Lecture: Perspective of Psychology
Reading Assignment 2:
Perspectives in Psychology (pp. 11-24)
Click for the objectives for Reading Assignment 2

The second reading assignment introduces students to the Psychological Perspectives that contribute greatly to the identity that Psychology has today. The term Psychological Perspectives is relatively modern; however, the notion of differing takes on how to explain human behavior is not new to Psychology and they were once referred to as Schools of Thought. The first two Schools of Thought were discussed in Reading Assignment 1.

Throughout this course, the Psychological Perspectives will be discussed that each have adopted a unique Paradigm. This reading assignment introduces four main Perspectives of Psychology and their origins, in no particular order. Sigmund Freud is the founder of the first Perspective, which is referred to as the Psychodynamic Perspective. It rest upon three key premises (of the psychodynamic perspective) that have helped it become one of the most recognizable theories of Psychology. The second perspective is the Behaviorist or Behavioral Perspective or Behaviorism of which is B. F. Skinner is the most noted contributor. The third perspective is the Cognitive Perspective, which grew in popularity when Psychology moved away from Behaviorist Perspective. This Perspective varies greatly in its many approaches; however, in summary, it described mental processes and explains mental functioning as Information Processing. The fourth perspective is the Evolutionary Perspective. Many Evolutionary Psychologists adopt an approach, referred to as Ethology. The Evolutionary Perspective and Ethology differ greatly from the Behaviorist Perspective, which often investigated animals in a controlled laboratory. It rest upon the theory of Natural Selection and argues that factors such as Inclusive Fitness play a significant role in an organisms' Reproductive Success. It has also generated hybrid approaches to investigating human behavior, such as Sociobiology, that focus heavily on Natural Selection and genetic factors that contribute to human behavior.

Not all Paradigms are created equal; however, many of them do share three components. In an effort for Psychology to be considered a science and respected by the scientific community, modern Paradigms are also encouraged to make clear predictions about human behavior and satisfy a Falsifiability Criterion.

Required Reading:
A. Lefton, L. A., & Brannon, L. (2002). Psychology (8th Edition). pp. 2-36, 405. (Chapters 1 and 12)

Internet Sources:
A. Wells, J. (1999). Second Thoughts about Peppered Moths: This Classical Story of Evolution by Natural Selection Needs Revising. Internet URL: http://www.arn.org/docs/wells/jw_pepmoth.htm
B. Van Wyhe, J. (2002). The History of Phrenology on the Web. Internet URL: http://pages.britishlibrary.net/phrenology/overview.htm

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