Social Sciences Questions and Answers

Start Your Free Trial

Which perspective in psychology, either historical or current, makes the most sense and why?

Expert Answers info

Jason Lulos eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write3,306 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and Science

Psychology is the study of mental function and behavior. This is my opinion but I would say that the most effective perspective in psychology would be multi-faceted. This perspective would include neurological, historical, social and cultural data. Such a perspective could also be augmented by studies in anthropology, physiology and the humanities.

Two examples of psychological schools:

Behaviorism is efficient in its description of all events and behavior in terms of physiology and stimulus response, but it does not account for the complexity of consciousness.

Cognitive psychology attempted to include neurology and philosophy of mind (which drew on computer science) to make up for the behaviorists lack of ability to describe behavior, like language acquisition, which was not completely determined by learned response to stimuli.

I think the most effective perspective is the biopsychosocial approach because it acknowledges the biological, psychological and social influences on the psyche. This approach is interdisciplinary which means it relies on multiple disciplines to form a theory of thought because all these aspects (biology, psychology and social studies) impact an individual’s (or a group’s) mental configuration. This approach also acknowledges he mind-body connection (the internal/external connection).

The biopsychosocial approach makes the most sense because it accounts for all the things that affect and influence mental function and behavior.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

jerrybili | Student

The Psychodynamic Perspective

The psychodynamic perspective originated with the work of Sigmund Freud. This perspective emphasizes the role of the unconscious mind, early childhood experiences, and interpersonal relationships to explain human behavior and to treat people suffering from mental illnesses.

There are many different ways to think about human thought and behavior. The many perspectives in modern psychology provide researchers and students a way to approach different problems and find new ways to explain and predict human behavior as well as develop new treatment approaches for problem behaviors.


jerrybili | Student

Cross-cultural psychology is a fairly new perspective that has grown significantly in recent years. These psychologists and researchers look at human behavior across different cultures. By looking at these differences, we can learn more about how our culture influences our thinking and behavior.

The Evolutionary Perspective

Evolutionary psychology is focused on the study of how evolution explains physiological processes. Psychologists and researchers take the basic principles of evolution, including natural selection, and apply them to psychological phenomena. This perspective suggests that these mental processes exist because they serve an evolutionary purpose – they aid in survival and reproduction.

The Humanistic Perspective

During the 1950s, a school of thought known as humanistic psychology emerged. Influenced greatly by the work of prominent humanists such as Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow, this perspective emphasizes the role of motivation on thought and behavior. Concepts such as self-actualization are an essential part of this perspective.


jerrybili | Student

The Cognitive Perspective

During the 1960s, a new perspective known as cognitive psychology began to take hold. This area of psychology focuses on mental processes such as memory, thinking, problem solving, language and decision-making. Influenced by psychologists such as Jean Piagetand Albert Bandura, this perspective has grown tremendously in recent decades.


jerrybili | Student

The Behavioral Perspective

Behavioral psychology is a perspective that focuses on learned behaviors. Whilebehaviorism dominated psychology early in the twentieth century, it began to lose its hold during the 1950s. Today, the behavioral perspective is still concerned with how behaviors are learned and reinforced. Behavioral principles are often applied in mental health settings, where therapists and counselors use these techniques to explain and treat a variety of illnesses.


jerrybili | Student

The Biological Perspective

The study of physiology played a major role in the development of psychology as a separate science. Today, this perspective is known as biological psychology. Sometimes referred to as biopsychology or physiological psychology, this perspective emphasizes the physical and biological bases of behavior.

This perspective has grown significantly over the last few decades, especially with advances in our ability to explore and understand the human brain and nervous system. Tools such as MRI scans and PET scans allow researchers to look at the brain under a variety of conditions. Scientists can now look at the effects of brain damage, drugs, and disease in ways that were simply not possible in the past.