Psychology is a broad discipline that focuses mainly on mental functions and behaviors (Kendra, 2013). The basic goal in psychology is to understand individualized as well as group behaviors. The findings are meant to benefit the entire society. People who specialize in this field are known as psychologists and are at times referred to as cognitive scientists (Kendra, 2013). In their practice, psychologists focus on understanding how mental functions can influence social behaviors in an individual. This essay discusses the major assumptions in psychology as well as biological aspects that support a psychological study.
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In psychology, there are assumptions that explain why individuals behave in a particular manner. Psychologists believe that human characteristics are passed on from one generation to the next through inheritance. They also argue that significant percentages of human characteristics are developed and shaped by an individual’s early childhood (Kendra, 2013). This is referred by psychologists to as the ‘external environment’ which builds a person’s character traits. Human behavior is also determined by some irrational drives, which according to psychologists, are unconscious (Kendra, 2013).
Perception, motivation, personality, cognition, and emotion, are some of the concepts used by psychologists to establish behavioral characteristics (Kendra, 2013). Nonetheless, they are attached to the conscious mind. Other psychologists have pursued the concepts involved in the unconscious mind leading to the different schools of thought in psychology. The major schools of thought in psychology include Structuralism, Functionalism, Behaviorism, psychoanalysis, humanistic psychology, Gestalt psychology, and cognitive psychology (Kendra, 2013).
The Structuralism theories involve analyzing the inner functionality of the human mind, which was made possible by procedures such as introspection and others (Kendra, 2013). Functionalism was later developed and this time the focus was not on the mental process but on the influence, the process had on an individual. Psychologists who hold the behaviorism view argue that our behavior is formed and influenced by external factors and not internal factors.
Sigmund Freud came up with yet another school of thought arguing that the unconscious mind is responsible for human behavior. Breaking it down into three elements, the ID, the Ego and the superego, he asserts that the interaction between the three composes human behavior (Kendra, 2013). Another school of thought that came up as a response to the behaviorism theory is the humanistic psychology. This humanistic psychology focused on human free will and self-actualization (Kendra, 2013). It mainly focused on helping individuals reach and realize their maximum potential.
Gestalt psychology, on the other hand, focused on the whole experience unlike the structural psychology that breaks down mental processes into simple elements (Kendra, 2013). Psychologists who hold this view argue that the whole is always superior to the total of its elements (Kendra, 2013). Then goes the cognitive psychology, which focuses on person’s mind, how people, think, perceive, retain information, and gain knowledge (Kendra, 2013). This hypothesis is supported by key perceptions in psychological processes such as schemas, which explain mental and bodily events (Kendra, 2013).
Behavior has been seen in psychology as an expression of what is going on inside the body (Santrock, 2008). Therefore, it has been established that behavior can be changed or biologically altered through modifying an individual’s physical composition through surgery (Santrock, 2008). Nonetheless, other medical processes can help modify behavioral characteristics. Psychology is based on some biological foundations. One of the primary biological foundations of psychology is the nervous system. This system enhances communication between all the organs of the body.
For the heart to beat efficiently and for a person to respond accurately to different stimuli within the body, the nervous system has to be functioning well. The nervous system prompts the body to respond to different stimuli and hence influencing behavioral patterns. The central nervous system is the most delicate and the most sensitive division of the entire system (Santrock, 2008). This makes it very important due to the impact it may have on an individual’s response to stimuli.
The endocrine system, on the hand, is another biological aspect forming the basis of psychology. This system consists of glands that are responsible for controlling the functions of different body organs (Santrock, 2008). This is done through releasing chemical products biologically known as hormones in the bloodstream (Santrock, 2008). When these hormones are released into the bloodstream, they influence behavior and affect mental processes. A number of mental illnesses have been attributed to the interaction between hormones and the nervous system (Santrock, 2008).
This paper has outlined the major theories in psychology and discussed the assumptions paying attention to each theory. In addition to that, it has been established that psychology is founded on biological process in the human body. These foundations have been extensively discussed in this essay. Psychology as a study of cognitive science is therefore a significant tool in explaining human characteristics and behaviors. This essay has shown the rationale used by the psychologists in determining their choices from the different schools of thoughts. Nonetheless, most of the theories connect behavioral characteristics to the mind.
Kendra, C. (2013). Major Schools of Thought in Psychology. Web.
Santrock, J., W. (2008). A topical approach to lifespan development. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.