Five Schools of Thought

8 August 2016

These schools of thought include structuralism, functionalism, behaviorism, Gestalt psychology and psychoanalysis. Structuralism is the school of thought that according to Cherry  (2014), “Structuralism was the first school of psychology and focused on breaking down mental processes into the most basic components” (Structuralism). Functionalism was influenced by the work of William James and it is a form of response for structuralism.

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Cherry (2014), “The term behaviorism refers to the school of psychology founded by John B. Watson based on the belief that behaviors can be measured, trained, and changed. ” However, Gestalt psychology concentrates mainly on human behavior and mind as one whole in addition, psychoanalysis was first established by Sigmund Freud mostly known for the Id, Ego and Superego. Structuralism was first established by a German Psychologist named William Wundt Structuralism was the first school of thought in psychology, structuralism is the study of another component of consciousness.

An example of structuralism is describing an experience at a particular place as giving detailed examples like the park was windy, cold, and calming. However, Functionalism, unlike structuralism was formed as a response to structuralism. Functionalism was influenced by the work of William James and Charles Darwin’s evolutionary theory (Cherry, 2014). Functionalism focused on the purpose of consciousness and behavior rather than the components of the consciousness (Cherry, 2014).

Functionalism influenced psychology as much as structuralism did as well as changed the meaning of the educational system. The father of psychology first founded the school of behaviorism, John B. Watson and according to Cherry (2014),”The term behaviorism refers to the school of psychology founded by John B. Watson based on the belief that behaviors can be measured, trained, and changed” (Answer). Behaviorism is learned through conditioning and conditioning happens when there is some kind of interaction with the environment.

However, there are two types of conditioning the first is classical conditioning and the second one is operant conditioning. When you think of classical conditioning the first thing that comes to mind is Ivan Pavlov and his dogs salivating he used classical conditioning and that is when a stimulus In the case of Pavlov’s experiments is the meat is paired with a response that would take the dog to salivate. In addition, Cherry  (2014), “Operant conditioning (sometimes referred to as instrumental conditioning) is a process of learning that occurs through rewards and punishments for behavior.

The main concepts of operant conditioning are reinforcement and punishment; Cherry (2014), “Positive reinforcements are favorable events or outcomes that are presented after the behavior” (Components of Operant Conditioning). With a positive reinforcement the behavior becomes stronger because a reward or a behavior is applauded, however, a negative reinforcement is when something is removed when something negative is done in this case the response is also strengthen by removing something that is not positive for the behavior.

Moreover, the second concept of operant condition is a punishment; Cherry (2014), “Punishment, on the other hand, is the presentation of an adverse event or outcome that causes a decrease in the behavior it follows. There are two kinds of punishment,” positive punishment and negative punishment. Positive punishment is when an unfriendly effect is used to weaken a response and negative punishment happen when something is removed from a positive event or result exists. Operant conditioning can be used with children the most and young teens this school of psychology till this day is used to mold behavior.

In continuation, we will discuss what Gestalt psychology and psychoanalysis is. The Gestalt psychology of school has to do with looking at things as one whole instead on individually. Psychoanalysis school of thought was first brought up by, Sigmund Freud. This school of thought is a set of both psychological and psychotherapeutic theories. Psychoanalysis consists of seven terms, which are the case study, the conscious, defense mechanism, ego, Id, super ego, and the unconscious.

Its subject matter is psychopathology, or abnormal behavior, relatively neglected by other schools of thought. (Schultz & Schultz, 2012,) “Its primary method is clinical observation rather than controlled laboratory experimentation. In addition, psychoanalysis deals with the unconscious, a topic virtually ignored by other systems of thought. ” Psychoanalysis has opened a new door to mental illness and when talking to a professional about issues or problems, helps take away certain symptoms of any psychological desolation.

If 10 years from now have passed by, the school of thought, I will consider behaviorism as my school of thought. The reason for this choice is because my emphasis is child development and children always tend to have behavioral issues and I would like to help them mold their behaviors into positive behavior. Reinforcement and punishment can always be used to mold a child even a teen, just knowing that moving certain behaviors and enforcing them with positive reinforcement will change a child’s behavior.

In conclusion, as far as all the schools of thought they have all had their meaning in helping in today’s psychology from working with children to elderly people. The Five Schools of Thought such as Behaviorism, Psychoanalysis, Functionalism, Structuralism and Gestalts psychology will always be used in the psychology field each and every one of the schools has demonstrated techniques that are effective with people.

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