2: Bodies of Psychological Theory

I decided to separate the info into more sections, so as to prevent the manifestation of menacing giagantor posts. xD


Famous Person: Wilhelm Wundt, “father of psychology”; created the first laboratory to study humans
Belief: structuralism
+ thoughts were individual units, rather than a connected stream
+ emphasis on brain’s structure
+ each physical sensation triggered a particular emotion; people respond similarly to the same stimuli
+ first scientific approach to psychology
+ trained lab assistants in the art of introspection — self-awareness; looking into oneself



(1800’s – 1900’s) — >>

William James
– “father of American psychology”
– translated German psychology books into English
Belief: functionalism
+ focus on how humans adapt to environment; people react to world differently
+ thoughts were a connected stream, rather than individual units
+ emphasis on brain function, not structure



Sigmund Freud
– developed first comprehensive theory of personality
– doctor that observed in patients physical problems that had no physical causes (“hysteria“)
– “father of psychoanalysis”; leads psychology away from concrete science
Belief: psychoanalysis — cause of abnormality is mental, not physical


–>> Tenets of Psychoanalysis
1. theory based on unconscious mind + unconscious conflicts

2. two basic instincts: sexual + aggressive
+ “bioterminalism” – everything boils down to these two instincts
+ expectations of society conflict with basic instincts (external environment vs. internal instinct)
+ thus, instincts are repressed, but must somehow manifest in a manner acceptable in society (ex: violent sports, marriage, strip clubs [*lol*], etc.)
+ “guilt” is the internal factor that counterbalances the other instincts; triggers repression

3. people are unconsciously influenced by outside stimuli
+ unconscious, because “truth is too painful” (repressed)

4. first five years of life determine personality + behavior
+ negative emotions/trauma repressed as a child; re-emerge at puberty
+ behavior is manifestation of unresolved conflicts

5. mental/behavioral problems + how they can be fixed
+ Cause: failure to find outlet for instincts
+ Solution: projective tests (ink blots, hypnosis, dream interpretation, etc.) to uncover things in unconscious mind; if unconscious conflicts brought to conscious mind, they will leave

*** Criticism:
– psychoanalysis is nonscientific + impractical;
– Freud believed that humans were doomed to be dysfunctional b/c of inherent conflict + the trauma of birth



John Watson
Belief: behavioralism (a.k.a. “learning theory”); based on observation + scientific approach


–>> Tenets of Behavioralism
1. behavior depends on connections + associations we make
+ based on feedback from environment; rewards vs. punishment; action-reaction
+ environment, rather than heredity

2. Cause: “faulty systems of reinforcements + associations”
+ person responds irregularly to feedback

3. Solution: “behavior modification”
+ unconcerned with original cause of behavior; cause is simply that an abnormal association has been made
+ ex: phobia of spiders = result of = negative association of spiders to death or harm
+ solved by reassociating stimuli with positive feedback
+ allows progressive change over time; practical

*** Criticism: idea that humans have no free will; no internal attributes, all based on external effects



Carl Rogers: “father of humanism”
belief: optimistic view on human nature


Tenets of Humanism
1. humans born good + capable of correcting themselves
+ every individual has potential to become great (capable of perfection)
+ “fully functioning individual”: perfect person; “self-actualized” *(see below)

2. environment must provide unconditional love + positive regard

3. Solutions:
+ humans must exercise free will to reach full potential
+ role of others should be to support one’s free will (praise)
+ “client-centered therapy”: show empathy + understanding; nonjudgemental

4. Criticism: too ideal; unrealistic


Abraham Maslow (another humanist)
– Belief: people are motivated to fulfill their needs


Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
(6 – most basic + urgent // 1 – closest to perfection)

1. Self-actualization (perfection)
2. Aesthetic needs (beauty)
2. Self-esteem
3. Need to belong
4. Security
5. Physical needs



There we go. And, I even added an extra one from today’s lesson of wonder. x)


~ by sublunaryxsoul on September 8, 2008.

One Response to “2: Bodies of Psychological Theory”

  1. […] See the rest here: 2: Bodies of Psychological Theory […]

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