates’s and Aristotle’s times. Primarily, the subject of psychology’s study is to investigate conscious and unconscious phenomena, behavior, and mental processes that occur in human beings, including their feeling and thoughts. Thus, this paper aims to explain seven main psychological perspectives and describe the work of one prominent scientist who relates to one chosen perspective. In addition, this paper will describe four research methods used in psychology and answer questions connected with the functions and elements of the human brain.

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Origins of Psychology

Currently, psychology has many ways of exploring and explaining human behavior, among them, the most fundamental perspectives that appeared during its development are psychoanalytic, behavioristic, humanistic, cognitive, biopsychological, evolutionary, and sociocultural approaches. The psychodynamic perspective focuses on studying the role of the unconscious mind, social relationships, and childhood experience in an individual’s life (Cherry, 2019). The most prominent representative of psychoanalysis was Sigmund Freud, who considered that the mind comprises three components, namely, the id, the ego, and the superego (Cherry, 2019). The superego is the aspect of the mind, which is associated with an individual’s morals and ideas, while the id is centered on the primal wishes, that is, instincts.

On the contrary, behaviorism is the school of thought asserting that behaviors can be explored by scientific methods without examining its internal physiological processes and conflicts. For instance, the process of learning, according to this school, is regarded as a specific behavioral response caused by new experiences (“Psychological Perspectives”). The humanistic perspective highlights the significance of motivation in people’s actions and decisions. In this context, self-actualization is the driving factor that stimulates an individual to develop, learn, and change (Cherry, 2019). Cognitive psychology is concentrated on studying mental processes, including problem-solving, decision making, memory, etcetera. Critical areas of research in this school of psychology include categorization, perception, numerical cognition, and language (“Psychological Perspectives”). Biopsychology examines the impact of genetics on personality and its behavior. The nervous system, immune system, and brain are the principal research direction of this perspective (Cherry, 2019).

The evolutionary perspective emphasizes the role of physiological processes in human behavior. This approach maintains that core components of the mind have been formed as a response to strict conditions in which an individual has to survive. The sociocultural perspective considers changes and features of human behavior, which are shaped under the influence of cultural and social factors such as family, religious beliefs, and traditions. The central tenet of this view is that culture and mind are interdependent and inseparable in the formation of them both.

“Verbal Behavior” is B. F. Skinner’s book, where the author developed a concept called the four-term contingency model that comprises motivating operation, discriminative stimulus, response, and reinforcement. In essence, Skinner states that learning is a freewill response affected by positive or negative reinforcement (‘Psychological Perspectives’). In this case, positive reinforcement relates to pleasurable activities, while negative reinforcement is mostly characterized by pain or punishment.

Research Methods

Method Purpose Strengths Weaknesses Example
Case Study Comprehensive investigations of a single person, community group, or event The provision of valuable qualitative data and high levels of ecological validity Limited results, presence of subjective views, time-consuming The case of “Anna O” and “Little Hans” (McLeod, 2020)
Naturalistic Observation Study of the impulsive conduct of participants in natural settings Generation of new ideas, high ecological validity. Lack of a representative sample, cannot be controlled Studying the life of some tribes or children’s behavior during playing.
Surveys In-depth study of a particular group of people, Generalization of the findings obtained Possibility of biases market-research surveys polls about public opinion
Longitudinal The examination and explanation of behavioral patterns, the prognosis of tendencies, changes, or event High level of accuracy, comprehensive data Time-consuming Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health

When comparing the case study and naturalistic observation, it should be indicated that the scope of investigation in observations is broader since the case study focuses more on a particular group of people. Besides, a case study is more complicated as a method because, in addition to a full set of research procedures, it requires that the researcher has some experience, sometimes a considerable amount of it. However, the information obtained from the case study is more qualitative and reliable compared to the observation method.

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Confidentiality is an indispensable requirement for any ethical research. It implies that the entire received data about participants must remain anonymous unless full consent is given (McLeod, 2015). Informed consent is necessary to avoid mismatches between people’s imaginary feelings and behavior and actual feeling and behavior, which may occur during a study. In addition, it helps to prevent various problems associated with mental and physical health.

The Brain

The purpose of the twin study is to examine the role and contribution of environmental and genetic impacts for individual features, disorders, and phenotypes (Sahu & Prasuna, 2016). Psychologists study the behavior of adopted children to develop a deep understanding of how adoption can affect an further individual’s life and compare results with other influential childhood factors. Overall, from both these studies, psychologists learn how nature and distinct life conditions can affect conscious and unconscious behavior and the development of different physical and psychological disorders.

A neurotransmitter is endogenous cchemicthat allow for the transmission of information in the form of electrical signals from the brain to other parts of the body and vice versa. A hormone is a natural chemical that regulates and, to some extent, controls the physical and psychological state. Neurotransmitter enables people to feel and, thus, react to an irritant, and hormones force an individual to change his or her attitude towards a specific situation, thereby accommodating to it.


  1. McLeod, S. (2015). Psychology Research Ethics. Web.
  2. McLeod, S. (2020). Research Methods. Web.
  3. Psychological Perspectives. Web.
  4. Cherry, K. (2019). Perspectives in Modern Psychology. Very Well Mind.
  5. Sahu, M., & Prasuna, J. G. (2016). Twin studies: A unique epidemiological tool. Indian Journal of Community Medicine: Official Publication of Indian Association of Preventive & Social Medicine, 41(3), 177.

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PsychologyWriting. (2022, January 15). Main Psychological Perspectives. Retrieved from


PsychologyWriting. (2022, January 15). Main Psychological Perspectives.

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"Main Psychological Perspectives." PsychologyWriting, 15 Jan. 2022,


PsychologyWriting. (2022) 'Main Psychological Perspectives'. 15 January.


PsychologyWriting. 2022. "Main Psychological Perspectives." January 15, 2022.

1. PsychologyWriting. "Main Psychological Perspectives." January 15, 2022.


PsychologyWriting. "Main Psychological Perspectives." January 15, 2022.