Behavioral vs. Humanistic Perspective Essay

Behavioral vs. Humanistic Perspective I have chosen to discuss the behavioral perspective vs. the humanistic perspective. While the two are similar because they deal with behaviors, however its how behaviors are “learned” that makes them contrast to one another, creating in the long run a revolution in psychology. Behavioral perspective is defined as “perspective that focuses on observable behavior and emphasizes the learned nature of behaviors. Davis, & Palladino, 2010) Perhaps the best known experiment that exhibits this is “Pavlov’s dogs” (Or if you are a fan of The Office, the “Altoid experiment”) By observing reaction in the dogs and creating a controlled experiment was able to “teach” and the dogs “learned” the behavior of salivating when the dinner bell rang. (Davis, & Palladino, 2010) To bring this into a more “human” example, there is a stereotype that says that criminals are the product of their environments.

For example, if a parent is a drug dealer who does time in prison or jail then the children will follow in their footsteps and because they have “learned” that behavior, and will exhibit these behaviors in their own lives. (I would just like to say that this is not necessarily my opinion, it is just an example) This however leads me into my next subject, humanistic perspective. The humanistic perspective is an “approach to psychology associated with Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers emphasizes free will and individuals’ control of their own free will. (Davis, & Palladino, 2010) This in basic terms is an individual making cognitive choices in the behavior they will exhibit. The similarity in both of these is that there are still behaviors that are learned, however in this perspective; the individual will chose which behaviors to emulate and which to ignore. Going back to the stereotype about learned criminal behavior, the behavior in both perspectives is learned, however the subject will either chose to emulate, or chose to change the pattern and never exhibit any type of criminal behavior.

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On the other side as well, some people who have never been exposed to criminal activity, may chose to exhibit criminal activity. So while these are similar, they created a revolution in psychology because of their differences in how the behavior is chosen. Be it learned and emulated or learned and patterns are changed by choice, they are opposite in thought and have contributed to psychology by giving us insight into the thought process. References Davis, S, & Palladino, J. (2010). Psychology sixth edition. Upper Saddle, NJ: Pearson Education Inc..


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