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

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lhc | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

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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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