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Free «Behaviorist and Humanistic Schools of Thought» Essay Sample

According to the behaviorist school of thought, a person’s behavior is controlled by external factors and not internal factors. A great deal of research was done to come up with classical conditioning and operant conditioning theories that support this school of thought. A person is who he is depending on the external conditions he lives in. the humanistic school of thought on the other hand views the person as a free individual. This school of thought emphasizes on aspects such as freedom and self actualization. A person will behave in certain ways in order to achieve this highest level of development.

The concept of determinism states that everything that happens is dependent on the previous event. Events occur consequentially. Human beings have freedom but morals are needed to control this freedom. Every human being should be held responsible for their actions. The proponents of hard determinism and libertarians say that freedom cannot go hand in hand with determinism. However, some compatibilists hold a completely different belief .



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1.The question of how we acquire intelligence has been an area of interests for many psychologists. Binet is one of these researchers who studied his two daughters to find out how intelligence develops. As a result of his research, he concluded that intelligence testing is almost impossible and can be done only at particular times. The reason given for this is because of the development of intelligent abilities with time and in particular contexts. Guilford on the other hand viewed Intelligence as a composition of a variety of factors. These include: ability to give correct answers, creativity, fluency and even memory. Gardner generalized intelligence as creativity and ability to solve problems. According to

Him, an intelligent person was one who could do the above.

2.Initially, Harlow believed that attachment was created because due to the fulfillment of physical needs such as hunger. After conducting research using monkeys, he changed his theories due to the results obtained. He later said that attachment was brought about by physical contact such as touch. Bowlby said that attachments that occur early in life are due to human nature. Babies are born helpless and thus attachment is an inevitable part of life. Ainsworth expanded on Bowlby’s work and came up with three main forms of attachment: secure, ambivalent-insecure and avoidant-insecure.

3. Behaviorism is a branch of psychology that began after the realization that external factors affect the behavior of a person. Not everything is controlled by the unconscious mind. Ivan Pavlov was the first proponent of this school of thought. His work was further developed by Bekhterev who expanded the Pavlov’s experiments. Thorndike did extra experiments on cats and came up with what he called the laws of learning. Watson is considered the father of behaviorism showed that behavior is that which is observable.

4. Piaget centered his developmental studies on cognitive processes. Cognitive processes develop as a child grows. He said that children have innate abilities to develop intelligence.

Every child passes through the same stages in cognitive development. The appearance of one stage is consequential and all stages follow the same route. In his theory of psychosocial development, Erickson focused on development of personality. Kohlberg on the other hand focused on moral development.

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5.A trait is a certain way of behavior conducted by an individual in a certain pattern. They are usually done in the same way regardless of environment. Cattell focused on temperament, motivational traits and the diverse dimensions of abilities. He made comparisons on the three traits and presented them in a table. Eysenck classified people as extroverts, introverts or neurotics according to the traits. Allport compared adult traits to those of a child.

6. Social representation is one’s standing in society. Moscovici viewed this concept as one which controls order and fosters communication between its group members. Tajfel said that groups are what identify us for who we are.

7. According to Asch, peer pressure plays a major role in providing authority. Peer pressure affects personal principles. Also group competition increases prejudice according to Sherif . Obeying is not dependent on authority according to Milgram. We behave according to the situation we are in. it is true that peer pressure can make one overlook their own principles.

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8. Tajfel and Turner are the proponents of social identity theory where he believes that groups define us. We also feel worthy when we are in a group and place people in categories according to their groups. This is known as in-group (us) and out-group (them) and is meant to enhance image. All the evaluations and perceptions we have are based on groups.

9.Ideas found and developed by the attachment theory are highly interrelated to those psychoanalytic object relations theories. Both answers the issue of relation to others, both believe that early attachment determines future behaviors and our need for attachment is also emphasized.

10. Kleinian theory on inner working model emphasized on the role of unconscious phantasm in the etiology of neurotic and psychotic symptoms. Winnicott (1988), in a somewhat similar way to Klein, sees primary and secondary processes as complementary, rather than as being in opposition. Bowlby and Ainsworth focused their studies on attachment. Bowlby’s issue with Kelin- Winnicott theories was their complete ignorance of environmental factors in their studies.

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11. Ambivalent attachment is poor and the mother is always absent, as a result, the child lacks trust in everyone. Avoidant attachment is where there is no differentiation between a mother and stranger. The child becomes shy and cannot seek help. Secure attachment is the best and children grow well.

12. Reinforcement can either be positive or negative. Negative reinforces are those things which are removed to change behavior for example a toy. For example, a student studying hard to pass an exam in order to get a reward is an example of positive operant conditioning. A child would do anything to avoid punishment which is a painful or unpleasant consequence of behavior.

13. Systematic desensitization is a type of therapy used in the field of psychology to help patients overcome anxiety disorders. It is related to Pavlov’s operant conditioning. It is related to reciprocal inhibition in that one faces their own fear in order to overcome it. A lot of mediation is used to identify this fear.

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14. The model is in three steps; the unfreeze step where a problema is identified in order to sensitize people, the transition step where there is change of behavior and the freeze stage where the new ideas are inculcated into a person. In an organisation, one can apply these three steps to change behavior.

15. Ivan realised that production of saliva was based on food and this is a learned response or conditioned reflex. The White lab coat is an unconditioned réflex because it was associated with food. A conditioned response is one expected after an action, for example; avoiding going to the hospital because injections are painful.

Kraepelin’s grouped diseases based on characteristics of the symptoms. Instead of using similarity, he used patterns of symtoms which was a more effective classification. Luria’s focused on neuropsychology, brain damage in adults, motor-sensory disruption, memory disorders, and language loss. Hebb studied neural machinery of animals in order to effectively understand behavior.

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17. Id, ego and super-ego are the parts of psyche identified by Freud. Mental behaviors are described along these lines. The id bases conclusions on instincts, the ego is realistic and the super ego is the one that contains the guilt conscious part.

18. The archein, means "original or old"; and typos, which means "pattern, model or type". When conjoined, they mean an old pattern of something.

Jung, used the concept of archetype in his theory of the human psyche. We all have our archetypes and they exist in our unconscious. Archetypes of a person include; the self, which exists on its own. The shadow is composed on inner traits

19. By studying behavior, behaviorists encourage the development of a conducive learning environment for effective learning to take place. A child should also be allowed to explore their talent. Children can also be trained by their parents and teachers to be better people just like in operant conditioning.

20. A mother needs to see a child grow until they become an independent adult. The attachments have to be secure in order to avoid attention disorders. A mother should be able to provide all these. A good mother should be intuitive to the child’s needs. she should also be there to see the child transcend through the different developmental stages.

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21. Piaget introduced this term in 1929. The concept was majorly mean to show aspects such as a set of ideas or different ways of reasoning. Piaget used this term to describe how children developed because they developed ‘schema’. The higher the cognitive level, the more complex the schema is.


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