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Foundations of Psychology

The founding foundations of psychology from its beginning until today.

“Psychology is a science of behavior and mental functioning that uses both quantitative and qualitative research studies to develop and test hypotheses and put forward theories and models that explain human behavior.” (Kowalski, 2005) When psychology was first founded there were only a few foundations of psychology. The most popularly used in the 1800’s were called, structuralism and functionalism. Structuralism focuses on identifying and analysis basic elements of experiences. These experiences even include mental events like perception. Research for this form of approach to psychology comes from verbal accounts of experiences. Functionalism focuses on the belief that optimal learning conditions can be created by knowing how the brain uses and processes information.

As time went on and the science of psychology progresses more approaches to present day psychology emerged. Behavioral, psychoanalytic, cognitive, social/cultural, humanism, physiological, and clinical are all popular approaches to modern day psychology. The physiological approach is the learning how the brain effects behavior and how behavior can effect the brain. The behavioral approach is a bit different because it emphasizes how behavior is shaped by the environment. The humanistic approach deals with free will and individual control over behaviors. Here the person’s behaviors are being driven by their feelings related to perception. The cognitive approach deals with how thoughts, perceptions, and problem solving strategies affect our lives. Perceptions are often altered or effected by emotional states. The social/cultural approach to psychology relates how society norms, roles, and situations can influence our actions.

All of these approaches to present day psychology can be used to study questions about human behavior thus letting scientists form thesis as to why these behaviors have occurred.

Biological psychology is another form of psychology that studies the brain and the nervous system. The nervous, endocrine, peripheral, automatic, central systems are the big systems involved in biological psychology. The nervous system is the bodies system that caries messages to the brain. The basic units of the nervous system are the neurons, structures of the nerve cells, and the transmissions between nerve cells. The endocrine system deals with glandular function and hormones. The peripheral system, the somatic nervous system consists of transmissions from the central nervous system (CNS), motor movements, and voluntary processes. The automatic nerve system deals with basic life processes including the sympathetic nervous system as well as the parasympathetic nervous system. The central nervous system (CNS) is made up of the brain and the spinal cord. The spinal cord consists of the nerve connections to the back muscles and organs.

The brain is the most important part of the central nervous system. The brain anatomy consists of the midbrain, the sub cortical forebrain known as forebrain structures, the cerebral cortex which promotes higher brain functions. Basic behavior functions are located in the cerebral cortex. All of these nervous systems work simultaneously to make the human body function. Biological psychology is the study of all of these parts of the body and the study of how these parts affect human behaviors. It is also a well know fact that genetics play a large roll in psychology as well as biological psychology. Genetics not only make up our inherited traits and looks but also what is on the inside of our bodies. Psychology is a science that studies these genetic make ups to form hypothesis on how people became the way they are and why it is so.

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