Foundations of Psychology: Science of Mind and Behavior

The greatest minds of all times tried to understand human behavior. One of the main means of understanding this aspect is the consideration of the human behavior. The variety of approaches to human mind via the reflections in their behavior impresses. The inability of any of the representatives of psychological idea to find out the answer about the work of human mind has created the background for developing several directions in the sphere. Each of the directions is sure that the tendency they support is the correct one. The creation of a number of schools of thought in psychology helps distinguish hose tendencies and understand their central assumptions. Having consider the major schools of thought in psychology and the primary biological foundations of psychology linked to behavior, one may create personal point of view about psychology and its development.

Structuralism, functionalism, behaviorism, gestalt, biological, cognitive, humanistic, psychodynamic, evolutionary, and socio-cultural schools of thought are considered to be the major ones (Sharpsteen, & Patrick, 2005). Structuralism and functionalism are the earliest schools of thought. Structuralism is based on the mind research. Being its strongest aspect, it becomes the weakest one as the representatives of this stream ignored behavior as one of the main aspects of psychology. Functionalism paid more attention to behavior, trying to understand what the mind performs and why it does it (Kowalski, & Westen, 2011). The representatives of functionalism did not reject structuralism, they just wanted to pay more attention to behavior. Being the first and the major schools of thoughts in psychology, structuralism and functionalism are considered as the basis for the creation of other schools which took the direction on concrete studies. Behaviorism direction is sure that mind does not exist and behavior is based on stimuli (environment) as the reaction to the events.

Gestalt psychology is directed at the organizational processes in behavior rather on the very content of behavior trying to prove the fact that psychology consists of the elements. Biological school of thought makes sure that the behavior depends on the changes in the human organism and environment. Brain and behavior are interconnected as well. Cognitive belief is based on the consideration “the process of thinking and memory, as well as attention, imagery, creativity, problem solving, and language use” (Sharpsteen, & Patrick, 2005, p. 9). Humanistic approach is focused on the idea that human behavior is a result of subjective perception of the reality. Psychodynamic school is represented by the theories of Sigmund Freud. Unconsciousness thoughts and perceptions are the main aspects of this theory. Evolutionary theory is based on the human ability to adapt to the new changing environment. Finally, the tenth school of thought in psychology is socio-cultural one. This theory is based on the relationships between people and it is guided by the ways how people influence each other in society (Sharpsteen, & Patrick, 2005).

Evolution, genetics, and the brain are the primary biological foundations of psychology linked to behavior. Evolution is one of the main aspects of human life which has affected everything on the Earth. Different species had to submit to the situations and to change. All the biological processes in the world are completed under the supervision of the evolution. Genetics is another foundation of psychology linked to behavior as depending on the peculiarities of the species, the behavior differs. Many particular behavioral features are inherent to people from their birth and help them adapt to the surrounding environment. The brain is the last inevitable component of primary biological foundation of psychology linked to behavior. People are unable to act without brain, all the thoughts and actions come through human brain. All the reactions, even the fastest ones do not occur without brain activity. Therefore, evolution, genetics and brain are the main components of the psychological behavior (Passer, & Smith, 2004). Commenting on the major schools of psychological thought, it may be said that only those who consider behavior as the result of evolution, genetic peculiarities and brain activity may deserve attention as the ideas of those schools are the closest to solving the problem of human behavior.

Therefore, the basic ideas of psychology have been discussed. Ten major theories and their assumptions are helpful in understanding the directions of studies conducted in the sphere. Depending on the considerations, different scholars support one specific school trying to prove that the ideas and assumptions of this very school are the only correct. Ten specific schools of thoughts in psychology are derived depending on the vision of the surrounding world, human behavior and connections between brain, actions and ideas. Trying to consider primary biological foundations of psychology linked to behavior, we managed to conclude that evolution, genetics, and the brain are the main aspects which affect human behavior. Studying human behavior and trying to understand the affects which are inevitable in the process and the actions which may influence human behavior, it is important to reconsider all the theories and try to develop the one which may cover the problem from different perspectives. The major schools cover many ideas, however, none of them is the whole.

Reference List

Kowalski, R., & Westen, D. (2011). Psychology (6th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Passer, M. W., & Smith, R. E. (2004). Psychology: The Science of Mind and Behavior. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Sharpsteen, D. J., & Patrick, T. G. (2005). AP Psychology 7th Edition (Rea) – The Best Test Prep for the AP Exam. New York: Research & Education Assoc.