Modern History of Psychology

The early age of pre-scientific psychology (Philosophical Age):

  • The early age of human evolution causes and forms of human behavior were being located in something outside the human being, such as supernatural power, planet etc. Philosopher like Plato, Aristotle, with their philosophical view point tried to do way with the evils of superstation
  • Science of soul/mind
  • Before, 19th century
  • Aristotle, Plato, Socrates etc
  • Empiricism and association

The modern age (Structural age):

  • Beginning from the middle of the 19th century, the era of modern science and technology adopted scientific method for the study of behavior.
  • Science of consciousness/ Behaviors
  • Wilhelm Wundt, Edward Titchner, William James etc.
  • Structuralism, Functionalism and Behaviorism etc.

New trend of psychology:

  • The present world of psychology is dominated by a mixed trend involving so many schools of thought.
  • Humanist psychology
  • Cognitive psychology
  • Maslow, Jean Piaget etc.

Contemporary Perspectives in Psychology

  1. Cognitive perspective
  2. Behavioral perspective
  3. Psychodynamic perspective
  4. Humanistic perspective
  5. Biological perspective
  6. Evolutionary perspective
  7. Socio-cultural Perspective

1. Cognitive Perspective:

  • The approach that focuses on how people think, understands, and knows about the world.
  • Cognitive psychology focuses on the study of higher mental processes.
  • It is the newly developed area explaining human behavior.
  • Psychologists George Miller and Jerome Bruner established the centre for cognitive study at Harvard University in 1960.
  • Cognition is a mental process in which the information is obtained, processed, transformed, stored, retrieved, and used.
  • The complicated nature of cognition can be analyzed in different ways:
  • Cognition processes information
  • Cognition is active
  • Cognition is useful

2. Behavioral Perspective:

  • The approach that suggests that observable, measurable behavior should be the focus of study.
  • Some aspect of behavioral perspective is discussed in behaviorist stage of defining psychology, which focused on observable behavior and not on the mental processes.
  • Watson developed and applied these principles to animals which were later expanded for human being.

3. Psychodynamic perspective:

  • The approach based on the view that behavior is motivated by unconscious inner forces over which the individual has little control.
  • It is developed by Sigmund Freud (1933) used as a tool to study abnormal behavior, a treatment procedure to help neurotic disease.
  • Freud also focused on early childhood and emphasized that early experiences have major influences on personality development.
  • Personality: Id, Ego, and Superego,
  • Human mind: Conscious mind, Subconscious mind, and Unconscious mind

4. Humanistic Perspective:

  • The approach that suggests that all individuals naturally strive to grow, develops, and be in control of their lives and behavior.
  • It was developed by Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers and Viktor Frankl during 1950s and 1960s.
  • The humanistic perspective focuses on freedom in controlling human behavior.
  • This perspective has a very different view on human beings compared to psychoanalysis or behaviorism.

5. Biological Perspective:

  • Every human behavior is related to physiological changes within the body. The working relationship between the body, behavior and mental process is the focus of biological perspective (Kalat, 2001).
  • It describes the role of nerve cells in different aspects of an individual’s behavior in emotion, reasoning, problem solving, intelligence, speaking etc.

6. Evolutionary Perspective:

  • Evolutionary psychology considers how behavior is influenced by our genetic inheritance from our ancestors.
  • It is based on the work developed by Charles Darwin (1859) who popularized the theory of evolution almost 150 years ago.
  • It focuses on the role of physical structure and behavior play in the adaptation process of an organism to the environment.
  • Evolutionary psychologists are also interested in why certain physical structures developed and how they contribute to adaptation.

7. Socio-cultural Perspective:

  • The socio-cultural perspective explains how our personality, believe, attitudes, skills, and values are shaped by our culture, ethnicity, gender, religion, and others important socio-cultural factors.
  • It is concerned with how people interact with each other to influence and to be influenced by each other.