Past,present, and Future: The Place of Psychology in our Lives
Past,present, and Future: The Place of Psychology in our Lives
Psychologyis defined as the study of the mind and behavior. It is an appliedscience and an academic discipline that delves in understandingindividuals by coming up with general principles and research tospecific cases. A researcher or a professional practitioner in thisfield is known as a psychologist, and he or she can be classified asa cognitive, behavioral, or social scientist. The psychologistsalways attempt to comprehend the role of individual’s mentalfunctions and social behavior, whale at the same time exploringbiological and psychological processes, which underlie cognitivebehaviors and functions (Magnusson et al. 2012). The purpose of thispaper therefore is to examine the complexities and controversies thatsurround definitions of psychology, strengths, weaknesses, anddifferent approaches of Psychology, the past, the present, and futuretheories to Psychology, and finally to critically analyze andcriticize the place of Psychology in today’s society.
Psychologypresents a complex science which is fragmented, that is, differentcomponents of mental functions such as perception, action, memory,and learning, are modeled in a way that it is almost completelyfilled with different concepts, while it is clear that theseoperations in the mid brain are taken in a synergic and more unifiedway (Grof, 2000). According To Whiteley & Fretz (1980) noted thatcognitive psychologists are able to construct mental processes modelwhere behaviorists ignores or at least deny the existence of mentalprocesses abstracts. In summary, as the complexities are evident, alarge number of observes have noted that psychology presents nounifying paradigm.
Consequently,there is no perspective to theoretical approaches that is capable toincorporate and render consistent forms of psychological knowledge.With these psychology complexities, there is potential to assist thescience to overcome fragmentation and result to a trustworthy unifiedmind theory (León & Tamez, 2010). Chaplin & Krawiec (1967)claim that this could present a long-term goal in research that issimilar to but is more specific to research for unified principleprinciples of complex system. In recent years, cognitive scienceemerged as a discipline, and that it has found a lot of applicationsthat are beyond cognition study of motor systems (York & Cooper,2001). The complexity heightens when the basic idea thought to resultfrom this application is the use of computationalinformation-processing models for it to join together data fromvarious sources and abstract psychological theory.
Secondly,psychology presents a number of controversies that could easilycurtail its smooth process. Wachtel & Messer (1997) pointed outthe controversial issue of nature versus nurture, that is, geneticsversus environment. The main controversial issue here is whether oneamong the other issues modifies who we are, what we become, andaffects out behaviors, or whether it is a combination. York &Cooper (2001) claims that a bigger issue here is that there is norecognition of cognitive issues since genetics predispose us tobehave in a certain manner. Again, the environment around ourfamilies may influence or shape us to think in a different manner. Asa result, we process all these influences to meet at our differentyet unique understanding to outward experiences. Similarly, thenurture versus nature issue claims that we completely at the mercy ofoutward forces alone, and that our internal experience nervoussystem and brain processes are not considered as part of this wholeinfluence process model (Jordan, 2008). On the psychological sectionof it, Rozik (2012) asks how psychologists assist people to makethose forms of “end-of-life” decisions, and also how do thepsychologists assist the family with that kind of a decision. Inaddition, controversies arise in the forensic psychology filed, whichdeclares a person “crazy” or “insane”. In this case, theissue is that psychological definitions and judicial definitions donot match. Also, jury selection as a lot of work, and the processesthe jurors undergo to make up their minds during trials (Levers,2012). In particular, the kind of processes goes through to come upwith a decision to put an individual on death throw.
Finally,controversies arise especially on the way counsellors carry out theirwork. Valentim (2012) noted that no matter what the therapist seemsto be obvious, what remains is the onus to identify what is wrong. Healso noted that the client could frequently play “where’s isWaldo” expense and great time, but is remains an algorithm, whichfeeds off previous inputs. Again, there are psychology strengths andweaknesses that are always experienced.
Tobegin with strengths, there are four sections namely: Reductionism,determinism, individualism differences, and applications. Inreductionism, explanations that are within biological approach serveas reductionists that have proved useful overtime. Examples of thisare the restoration of sleep theories of schizophrenia thatemphasizes on brain chemistry or brain structure (May, 1967).Secondly, there is determinism, which advocates on the biologicalapproach that advocates on important factors, for example, brainchemistry and genes that have substantial impact on a being’sbehavior (Richardson, 2008). Thirdly, individual differences, thatincorporates biological approach is evidenced with success inrevealing that genetic factors plays a crucial role in explanation ofindividual differences in terms of intelligence. Finally, there isthe application, whereby biological approach is evidenced with valuein terms of chemotherapy use that is used to treat various mentaldisorders, for example, anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia(Capuzzi & Gross, 2011). In addition, Denmark & Paludi (2008)noted that genetic counsellors for prospective parents results to anoutcome that understands the link between behavior and genes. This isalso a strength that serves as relief since they are able to carryout genetic susceptibility to some diseases.
Weaknesseson the other hand have four components, which include reductionism,determinism, and nurture-nature. To begin with, Magnusson et al.(2012) noted that biological approach of the reductionism nature isoversimplified, that is, it is hard to obtain a complete humanunderstanding and behavior by only focusing on biological factors.For instance, (Barr, 2008) listed various psychological, cultural,and social factors, which influences mental orders development suchas anxiety and depression, whereby these factors are easily ignoredwithin biological approach.
Biologicalexplanations are known to be deterministic, which often involve focuson genetic factors. However, Chaplin & Krawiec (1968) explainsthat influence on genetic factors on behavioral issues is typicallyindirect. For instance, Houston Symposium (1980) found out in a twinresearch study that genetic factors can easily influence watching oftelevision, but at the same time is very difficult to work out theway genes have this kind of effect. Finally, there is the weakness ofnurture-nature, the biological approach that stresses on theessentials of genetic factors, which determines behavior at the sametime minimize the essentials of environmental factors. In conclusion,biological explanations become more appropriate to some kinds ofbehavior, such as vision, which involves some higher mental activity,and British Psychology Society (2002) claim that these biologicalexplanations are often inadequate.
Psychologicalapproaches involve psychodynamics, biological, and cognitive, andbehavioral. The four approaches examine both the strengths andweaknesses of psychology. Parker & Spears (1996) pointed out thatone of the approaches is the focus on the effects that childrenexperiences on developing the personality. This is an approach thatSigmund Freud identified to be of importance to children.Psychodynamics, for example, takes both nurture and nature and put itinto account since the approach emphasizes on the value of both.Psychodynamics approach also emphasizes on the weaknesses since itgives suggestion that the behavior is pre-determined and that peopledo not have the free will (Emmons & McCullough, 2004).
Thereis also biological approach whose strength is very scientific. Again,biological approach is deterministic. Correll (2007) says that suchan approach increases likelihood of the ability to treat individualswith abnormal and unique behaviors. The approach also comes alongwith focusing too much attention on “nature” side of the nurtureor nature debate. Malone (2009) argues that the behavior is triggeredby neurotransmitters, genetics, and hormones.
Cognitiveapproach explains the processes such as attention, memory, andperception to have been studied before to have had an effect on ourbehavior. Flanagan & Rorty (1993) worked on considerable researchthat shows that memories on the eye witness testimonies areunreliable. The approach, according to Snyder & Lopez (2009), hassince been successful in turning around irrational thoughts into sanethoughts in order to improve the behavior. On the other hand,cognitive approach that is reductionist reduces the human behavior,which goes down to a person’s processes such as attention andmemory.
Finally,behaviorist approach strength means that the experiments are not onlyobjective but also observable and measureable. Nebraska Symposium onMotivation et al. (2001) gave an example of Bandura’s boboaggression study. One weakness is that there is too much focus on the“nurture” section of the nurture/nature debate. Plomin &McClearn (1993) suggest that there is assumption in which peopleeasily learn these behavior by simply observing other people thatgets rewarded due to certain actions. Again, another weakness to thisapproach is that ethical issues are raised by using the animals inexperiments. The reason behind this is that animals are not allowedto get involved, and it will be hard to withdraw. Martin (2007) gavean example of this approach is that Pavlov’s dogs that is led tobeing developed from principles of classical conditioning.
Thescientific study of mental processes and human behavior have theoriesthat attempt to uncover the reason why and the manner in which peopledo what they do. Different psychology theories govern the manner inwhich different psychologists approach the research into humanbehavioral processes. As a result, there is dynamism in the past,present and the future of these theories. First, some of thesetheories include: Behaviorism, biological, cognitive, andpsychoanalytic (Ashworth, 2007).
Whilethese theories of today reflect rich discipline and a varied history,psychology past differs greatly from the current contemporary fieldconceptions. The present contemporary psychology currently focuses ona wide range of topics from a more neutral level to a more culturallevel. Mook (2007) examined the past with the onset of the dualismidea that asserted that the body and mind were very separateentities, which interacted with each other to form human experiences.The past also focused on the difference between psychology andphysiology.
Thepresent day psychology emerged as a different entity yet as aseparate discipline. Presently, we have psychology as a uniquediscipline altogether, which is presented with theories such aspsychoanalysis, cognitive, biological, and behaviorism. Tenenbaum(2007) puts in it order starting from psychoanalysis, behaviorism,cognitive and then biological, Psychologists are presently workingfrom a different setting at the colleges and universities, secondaryand primary schools, and that it has seen tremendous rise in appliedpsychology.
Accordingto Sternberg & Grigorenko (2003), the future of psychologyexplains the manner in which the mind, brain, and other biologicalparts of the body interact with each other to create behavior. Thefuture of psychology will be shaped by scientific, political, andtechnically gifted forces as a whole. León & Tamez (2010)predicted that the future of psychology will be influenced bycomputer science and biology, and that it could result into creationof other disciplines.
Accordingto Davidson & Sternberg (2003), each of these psychologicaltheories emphasizes on different point each time when approachingcore psychological questions that asks why, what, or how. Numeroustheory and research based on a single one or more of the followinggrand theories:
Biological:The theory focuses on underpinnings of biology, behavior, effects ofgenetics and evolution. The basic premise here is that mental andbehavioral processes are explained by comprehending human anatomy andpsychology. Biological psychologists mostly focus on the nervoussystem and the brain (Schneider, 2004).
Psychoanalytic:The theory emphasizes on the unconscious importance of mentalprocesses and the child’s early development, immature desires,child’s wishes, and demands of reality (Banyard, 1999)
Behaviorism:Previous learning experience is emphasized here in shaping of thebehavior. Smith & Vetter (1982) noted that behaviorists do notoften pay attention to mental processes since it is believed thatthese mental processes are very difficult to be observed objectively.This theoretical approach is involved with the ongoing controversialissues that videogame and television influence has on children.
Cognitive:According to Jarvis (2000), this theoretical approach is emphasizedon previous experiences on mental information processing that shapesbehavior, and that is includes specific function of reasoning,memory, and problem solving. This approach focuses on thepsychologists that are interested in mental thoughts and plans thatcause and guide behavior.
Existentialand Humanistic: the approach emphasizes on uniqueness of everyindividual and the ability and responsibility to decisions in ourlives. According to Brislin (1990), humanists believe that anindividual’s free will, free choice, and understanding of events’meanings in one’s life serves as the most important things toobserve and study.
Sociocultural:This theoretical approach, according to Cohen (1983), focuses oncultural and social factors, which have an effect on our behavior.The 1990s’ tattoo phenomena serve as a good example ofsociocultural events’ power. Before then, Snyder & Lopez (2002)claims that people that got tattooed were observed to act out oftheir status quo. Currently, the tattoos have been accepted widely.
Postmodernism:The approach questions the exact base of psychological science, bychallenging the approach used to the truth and the kind of approachthat focuses on individualism (Aspinwall & Staudinger, 2003).This theoretical approach forced the psychologists to propose thatfor better understanding of human thoughts and reasoning, there is aneed to examine communal and social processes that involves reasoningand thinking (Snyder & Lopez, 2007). Postmodern psychologistshave a say in this approach, in that, they advocate for view onsocial constructionist that states that concepts of truth and realityare easily defined or created by the society.
Majorityof people live dull lives, which is somewhat robotic in its naturalsense of the word, and according to Whiteley & Fretz (1980),people have been devoid of purpose and deeper meaning of their lives.The society we live in is very competitive and the culture dictatesthat those that achieve success are only rewarded. As a result ofthis, our lives are turned into passionless and emotionless beings.Psychology today, according to Grof (2000), demands that ourneurotically and intensely driven culture of individual’spsychological and emotional strain balances well beyond thecomfortable balance of the society. Cultural paradigm, as far aspsychology is concerned, leaves the society disconnected, isolated,and disenchanted. When this happens, Tokoro & Steels (2003) musedthat we tend to seek and honor material things at the expense ofdevoting our abilities to loving and intimate relationships, withourselves and others.
Psychologytoday has its victims and victimhood dynamics are largely ignored byclinicians and scholars. The past years have seen tendency to blamevictims, and today, the tide has been turned. Today, Chessick (2007)cautions that it incorrect politically to explore victims’ role tosuch violent systems. Today, not only individuals wish to claimvictim’s status, but also political and legal systems as well.
Theworld today, according to Wachtel & Messer (1997), is faced withdisasters today, both man-made and natural or combination of the two.With such situations, people are exposed to a hot psychological andphysical suffering. Again, challenges in average life situations likemental disorders, relationships, choosing career, and bereavement canhave an effect in today’s society. Therefore, psychology todayfacilitates the need for people to come back to their normal lifefunctions.
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