Perspectives in Psychology

7 Key Perspectives in Psychology You Need to Know

Psychology is the study of how people think and behave. Many psychologists have tried to explain why people act the way they do. Because of this, different ideas and perspectives in psychology have developed.

From Aristotle’s time to now, no single way of looking at the mind and behavior has been proven to be the best. Today, the views of early psychologists have mixed together so much that they are no longer seen as separate ways of thinking.

The main 7 perspectives in psychology that have developed are:

  1. Cognitive: How we think and understand.
  2. Behavioral: How we learn and behave.
  3. Psychodynamic: How our unconscious mind influences us.
  4. Humanistic: How we can grow and improve ourselves.
  5. Biological: How our brain and body affect our mind.
  6. Evolutionary: How evolution influences our behavior and mind.
  7. Socio-cultural: How society and culture shape us.

Perspectives in Psychology

Perspectives in psychology are different ways to look at and understand how people think and act. These perspectives help psychologists study and explain why people behave the way they do. Here are the main perspectives in psychology:

  1. Biological Perspective: This looks at how our genes, hormones, and brain affect our behavior and thoughts. It focuses on the role of biology in shaping who we are.
  2. Cognitive Perspective: This examines how we think, remember, and solve problems. It studies mental processes like attention, memory, language, and decision-making, showing how our thoughts shape our behavior.
  3. Behavioral Perspective: This focuses on observable behaviors and how the environment influences them. It looks at how we learn through rewards, punishments, and conditioning.
  4. Psychodynamic Perspective: Invented by Sigmund Freud, this perspective highlights the role of unconscious conflicts and early childhood experiences in shaping behavior and personality. It explores how our past influences our present behavior.
  5. Humanistic Perspective: This perspective emphasizes the good in people and their potential for growth. It focuses on personal experiences, free will, and self-actualization—the process of becoming the best version of oneself.
  6. Social-Cultural Perspective: This looks at how social and cultural factors influence behavior and thoughts. It examines how cultural norms, societal expectations, and social interactions shape what we do and believe.
  7. Evolutionary Perspective: This perspective uses ideas from evolutionary biology to understand how behaviors and mental processes have evolved to help us survive and reproduce. It looks at how natural selection has shaped our behavior and thinking over time.
Perspectives in Psychology

1. Cognitive Perspective

The cognitive perspective is a big deal in psychology. It’s all about how our brains handle information – like how we think, remember stuff, and see the world around us.

This idea came about in the 1960s. Some smart guys like George Miller, Jerome Bruner, and Ulrich Neisser started it.

Cognition is just a fancy word for thinking. It’s about how we:

  • Get information
  • Process it
  • Store it in our brains
  • Remember it later
  • Use it to make decisions

Here’s an example: Let’s say someone stops you on the road. Your brain quickly thinks:

  • What do they want?
  • Is it safe?
  • Should I help?

If you think they need help with their car, you might remember a time when someone helped you. So, you might decide to stop and help too.

But if you think they might be dangerous, or if you remember a bad experience, you’d probably drive on by.

This shows how our thoughts guide our actions. The cognitive perspective says that how we think about stuff is super important in deciding what we do.

So, in short: Our thoughts → Our actions. That’s the main idea of the cognitive perspective.

2. Behavioral Perspective

The behavioral perspective is another big idea in psychology. It’s all about what we can see people do, not what’s going on in their heads.

This view says that:

  • We should focus on actions we can see
  • Learning is super important in shaping how we act
  • We shouldn’t worry about stuff like thoughts because we can’t see them

A guy named J.B. Watson started this idea. He got inspired by another scientist, Ivan Pavlov, who did experiments with dogs.

Watson thought we could understand people just by watching what they do. He didn’t think we needed to study what’s going on inside their minds. He first tried this with animals, then with people.

Later, another important psychologist named B.F. Skinner took these ideas further. Skinner kept things simple:

  • He looked at behavior to treat problems
  • He figured out how to change how animals act
  • His ideas are still used today to train animals like dolphins and seals in circuses and zoos

So, the behavioral perspective is all about:

  1. Watching what people (or animals) do
  2. Understanding how they learn new behaviors
  3. Not worrying about what they’re thinking

It’s like being a detective who only looks at the clues you can see, not trying to guess what’s in someone’s head.

3. Psychodynamic Perspective

Sigmund Freud came up with a way to understand why people sometimes act weird. He called it the psychodynamic perspective. Here are the details:

Freud thought that a lot of our problems come from stuff in our minds that we don’t even know is there. He called this the unconscious. He believed two main things were hiding in there:

  1. Sexual feelings
  2. Angry or aggressive feelings

Even though we don’t know these feelings are there, Freud said they still affect how we act. It’s kind of like having a backseat driver in your brain that you can’t see or hear, but they’re still telling you where to go.

Freud thought these hidden feelings show up in sneaky ways, like:

  • In our dreams
  • When we say something by mistake (like calling your teacher “Mom”)
  • When we have mental health problems

Freud also thought that stuff that happened when we were little kids is super important. He said these early experiences shape who we become as grown-ups.

The cool thing about Freud’s idea is that it can help people with mental health issues. By bringing those hidden feelings out into the open, people can start to deal with them and feel better.

4. Humanistic Perspective

The humanistic perspective in psychology is all about what makes people tick and how to help them be their best selves. It’s like the cheerleader of psychology – always rooting for people to grow and be happy.

This idea came about in the 1950s and 1960s, thanks to some smart folks like Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers, and Viktor Frankl. They looked at people differently than other psychologists did.

Here’s what they believed:

  1. Everyone is unique: We all see the world in our own special way.
  2. We have free will: We can make our own choices and control our lives.
  3. We want to grow: Deep down, everyone wants to become the best version of themselves.
  4. We can take charge: People have the power to make their lives better.

The humanistic view is kind of like the odd one out in psychology. It’s not as scientific as other perspectives because it deals with big ideas about life that are hard to measure. It’s more about understanding people’s feelings and experiences than running experiments.

So, while other psychologists might be in labs with clipboards, humanistic psychologists are more likely to be sitting down and really listening to people, trying to understand their unique stories and helping them reach their full potential.

In short, the humanistic perspective is all about believing in people and helping them believe in themselves!

5. Physiological or Biological Perspective

The biological perspective in psychology is all about how our bodies affect the way we think and act. It’s like looking at the “hardware” of our brain and body to understand why we do what we do. Here’s the scoop:

  1. Body and Brain Connection: These psychologists think every behavior we have is linked to something happening in our body. It’s like our body and brain are always talking to each other.
  2. Nerves and Behavior: They’re super interested in how our brain cells (neurons) work together when we do things like to feel emotions, solve problems or talk.
  3. Genes Matter: Lately, they’ve been looking at how the genes we get from our parents affect our personality and abilities. It’s like trying to figure out if you’re good at math because of your genes or because of how you grew up.
  4. The brain is Always Busy: A guy named Karl Lashley found out that our brain is always active and constantly interacting with what’s around us. He also said there are three main reasons we forget stuff:
    • We get tired
    • We lose motivation
    • We just have trouble remembering
  5. Nature vs. Nurture: These scientists are trying to figure out how much of who we are comes from our genes (nature) and how much comes from our environment (nurture).

In simple terms, the biological perspective is like being a detective who looks for clues about behavior inside our bodies and brains. They use cool tools to see how our brain works and try to understand why we act the way we do based on our body’s processes.CopyRe

6. Evolutionary Perspective

The evolutionary perspective in psychology explains how natural selection shapes traits that help genes continue. It looks at how evolution influences behavior and how that behavior helps us adapt to the environment.

This perspective is based on the work of Charles Darwin, who introduced the theory of evolution around 150 years ago. The evolutionary perspective focuses on how our body and behavior help us adjust to our surroundings.

Darwin’s theory of evolution includes three main ideas: variation, inheritance, and selection.

  1. Variation means that organisms of the same species differ in many ways. Every person is unique in shape, size, intelligence, personality, health, and more.
  2. Inheritance means that some of these differences can be passed down from one generation to the next.
  3. Selection refers to how certain behaviors and traits help organisms adapt best to their environment, which helps them survive and reproduce.

7. Socio-Cultural Perspective

The socio-cultural perspective in psychology is all about how where we grow up and who we grow up with shapes who we are. It’s like looking at people through the lens of their culture and society. Here’s the deal:

  1. Different Places, Different Ways: This view looks at how people think and act differently depending on where they’re from. It’s like comparing how kids in New York might act versus kids in a small town in Texas, or even in a different country.
  2. Life Story: It looks at how we change from when we’re babies all the way to when we’re old. It’s like watching a movie of someone’s whole life.
  3. What Shapes Us: This perspective says a bunch of things make us who we are:
    • Our culture (like American, Chinese, Mexican, etc.)
    • Our ethnicity
    • Whether we’re a boy or a girl
    • What religion we follow (if any)
    • And other big social stuff
  4. We’re All Connected: It looks at how people influence each other. Like how your friends might change the way you dress or talk.
  5. Give and Take: This view says we’re always affecting each other. It’s like a big web where everything we do can impact someone else, and their actions can impact us, too.

The socio-cultural perspective is like saying, “Tell me who your friends are, what your family is like, and where you grew up, and I’ll tell you a lot about who you are.” It’s all about understanding how our surroundings and the people in our lives help make us who we are.


These 7 perspectives in psychology help us understand different human behaviors, needs, styles, evolution, and more. By studying one or two of these perspectives, we can better understand why people act the way they do.

These perspectives are useful for scholars, researchers, psychologists, and students to interpret various human problems.

However, these 7 perspectives are not the only ones in psychology. Scientists are always researching new viewpoints, and in the future, there may be many more perspectives that help us understand human nature even better.


What are the 7 main perspectives in psychology?

The 7 main perspectives in psychology are:
Biological perspective
Cognitive perspective
Behavioral perspective
Psychodynamic perspective
Humanistic perspective
Social-Cultural perspective
Evolutionary perspective

What is the perspective of psychology?

The perspective of psychology refers to a particular approach or framework used to study and understand human behavior, mental processes, and the mind. Each perspective offers a unique viewpoint and set of assumptions about how psychological phenomena should be studied and interpreted.

What are the 5 major perspectives in psychology?

The 5 major perspectives in psychology are:
Biological perspective
Cognitive perspective
Behavioral perspective
Psychodynamic perspective
Humanistic perspective

What are the 8 contemporary perspectives in psychology?

Contemporary perspectives in psychology can vary depending on the source or context, but here are 8 commonly recognized ones:
Biological perspective
Cognitive perspective
Behavioral perspective
Psychodynamic perspective
Humanistic perspective
Social-Cultural perspective
Evolutionary perspective
Positive psychology perspective

What is called perspective?

In psychology, a perspective is a particular viewpoint or approach used to understand and explain human behavior, mental processes, and psychological phenomena.

What is the concept of perspective?

The concept of perspective directs to a particular way of considering or understanding something. In psychology, perspectives provide frameworks or lenses through which psychologists analyze and interpret human behavior and mental processes.

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