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Origins of Psychology, Research Methods, and The Brain

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Part I: Origins of Psychology

Within the discipline of psychology, there are several perspectives used to describe, predict, and explain human behavior. The seven major perspectives in modern psychology are psychoanalytic, behaviorist, humanist, cognitive, neuroscientific/biopsychological, evolutionary, and sociocultural. Describe the seven major psychological perspectives using two to three sentences each. Select one major figure associated with one of the seven major perspectives and describe his or her work in two to three sentences. Type your response in the space below.

Part II: Research Methods

Describe research methods used in psychology by completing the following table. After completing the table, select two of the research methods and compare and contrast them in your own words. Your response must be at least 75 words.

Research Methods
Method Purpose Strengths Weaknesses Provide an example
Experimental
Descriptive
Correlational
Biological

Part III: The Brain

Studying the functions and elements of the brain is essential to understanding human behavior. answer the following questions:

1. Why do psychologists study twins? Why do psychologists study children who have been adopted? What can be learned from these types of studies?

2. What are the functions of neurotransmitters and hormones? How do they influence the brain and behavior?

3. What is neuroplasticity?

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Part I: Origins of Psychology

Within the discipline of psychology, there are several perspectives used to describe, predict, and explain human behavior. The seven major perspectives in modern psychology are psychoanalytic, behaviorist, humanist, cognitive, neuroscientific/biopsychological, evolutionary, and sociocultural. Describe the seven major psychological perspectives using two to three sentences each. Select one major figure associated with one of the seven major perspectives and describe his or her work in two to three sentences. Type your response in the space below.

1. Psychoanalytic Perspective (psychoanalytic approach): The psychoanalytic approach focuses on the importance of the unconscious mind (not the conscious mind). In other words, psychoanalytic perspective dictates that behavior is determined by your past experiences that are left in the unconscious mind (people are unaware of them). This perspective is still based on Freud's psychoanalytic perspective about early experiences being so influential on current behavior, but the focus on sex is not as great. You might consider Sigmund Freud (see http://www.freudfile.org/theory.html).

2. Behaviorism: The school of thought that stresses the need for psychology to be an objective science. In other words, that psychology should be a science based on observable (and only observable) events, not the unconscious or conscious mind. This perspective was first suggested and propagated by John Watson in 1913, who wanted psychology to study only observable behaviors and get away from the study of the conscious mind completely. Watson's primary rationale was that only observable events are verifiable and thus, are the only events that can be proven false. This is an extremely important concept for science; without it, how can you ever find out what is true, false, real, or fake. You might consider B.F Skinner (see http://webspace.ship.edu/cgboer/skinner.html).

3. Humanistic Perspective: This is the psychological perspective popularized by Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow (hierarchy of needs) that emphasizes the human capacity for choice and growth. The overriding assumption is that humans have free will and are not simply fated to behave in specific ways or are zombies blindly reacting to their environments. So, the Humanists stated that the subject matter or psychology (what psychology should focus on) is the human subjective experience of the world - how humans experience things, why they experience things, etc.

4. Cognitive Perspective: The Cognitive Perspective is the psychological viewpoint that the focuses on the how people (and other animals) process, store, and retrieve information and how this information is used to reason and solve problems. Obviously, the part about reasoning is generally reserved for humans, although there is some argument concerning the possibility that other animals also reason and engage in problem-solving behaviors (Beck).

5. Biopsychological Perspective: The psychological school of thought based on the premise that physiological influences and factors are the most important factors in developing, determining, and causing behaviors and mental processes. In the classic "nature-nurture" debate, the physiological perspective IS the "nature".

6. Evolutionary Psychology: According to the Center for Evolutionary Psychology, Evolutionary Psychology is "an approach to psychology, in which knowledge and principles from evolutionary biology are put to use in research on the structure of the human mind. It is not an area of study, like vision, reasoning, or social behavior. It is a way of thinking about psychology that can be applied to any topic within it. In this view, the mind is a set of information-processing ...

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