Identify the major schools of thought in psychology and examine their major underlying assumptions.

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Each of the seven schools of thought in psychology represent major theories derived as the study of psychology began and ecolved. The seven schools of though in psychology are as follows:

  1. Structuralism is the oldest school of thought in psychology. This school separates mental thoughts into very basic components. This...

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Each of the seven schools of thought in psychology represent major theories derived as the study of psychology began and ecolved. The seven schools of though in psychology are as follows:

  1. Structuralism is the oldest school of thought in psychology. This school separates mental thoughts into very basic components. This method involves analyzing the human mind and emotions through an informal reflective process.
  2. Functionalism was derived as a result of structuralism. Functionalism focuses on how the human mind functions and adapts to different situations.
  3. Gestalt Psychology was developed in Germany and Austria during the 19th century. The Gestalt school of thought differs from structuralism in that it examines the entirety of mental thoughts instead of breaking thoughts down into basic components.
  4. Behaviorism is one of the most popular school of thought, with its popularity peaking during the 1950s. Renowned psychologists such as Ivan Pavlov, John B. Watson, and B. F. Skinner based their beliefs and studies on Behaviorism. This school of thought emphasizes that one's behavior is a result of external factors instead of internal factors. Many of today's psychological therapies are based on Behaviorism.
  5. Psychoanalysis was founded by Sigmund Freud. Psychoanalysis theorizes that every human mind generates thoughts through id, ego, and superego. "Id" consists of basic primal instincts and urges.
    "Ego" bases thoughts on the reality of a situation. "Superego" bases thoughts on what one was taught during childhood.
  6. Humanistic Psychology is in direct relation with self-help and self-motivation. Humanism bases its theories on assisting one to reach optimal potential through an individualistic approach in therapy. Humanism is widely used in therapy today.
  7. Cognitive Psychology was derived in the 1950s as a result of Behaviorism. Cognitive Psychology focuses on how internal factors affect thinking as opposed to external factors only.

Historically, physiologists based their beliefs and studies on one particular school of thought. Today, psychologists utilize several schools of thought to aide in their studies.

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There are seven main schools of thought in psychology, each of which present a different lens through which we can view and better understand human behavior. These schools of thought include structuralism, functionalism, behaviorism, psychoanalysis, humanistic psychology, gestalt psychology, and cognitive psychology.

Structuralism was one of the first schools of thought and breaks down behavior into simple mental processes. Wilhelm Wundt (often noted as the founder of psychology) and Edward Titchener are major thinkers in this area.

Functionalism developed as a response to structuralism and focuses on the underlying belief that behavior is functional and designed to get humans out of pain. John Dewey and Harvey Carr are major thinkers in this area.

Behaviorism was based on the work of John B. Watson, Ivan Pavlov, and B. F. Skinner, and it centers around the idea that behavior is triggered by stimuli in the environment. Classical and operant conditioning are examples of behaviorism.

Psychoanalysis is associated with the work of Sigmund Freud, focusing on the unconscious causes of behavior.

Humanism is associated with thinkers like Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers, who focus on looking at behavior as a component of free will, triggered by self-development and self-actualization.

Gestalt Psychology is the belief that you need to look at things as a whole to understand behavior. Rather than breaking things down (like in structuralism), Gestalt psychologists look at how each of the components—Proximity, Similarity, Continuity, Closure, and Connectedness—work together.

Cognitive psychology was spearheaded by Jean Piaget, who developed the stages of cognitive development. Cognitive psychology involves studying the brain to help determine how people learn.

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Modern psychologists maintain that there is no single “correct” method of studying the behaviors and thoughts of individuals. Over the years, however, multiple psychological perspectives or assumptions have been developed to give psychologists a good starting point as they attempt to explore human behavior. These psychological assumptions are briefly described below.

The behaviorist perspective posits that the environment controls people and animals, meaning that we behave according to how our environment has shaped us. Behaviorists further assert that individuals learn from their environment through operant conditioning (learning from the repercussions of certain actions) and classical conditioning (learning through association).

Developed by Sigmund Freud, the psychodynamic approach points out that childhood events largely contribute to adulthood behaviors. According to Freud, people have little control over their life choices. Instead, childhood events and the unconscious mind are the key determinants of individual behavior.

Humanism, which is a psychological perspective that mainly focuses on holism, argues that self-image and inner feelings dictate the behavior of an individual.

As a construct of Charles Darwin, biological psychology links human behavior to genetics and evolution, of course through natural selection.

Cognitive psychology states that understanding the functioning of humans or "what makes one tick" requires an understanding of the human mind and what goes on in it.

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There are seven major schools of thought, beginning with behaviorism.  This particular school focuses on how an individual is shaped by his or her environment.  Behavior modification plans drawn up in some public schools for struggling students are often based on this school of thought; the idea is that by changing or manipulating one's environment, one can manipulate or change behavior.  Pavlov, the Russian scientist known for his experiment with salivating dogs, was practicing a behaviorist approach with he conditioned the dogs to salivate when food arrived. . .and even when it didn't.  Cognitive psychology focuses on how the mind uses its memory and problem solving capabilities to manage and process information.  Functionalism is not unlike behaviorism in a sense, as it means about what it says, namely that it studies the functions or adaptations one makes in one's behavior in response to the results such behavior elicits.  Gestalt psychology focuses on the mind's perceptions of its environment and how the mind organizes those perceptions and information as it is gleaned from the various senses and processed.  Humanism, or humanistic psychology, is a school of thought that studies the individual as an entitiy possessing a capacity for growth, while neuropsychology is centered around the brain's nervous system, and how it impacts one's mental processing and behavior.  Psychoanalysis was pioneered by the famous Freud, and looks at how one's personality develops (or doesn't) in response to people, emotions and relationships with others. 

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