Sample Psychology Essay Paper on Psychology Perspectives and Research

Psychology Perspectives and Research


PerspectivesDescription of PerspectiveMajor Figure and Notable Contributions
PsychoanalyticThis perspective relies on the past and the past’s effect on an individual’s behavior. Overcoming any present difficulties or situations, therefore, according to the perspective, requires taking stock of the past.Sigmund Freud is one of the notable figures of the perspective. He emphasized the role of unconscious mental forces in determining the behavior of an individual.
BehavioristBehaviorists explain the behavior of an individual through observation. Proponents of this perspective believe in learning of behavior. Introverted, extroverted, or ambivert behavior, according to this perspective are because of punishment or reward for behavior in the past.B. F. Skinner is a notable figure of this perspective. Through his classical and operant conditioning experiments, he observed that the environment could control the behavior of an individual through reinforcement and punishment.
GestaltThe perspective believes in the observation of different parts in their simplest forms. It believes that the whole is of greater importance than individual parts (Wertheimer, 2009). According to the perspective, by observing the whole, it is possible to find order in the chaos and the binding union among seemingly unrelated parts.Wolfgang Kohler is among the most notable figures. He fronted the idea of learning by discovery insisting that the learning process is active and dynamic (Wertheimer, 2009).
HumanistThe theory insists on free will and individual choice. Humanists argue that humans are in control of their behavior, choosing the bulk of their behaviorsAbraham Maslow is one of the key figures of this perspective. He fronted the Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, which lines the steps individuals take to reach their full potential.
CognitiveThe perspective argues that an individual’s behavior is a result of cognitive processes through which individuals interpret, perceive, and remember different happenings around them. Understanding an individual’s behavior, therefore, requires an understanding of the individual’s way and reasons of processing the world and events around them.Noam Chomsky is among the notable figures of this perspective. He fronted the idea that cognition is innate and rules guiding language are innate, similar to behavior.
Neuro/psychological  This perspective looks at the brain functions and how the functions control the body and behavior. The perspective believes the brain is the central point of behavior control and coordinates all human behavior.Among the most notable figures of this perspective is Rene Descartes whose argument of the brain, particularly the pineal gland, made huge contributions to the perspective. He fronted the idea that the brain has control over body functions as well as behavior.
Sociocultural  This perspective looks at an individual’s behavior as influenced by culture. The perspective investigates an individual’s interaction with culture and how the culture influences the individual’s behavior.Lev Vygotsky is among the notable figures of the perspective. His contributions include the idea that the environment and all the factors in it influence an individual’s development of high order functions, including behavior.

Research Methods

ObservationalHere the researcher observes the behavior of the subject. The research can either be overt or covert.It allows researcher to measure what behavior is really like.It is difficult to determine whether the observed behavior is truly representative of what normally happensObserving the behavior of an animal in a new environment
CorrelationalThis involves measurement of two or more variables to find the relationship between the variablesProvides a framework for testing expected relationships and making predictions (Stangor, 2011).Cannot show inferences on causal relationships among variablesCorrelation between weight and height, given the high weight of tall people.
ExperimentalThe research involves investigating the causal relationship between and among variablesMakes it possible to draw a conclusion on a causal relationship among variablesExpensive and time-consuming (Stangor, 2011).Research investigating the effect of watching video games on aggressive behavior


Stangor, C. (2011). Research methods for the behavioral sciences (4th ed.). Mountain View, CA: Cengage. Retrieved from

Wertheimer, M. (2009). A Gestalt perspective on the psychology of thinking. Towards a Theory of Thinking. On Thinking. Berlin: Springer. Retrieved from