In psychology there are six modern psychological perspectives. These perspectives are behavioral, psycho dynamic, humanistic, cognitive, sociocultural, and biological. Each perspective has its own unique way of explaining the human behavior. I believe to truly explain the complex mental processes and behavior, each perspective must be examined, not limited to just one. The following is my explanation and comparisons between two of these perspectives: psycho dynamic and behavioral.
'The behavioral view is defined as the psychological perspective that emphasizes the power of the environment to influence behavior. ' (Zimbardo, page 17) The behavioral view is often referred to as behaviorism and was developed by psychologists who disagreed with the cognitive view. Instead of looking at the mental processes, behaviorists look at humans externally by observing the effects of people, objects, and events on behavior. The stimulus-response connection, developed by behaviorists, explains human behavior by stating that each response has a stimulus. An example would be a loud noise (the stimulus) causing a person to jump (the response). True behaviorists claim that thoughts, feelings, and motives do not play a role in determining behavior.
Thoughts and feelings are not the cause, but the result. B.F. Skinner is quoted as saying, 'The crucial age-old mistake is the belief that... what we feel as we behave is the cause of our behaving. ' (Zimbardo, page 20). 'The psycho dynamic view is defined as a psychological perspective that emphasizes unconscious memories, needs and conflicts as the causes of behavior. ' (Zimbardo, page 17) Psychodynamic psychologists look at the cause and mental conflict that trigger behavior.
Importance is put on the unconscious motives and discords. Sigmund Freud developed psychoanalysis, which is considered the most well-known of the psycho dynamic theories. (Zimbardo, page 19) Frued explained the mind as having pressures that build up and when these can no longer be contained, then the unconscious mind releases these pressures. (Frued, pages 13-15) These pressures might be jealousy and desires from early childhood relationships. For the troubled mind, this release must be more dramatic than the release normal people get from everyday activities. This may result in violence or other bizarre behavior.
(Zimbardo, page 19) The behavioral and psycho dynamic view points seem to differ more than they overlap. An example of a situation where psychologists from both disciplines might agree is with a teenager's low self-esteem. The behavioral view point would claim that something had to have 'stimulated' this feeling for it to result in a response of a low self-esteem. Psychodynamic psychologists would believe that something from the teen's past childhood experiences is causing pressure that the mind is having a hard time releasing. In this case the behavioral stimulus is the psycho dynamic pressure and the response is the releasing of the pressure as low self-esteem. While examining these two very different psychological perspectives, I have come to the conclusion that no situation or particular behavior can be attributed to just one reason.
If a situation is looked at through only one perspective, then many questions are left unanswered. This is why I do not believe that any perspective is 'wrong,' nor do I believe any perspective is completely and solely 'right. '
Freud, Sigmund. An Outline of Psycho-Analysis. W.W. Norton and Company. New York: 1949.
Zimbardo, Phillip G., Ann L. Weber, and Robert Lee Johnson. Psychology: Third Edition. Allyn and Bacon. Newham Heights: 2000.