Studying Psychology…

December 26, 2007

…meant that in the first 2 years I encountered, amongst others, the following big themes:

1) Behaviorism
2) Psychodynamic approaches
3) Cognitive Psychology
4) Social Constructionism
5) Differential approaches (such as Trait theory)
6) Developmental approaches
7) Probabilistic Fisherian reasoning

Having learned what those entail, I was then able to say:

In some situations people behave, just like animals, as their impulses dictate (1, 2), which have been shaped by past experience (1, 2, 3), either through unconscious (2) conditioning (1), or conscious social influence (4). We are different from animals in the sense of having developed a very complex language (3) that makes us Popperian creatures who are able to let hypotheses die instead of themselves. Of course, people are not only different in their prior experiences, they also differ in very basic, perhaps genetically rooted, characteristics (5), which in turn might not predict, but at least correlate with their behaviour.
There is a roadmap for every individual to evolve (6), with some paths being shared across individuals or even vertebrates to a certain likelihood (7).

I am currently trying to make sense of that and develop an integral (*1) view of all those existing building blocks. You already realized that the puzzle is still more than prematurely assembled and I welcome any help, should you feel you have an advanced view encompassing all those themes, knowing exactly where their place in both history and logical argument is to be. Just leave a comment…

*1) Integral in the sense of Spiral Dynamics (Don Beck)


3 Responses to “Studying Psychology…”

  1. Gonzonia said

    very interesting statement.for me the essential of my psychology study, that there is no absolute reality and cannot be because everyone sees things different like you can take diffent pictures of one of the same subject: the all show the same but in a totally diffent light and mood.
    but back the point. aren`t we all human beings just consisting and functioning because of chemical reactions??

  2. US said

    Hi Frateric,
    from our chat I got that you see behaviourist as explorers of drives, cognitivists as researchers of underlying processes and so on.
    From my point of view, all the different approaches try to explain how humans learn and survive in their environment. E.g. The behaviourist view was very popular at the beginning of the 20th century. That view was so popular that it was applied in school lessons. At that point in time behaviourist theories were very influential and probably the best to explain human behaviour. Some decades later around the 1960s theories like the social cognitive approach became popular and was used to teach and explain learning and behaviour.
    Hence, the overview or the map of personhood you would like to create here, can (in my opinion) just be a snap-shot and a reflection of the popular! ideas at this point in time!

  3. Henning said

    From the view of a non-psychologist you make an interesting point. What determines human behaviour? Logic reasoning (and therefore unbiased as I haven’t studied any of the modules from 1 to 7) tells me that the only two factors that determine human behaviour are the individual’s past experiences (environment so to speak) and the genetics. However for me (as a person rather than a human being) it is not possible to draw the “roadmap” you talked about without finding Answers to the following questions:
    What is the proportion between the influence of environment and genetics?
    Do genetics or even past experience have influence on that proportion?
    And therefore:
    Do people differ in reference to these proportions?

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