Saturday, July 30, 2011


The behaviorist perspective
 The behaviorism is a psychological theory that studies the observable behavior by establishing the relationships between the stimuli and the responses. This theory emanates from the American psychologist John Broadus Watson who believes that psychology should study the external phenomena of behavior that is measurable to the opposite of what is internal not measurable. Watson contended that psychology should study measurable responses from stimuli of the environment. His model is the laboratory experiences of the biologist Ivan Pavlov. Pavlov found that dogs salivate to the ring of a bell if that bell was previously associated to food. Pavlov explained this phenomenon in terms of laboratory conditions rather than in terms of mental processes.
Pavlov believed that salivation is an observable event that can be measured by laboratory instruments. He considered absurd to try to determine what a dog or a person thinks. But here lies a question: Is human behavior identical to animal behavior because of the similarity of the biological structures? Is it true that the animal behavior is identical to the human behavior even though the same conditions produce the same effects. Besides the obvious similarities of the physical structures of man and animal are these two beings different philosophically if you consider man as a physical and intentional system at the same time. Another question here is : can you consider the animal as a physical system and an intentional system at the same time ? By intentional system we mean a system that has a mind or who can think. If this can be established man and animal would be identical. But it is not accepted that the animal has a mind but it is accepted for man. Therefore man and animal are not identical. The Watson theory cannot apply to man because of the differences between the two (man and animal), Then it is not true. But let's continue with the behaviorist theory. The psychologist B.F Skinner from Harvard university introduced the concept of reinforcing conditions. According to him organisms learn to behave in a certain manner because they are reinforced to do so. Skinner demonstrated that animals in laboratory could learn a variety of simple and complex behaviors because they have been reinforced. Many psychologists believe that it is possible to explain all behaviors in terms of the sum of events learned by reinforcement.
The cognitivist perspective
The cognitivist psychologists are interested in the study of mental processes..They attempt to explain our perceptions and our mental representations of the external world, our ways of solving problems, our dreams and reveries. They are concerned by the study of the spirit i.e the part of the consciousness concerning perception and the state of consciousness.
The structuralism.
Wilhem Wundt, the father of scientific psychology, pretended that spirit is a natural phenomenon and can be studied the same way as the heat, light, electricity, etc. Wundt introduced the concept of introspection to study the fundamental processes of thought. Wundt and his colleagues exposed themselves to a variety of sounds and images and attempt to describe the sensations and emotions expressed in regard to these stimuli.. Wundt and his students founded the school of psychology known as structuralism. The structuralism tries to define the content of the conscious experience by decomposing it in sensations, emotions and images.
The functionalism
By the end of the nineteenth century William James psychologist at Harvard university concentrated himself on the relationship between the conscious experience and behavior. According to James experience is fluid and continued and cannot be decomposed in elements as easily as proposed by the structuralists. James noticed the way that experience allowed ourselves to live in the most adapted way. James founded the school of functionalism that studies the relationship between the experience and its applications in the environment. He concentrated himself on the formation of habits or repeated experiences or responses to a stimuli became conscious The habits responses are also analyzed by the behaviorists but being tied to personal experience they belong to the cognitivist thought.
The gestaltism. 
The argument of gestalt psychologists is that the human perception cannot be explained in terms of single units. They claim that we tend to perceive elements of information as integrated sets or according to the context in which our perceptions take place. They studied the role of insight in the resolution of problems by animals and humans. Their findings suggest that, faced to a problem, we play with its mental representation until we regroup the elements that allows us to perceive the solution. These manipulations take time but once the appropriate regrouping is found we perceive the solution suddenly.
The cognitive development
The cognitive tradition includes several fields of study. The study of the swiss psychologist Jean Piaget on the the cognitive development of the child inspired thousands of research projects noticeably in genetic psychology and in psychopedagogy. Piaget research concentrates on how children and adults represent the world and how they reason.
The cognitive perspective and aggressiveness
The cognitive psychologists affirm that our behavior is influenced by our values, our perception of the situation and our choices. Those who believe that aggression is justified tend to act accordingly. Those who don't act differently. Piaget states that our moral judgment varies with maturity. A child tends to act aggressively according to his/her age.
The humanism. 
The humanist psychology is a recent tradition issued from the cognitivist tradition. Its elements of concentration are the human consciousness, the knowledge of self and the ability to make choices.
The Psychoanalytic perspective
The fact that people are motivated by deep impulsions and that dreams reflect unconscious desires are today deeply rooted in our culture. This influence comes chiefly from one man, Siegmund Freud (1856-1939). Freud, a Viennese physicist who came to the U.S to escape the Nazi tyranny founded the psychology school known as psychoanalysis.. For many people the psychoanalysis is considered as the true psychology but the experimental psychologists continue to question it. Freud disciples continue to refine and modify his theory.
To the opposite of psychologists who mostly worked in a laboratory setting, Freud acquired his understanding of thoughts, emotions and the human behavior thanks to
clinical interviews with his patients. He astonished of the little insight they manifested by about the motives of their behavior. Some of them justified the most awful behavior by absurd explanations. Others took the opportunity to blame themselves of all the evils that struck the human race.
Freud believed that hidden impulses mainly the primary sexual and aggressive impulses had a greater influence on the human behavior than the conscious thought. He also believed that the activity of the mind is unconscious and that this mind is a boiling tank of impulsions envies and desires. People tend to satisfy the impulses while avoiding to be condemned by others and themselves. They tend to deceive themselves about the the real motive of their behavior. The Freud's psychotherapy known as psychoanalysis helps people to be conscious of their deep conflicts and to find socially acceptable ways to express their desires and to satisfy their needs.
The psychoanalytic perspective and aggressiveness
Freud pretended that aggressive impulses were in part the consequence of the frustrations of the daily life. However children learned to repress their aggressive behavior to avoid parental punishment. Face to the slaughter of the first world war he came to talk about thanatos or instinct of death. Thanatos constitutes according to Freud the final expression of the human unconscious desire to return to the state of complete calm that prevailed before birth. Research didn't succeed to demonstrate the truth about the psychoanalytic method. Psychoanalysts pretend that the the demonstration methods used in laboratory were inappropriate.
The biological perspective
 Psychologists suppose that the nervous system particularly the brain is rsponsible of every thought, fantasy, dream or mental image that we produce. Psychologists arrived to demonstrate that some parts of the brain were responsible of a certain number of emotional responses and behavior.
Yves Simon, Educator