Human Psychology

Psychology is a source of fascination for many people, learning about the basics of behavior, and human minds. 

Psychology can be defined as the scientific study of mental processes and behavior. The term comes from the Greek words psyche, meaning "breath, spirit, soul," and logia, meaning "study of." 

Psychology emerged from biology and philosophy and is closely linked to other disciplines including sociology, medicine, linguistics, and anthropology. 

We can divide psychology into two big areas called experimental psychology and social psychology. 

  • Experimental psychology uses classic, laboratory-based, scientific methods to study human behavior: it uses similar techniques to physics, chemistry, or biology, often carried out in a lab, except that instead of studying light rays, chemical reactions, or beetles, the experiments involve ourselves and other people. 
  • Social psychology tends to study how people behave in real-world situations—for example, how people react to advertisements, why they commit crimes, and how we can work more efficiently in offices and factories. Social psychology doesn't always involve experiments; it might be based on questionnaires or observations instead. 

There are various approaches in contemporary psychology. An approach is a perspective (i.e., view) that involves certain assumptions (i.e., beliefs) about human behavior. 

There may be several different theories within an approach, however, they share these common assumptions. 

The five major perspectives in psychology:  

  • Biological psychology (Behavioral neuroscience) 

The biological perspective states that all thoughts, feeling & behavior ultimately have a biological cause. It is one of the major perspectives in psychology and involves such things as studying the brain, genetics, hormones, the immune and nervous systems. 

The biological perspective is essentially a way of looking at human problems, actions, and how biological forces shape human behaviors. 

Biological psychologists are interested in measuring biological, physiological, or genetic variables in an attempt to relate them to psychological or behavioral variables. Because all behavior is controlled by the central nervous system, biological psychologists seek to understand how the brain functions in order to understand behavior. Key areas of focus include sensation and perception; motivated behavior (such as hunger, thirst, and sex); control of movement; learning and memory; sleep and biological rhythms; and emotion. As technical sophistication leads to advancements in research methods, more advanced topics such as language, reasoning, decision making, and consciousness are now being studied. 

  • Cognitive perspective 

Cognitive psychology is the scientific investigation of human cognition, that is, all our mental abilities – perceiving, learning, remembering, thinking, reasoning, and understanding. The term “cognition” stems from the Latin word “ cognoscere” or "to know". Fundamentally, cognitive psychology studies how people acquire and apply knowledge or information. It is closely related to the highly interdisciplinary cognitive science and influenced by artificial intelligence, computer science, philosophy, anthropology, linguistics, biology, physics, and neuroscience. 

In other words, cognitive psychology is interested in what is happening within our minds that links stimulus (input) and response (output). 

  • Behavioral perspective 

It's a theory of psychology that states that human behaviors are learned not innate. It emphasizes that behaviors are mostly learned through conditioning and reinforcement. 

It does not give much attention to the mind and the possibility of thought processes occurring in the mind. Behaviorists tend to think that the nature of man is not good or evil. They also believe in the theory of “Tabula Rasa,” also known as the blank slate theory. This theory explains that when a baby is born with no reason or knowledge then obviously their knowledge has to be drawn from their environment and experiences. 

  • Evolutionary perspective 

Evolutionary psychology is a theoretical approach in the social and natural sciences that examines psychological structure from a modern evolutionary perspective. It seeks to identify which human psychological traits are evolved adaptations – that is, the functional products of natural selection or sexual selection in human evolution. 

The evolutionary perspective is based on the foundations of cognitive psychology as well as evolutionary biology. It considers genetics, ethology, anthropology, biology, and other aspects of science as well. 

  • Humanistic perspective 

The humanistic perspective is a way of evaluating an individual as a whole, rather than looking at them only through a smaller aspect of their person. 

the assumption in psychology that people are essentially good and constructive, that the tendency toward self-actualization is inherent, and that, given the proper environment, human beings will develop to their maximum potential. The humanistic perspective arose from the contributions of Gordon W. Allport, Abraham Maslow, and Carl Rogers, who advocated a personality theory based on the study of healthy individuals as opposed to people with mental disorders. 

The humanistic perspective considers the hierarchy of needs that an individual has and then considers which are the most important. There are several different needs that an individual will have. Each of the needs listed below is important to the overall needs and wants of any member of the human race. They are listed below in order from the least important to the most important according to this hierarchy. These needs include:

  1. Physiological 
  2. Safety 
  3. Belonging/love 
  4. Esteem 
  5. Self-actualization