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Western University
Psychology 1000

• Sigmund Freud emphasized role of complex psychological forces in controlling human behaviour o Focused on hysteria, condition where physical symptoms develop without organic cause o Found improvement in patients after they reported and relived painful childhood sexual experiences o Led Freud to believe that most of human behaviour is influenced by unconscious forces o Believed repression was a defense mechanism to keep anxiety-arousing impulses, feelings, and memories in unconscious depth of mind o All behaviour is a reflection of unconscious internal struggle between conflicting psychological forces of impulse and defenses • Freud opposed laboratory research, and depended on clinical observations and personal self-analysis The Behavioural Perspective • Focuses on the role of the external environment in shaping and governing our actions o Behaviour influenced by learned habits and by stimuli in the environment • History rooted in school of philosophy known as British Empiricism o All ideas and knowledge are gained empirically o John Locke: The human mind is initially a white paper, to be furnished by experience o Observation overrules reasoning, since “seeing is believing” while reasoning has potential for error o Pavlov found involuntary learning in dogs from external stimulus • John Watson lead movement of behaviourism in 1920s o Proper subject matter of psychology is observable behaviour, not unobservable inner consciousness o Devoted efforts to discovering laws that govern learning and performance • B. F. Skinner believed mental events, images, and feelings from within are behaviours and not causes • Behaviour modification techniques alter problem behaviours and increase positive behaviours through alterations in environmental factors • Cognitive behaviourism is an attempt to bridge gap between behavioural and cognitive perspectives o Environment exerts effects on behaviour by affecting thoughts o Mental abilities allow control of behaviour and influence of environment (control varies from environment  person and person  environment) The Humanistic Perspective • Emphasizes free will, innate tendencies towards growth, and attempt to find ultimate meaning in one’s existence o Rejected images of behaviour control from unconscious forces • Understand role of internal personality processes, but stress importance of conscious motives, freedom, and choice • Active force toward growth and self-actualization (reaching individual potential) • Terror management theory constructs reality, often involving afterlife and sense of order and stability, to have sense of personal value The Sociocultural Perspective • Focuses on the manner in which culture is transmitted to its members and on similarities/differences that occur among people from diverse cultures • Culture: Enduring values, beliefs, behaviours, and traditions shared among a large group of people • Each culture develops social norms o Norms: Rules that specify what is acceptable and expected behaviour • Humans have need to develop cultures o Introduce order and particular world view into social system, creating predictability, guidelines for thought and behaviour, and a map for life • Margaret Mead found striking differences in normal behaviour among men and women of three tribes o Cultural expectations and learning experiences can affect behaviour • One of most important differences in cultures is emphasis on individualism vs. collectivism o Individualism – North America, Europe o Collectivism – Asia, Africa, South America Perspectives in Historical Context • 1879 – Structuralism (Wilhelm Wundt) • End of 19 century – Functionalism (William James) th • End of 19 century – Psychodynamic (Sigmund Freud) 3
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