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Comparing Humanistic, Physiological and Evolutionary Theory

Specifically compare and contrast Humanistic, Physiological and Evolutionary theories of early psychology. Also make sure you discuss the similarities and differences of the theories themselves, each one to the other two. Look at what each theory studied specifically, what they included, what they left out or ignored, the modes of research, the constraints

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Like all academic papers, the paper will include an Introduction (e.g. briefly describe topic, include purpose statement: The purpose of this paper is to compare...); Body (e.g. comparing the three theories); and Conclusion (e.g. restate purpose statement in different words, and sum up main points).


Humanism (1950s and 1960s)

In the late 1950s, psychologists were concerned with advancing a more holistic vision of psychology, which developed largely in reaction against behaviourism and psychoanalysis, and thus the "third force?coined by Maslow. The main proponents of the Humanist approach are Rogers and Maslow (Rowan, 2001).

Humanism theory is holistic as it emphasizes the importance of human values, intentions, and meaning and also focuses on the human freedom, dignity, and potential. A central assumption of humanism, according to Huitt (2001, as cited in Learning Theories Knowledgebase), is that people act with intentionality and values. Thus, for most humanist proponents, the concept of the "self" is a central focus, with a primary purpose of humanism could be described as the development of self-actualized, autonomous people.

For instance, Maslow's hierarchy of needs theory emphasizes motivation as the key to understanding human behaviour. The a theory describes the characteristics of healthy growth in ways that are very similar to Rogers's "fully functioning person". Maslow also put forward the key idea of self-actualization: the idea that our purpose in life is to go on with a process of development which starts out in early life but often gets blocked later (Rowan, 2001). In fact, "that is one difference between Maslow and Rogers, the emphasis that Maslow gave to peak experiences. Peak experiences are moments in life which take us beyond our ordinary perceptions, thoughts, and feelings. Typically, the individual feels energized, more "alive". In some ways, peak experiences are similar to the Zen concept of satori (literally "enlightenment"), which, like a peak experience, comes unexpectedly, and transforms the individual's understanding of themselves and the world"(Rowan, 2001). Maslow's ideas about motivation (deficiency needs- which are motivated when something is lacking, life food, money, security or self-esteem) have become widely known and used (Rowan, 2001).

Partly in contrast to Physiological and Evolutionary psychology, Humanistic theory is concerned with the notions that:-

?Each person can exercise free will and hence has control over what they think and feel and how they behave
?Each person is a rational and conscious being, not dominated by unconscious, primitive instincts
?A person's subjective view of the world is of greater importance to understanding that person than objective reality
?People seek personal growth and may suffer psychologically if they are not able to grow and change positively throughout their (Humanistic Psychology- A Basic Review) life

In fact, according to James Bugental (1964, as cited in Humanistic Psychology- a Basic Review), the five premises of
Humanistic Psychology include:

1. Human beings cannot be reduced to components
2. Human beings have in them a uniquely human context
3. Human consciousness includes an awareness of oneself in the context of other people
4. Human beings have choices and responsibilities
5. Human beings are intentional; they seek meaning, value and creativity

In contrast to Physiological psychology, Humanistic psychology prefers qualitative research methods to the more "positivist" and "empiricist" approaches. This reflects the field's "human science" approach to psychology and studies the actual experience of persons (Aanstoos, Serlin & Greening, 2000). In fact, many humanist psychologists argue against the use of quantitative methods to study the human mind and behaviour. This is in direct contrast to Psychological psychology (which aims to apply the scientific method to the study of psychology), an approach of which humanistic psychology has been strongly critical. Instead, Humanism posits a phenomenological view of human experience, seeking to understand human beings and their behaviour by conducting qualitative research (Aanstoos, Serlin & Greening, 2000).

Humanistic Psychology has been criticized because its theories are impossible to falsify (Karl Popper, 1969, as cited in Humanistic Psychology- a Basic Review) and lacks predictive power and therefore is not a science. According to Alan Chalmers (1999, as cited in Humanistic Psychology- a Basic Review.), a good scientific theory should be able be falsifiable and have predictive power; therefore, Humanistic Psychology is not a science. To add to this, other criticisms center on the lack of clear definition in concepts and terminology and a lack of comprehensiveness, with too much focus on self-actualization. However, Bohart and Greening (2001), in rebuttal of this criticism, argues that along with pieces on self-actualization and individual fulfillment, humanistic psychologists have also study a wide range of social issues and topics, such as the promotion of international peace and understanding, awareness of the holocaust, ...

Solution Summary

this solution provides assistance doing a detailed compare and contrast of early psychology theories: Humanistic, Physiological and Evolutionary theory on several dimensions e.g. what each theory studied, what they included, what they left out, and others. References in APA format.