This lesson will explain the key idea and areas of emphasis associated with the Psychological Perspective. The primary focus of the Behavioristic View, Cognitive View, Psychodynamic View, and the Humanistic View within the Psychological Perspective will be described.
In this lesson, we’ll discuss the second of the three major contemporary perspectives, or biopsychosocial aspects, of psychology.
The specific areas of focus include:
Unlike the biological perspective, which looks at the internal physical processes that dictate human behavior, the psychological perspective looks at the internal mental and psychological processes that shape a person’s behavior.
The psychological perspective combines aspects of cognitive theory, which focuses on the internal mental processes that are separate from the external stimuli, and psychodynamic theory, which focuses on the unconscious processes that are occurring within a person.
This perspective also tries to incorporate some of the humanistic, or personal, perspective into its scope of understanding.
However, unlike humanism, the psychological perspective involves more scientific method and objective observation, or observations of things from an outside point of view.
In cognitive behavioral theory, which tries to incorporate both aspects of cognitive theory and behaviorism, the goal of the practitioner is to use scientific observation of both those aspects to understand how they affect human behavior, as opposed to relying specifically on reports from the person. The psychological perspective operates similarly in that regard.
There are several subcategories of the psychological perspective, the first of which is the cognitive view of psychology.
Just like cognitive theory, the cognitive view focuses on the internal processes that may or may not affect human behavior.
These internal processes are things like:
Cognitive psychology is encompassed by the broader field of cognitive science, which is also popular within the related fields of computer science and linguistics.
These fields study the logic and rationale behind mental processes, meaning they look at what scientifically will create these kinds of human understandings and behaviors.
The next subcategory under the psychological perspective is the psychodynamic view of psychology.
While there's still a lot of debate over Freud's ideas and contributions to psychology, as many experts in the field disagree on whether those ideas are valid or applicable, the broader realm of psychodynamic theory still contributes to a lot of our psychological understanding.
Contributions from the Neo-Freudians, such as Adler, Horney, and Jung, still help to inform our therapeutic practice.
Those contributions have helped us understand the unconscious mind, the processes that are occurring within it, and how those processes might affect people's conscious minds and behaviors.
Another subcategory of the psychological perspective is the humanistic view of psychology. Just like the humanistic theory propounded by Rogers and Maslow, the focus of the humanistic view is on the subjective experience of individuals.
Humanistic psychology is person-centric, and one of the big movements to come out of this view was the positive psychology movement.
Positive psychology represented a move away from some of the more negative aspects of human thought and behavior.
Ideas proposed by the psychodynamic theorists and behaviorists are now focused instead on human strengths, virtues, and optimal behaviors (such as creativity and happiness) as important aspects of the human experience to understand and study.
The evolutionary view, which we discussed in an earlier lesson, can also be considered as a subcategory of the psychological perspective of psychology, despite its focus on the biological.
If you remember, the evolutionary view states that human thoughts, behaviors, and mental processes evolved over the history of the entire species. This theory can be applied to the psychological perspective.
Seasonal affective disorder, a disorder causing people to become more depressed as the seasons change, has developed over time due to humans’ reactions to the sun and the seasons. Some may see this as more of a biological approach, but a lot of the modern approaches to psychology try to incorporate multiple perspectives, which is why the biopsychosocial approach is considered as a whole.
In this lesson, you learned about the psychological perspective as the second of three major contemporary perspectives in the field of psychology. The psychological perspective examines the internal mental and psychological processes to determine how they shape a person’s behavior.
You now understand that there are several subcategories of the psychological perspective: the cognitive view, which emphasizes internal mental processes, the psychodynamic view, which emphasizes the unconscious, and the humanistic view, which emphasizes the experience of the individual. The evolutionary view, which you learned about as a subcategory of the biological perspective, can also be considered part of the psychological perspective. This is because many modern approaches of psychology aim to incorporate multiple perspectives in order to reach a fuller understanding.
Source: Adapted from Sophia tutorial by Erick Taggart.
Emphasis on internal mental processes such as thinking, memory, language, perception, problem solving, consciousness, and creativity.
Emphasis on the individual, their subjective experiences, and their potential.
Emphasis on unconscious processes; founded by Sigmund Freud.
The view that behavior is shaped by psychological processes occurring internally at the level of the individual.