Psychology is defined as the science that studies behavior and mental processes. Although psychology is explained in one simple definition, there are six different influential perspectives which psychologists may choose to use to study behavior.
Each of the six perspectives tend to concentrate on different areas of study as well as deal with each case study in different ways. The six perspectives are, biological, humanistic-existential, psychodynamic, learning, and socioculture.
Psychologists that use the biological perspective as their basis for understanding how and why we think or act the way that we do, highly concentrate on the links between the brain, it's biological functions and how these functions relate to our mental processes. Through use of CAT (Computerized axial tomography) and PET (Positron emission tomography) scans, combined with electronic stimulation, psychologists are able to see how the brain behaves when dealing with emotions and thoughts. These tests also enable psychologists to see the brain activity of a person with mental disorders differs from that of normal brain activity. The biological perspective also deals with the different types of chemicals and hormones that are released by the brain and how they influence behavior. For instance, psychologists have learned that when the hormone prolactin is produced it stimulates milk production in women, but in laboratory rats, this hormone stimulated maternal behavior. So not only does the hormone affect physical changes or characteristics but it can also affect or create certain types of behavior. Another area that psychologists which use the biological perspective study, is genes. Psychologists try to find the connection between genes and how certain traits are passed on. Some examples may be mental disorders or levels of intelligence, they have even tried to find a link for addictions to narcotics or alcohol.
A psychologist who uses the biological perspective would say that there are two reasons why aggressive behavior may occur. One is, it could be the reaction of a hormone that is released when a certain situation arises and this hormone sparks this type of behavior. Or it could be a behavioral trait that was passed on through genetic structure to that person and aggressive behavior is part of their "nature". There is also the possibility that it could be a combination of both.
Psychologists whom use the cognitive perspective believe that one must look inward and investigate the mental processes to understand how the mind works. They study how people solve problems, perceive the world, daydream and dream. The cognitive perspective is separated in to two parts, the Cognitive - Developmental Theory and Information Processing. The Swiss biologist Jean Piaget (1896 - 1980)is known for using the Cognitive Perspective to focus on how children and adults reason and view the world. Through studies Piaget and his followers stated that a child's conception becomes more refined as the child grows older. He also stated that even though experience is essential for children, their perception and understanding of the world seems to be related to a biological clock, which allows them to be able to understand certain situations at the right time. The other half of the cognitive perspective is Information Processing. This area of study relates the way that humans store and remember information to the way that computers store and retrieve information. Just as information has to be entered into a computer, placed into memory and then retrieved at a later date, our brains work in similar ways. We receive information as input, store it in our memory, and then retrieve at a later date when we need it. They have also stated that just as you need a password to get into a data file that was stored in the memory of a computer, there usually is some type of cue that helps us to bring back information that is stored in our memory banks.
The cognitive perspective can view aggressive behavior in two different ways. One way is that a person is exposed to this type of behavior as they were growing up and chooses to behave in this manner. They could also this as behavior which occurs when a certain cue sets off some deeply hidden memory and that created a reaction of aggressive behavior.
Carl Rogers, Rollo May, and Abraham Maslow were all psychologists that said that humans have the freedom to decide how we are going to behave and that we are in a constant battle to find the true meaning of ourselves and our existence. These ideas are all part of the Humanistic-Existential Perspective. This perspective is made up of two similar ideas. The humanism part highly concentrates on the fact that humans have the ability to make choices and that these choices are related to the human's need for self- fulfillment. It also concentrates on the fact that subjective and personal experiences are the most important part of our decision making. The existentialism part sees people as having the freedom to make their own choices and the ethical conduct that comes along with that freedom. This perspective became very popular in the 1970's as it helped people to "get in touch" with their inner self's, to better understand their feelings and what they were capable of doing. Although this type of perspective is not easily measured or able to be observed objectively, many of the psychologist which study this perspective agree that human experiences are necessary to understanding our human nature.
The humanistic - existential perspective views aggressive behavior as a choice that a person ...