PSYCHOLOGY THE SCIENCE OF THE MIND AND HUMAN BEHAVIOR Psychological Methods – Final Project Psychology is the scientific approach to analyzing the mind and the cause for human behavior (Schacter, Gilbert, Wegner, 2007).
Like many other forms of science, it is based on research that is conducted to solve a problem. Many times these discoveries are achieved through the use of theories and the methods used to test them. Generally research initiates with a problem that requires a specific method or approach to resolving the problem at hand.One approach to studying human behavior is the naturalistic approach. This approach can be used to examine the relationship between alcohol and violence. Naturalistic observation method allows a researcher to gather the information necessary without interfering or manipulating the data being collected (Schacter, Gilbert, Wegner, 2007). The advantages of using the naturalistic method is that it allows the researcher to view the use of alcohol in a normal setting such as bars, restaurants and other places where alcohol is typically consumed.
Another benefit to using this approach is that it also allows room for additional ideas that help to further the study and lead to possible breakthroughs. However there are some limits to using this method of study due its typical gathering of information which seeks to find a connection to alcohol and violence through the compilation of statistical data which may not necessarily result in the true cause of violence. There are other shortcomings to this method such as the lack of control on any t variables involved in the study.This type of observation can also be time consuming and expensive to conduct. Ethical concerns’ surrounding this study is also something a researcher will need to remain aware of, because the naturalistic method is a form of unobtrusive study a participant may not have given the consent to participate in the study. The variables of the study cannot be manipulated which in this case could lead to someone being harmed. The study of psychology often involves studying effects of positive and negative reinforcement in a particular situation to determine the factors involved in a persons behavior.
The difference between positive and negative reinforcement is that negative behaviors are reprimanded and is typically conditioned to be discontinued because they always lead to consequences. On the other hand positive reinforcement is a behavior that is encouraged to continue and is rewarded and followed by praise. An example of how positive and negative reinforcement is used would be to present my personal experience of academic underachievement as a child. Because of my inability to achieve the honor roll like my cousins did, I was always told that I would not amount to anything by my father and grandmother.The honor roll would soon become an unconditioned stimulus. I struggled in other areas of my development I became socially withdrawn which made it hard for me to adapt to what others would call normal social interaction. This type of negative reinforcement created a sense of fear and self esteem issues that lead me to believe I was a failure which became the conditioned stimulus. Had the approach to motivating me or helping me achieve the honor roll been more of a positive reinforcement like buying educational games or spending more time with me helping with my homework used as an unconditioned stimulus.
This could have resulted in a significant improvement in my grades leading to achieving the honor roll which would have been the conditioned stimulus. In this case the negative reinforcement I was exposed to eventually led to low self esteem and an emotional breakdown which was the conditioned stimulus. Personally when I look at how far I have come and I analyze how this experience has shaped my life, I would say that my childhood experiences and emotional breakdown that I suffered made me the strong determined woman I am today.
In psychology there are many schools of thought that have all collaborated in some way to from what we know today as psychology. Two schools of thoughts that really intrigued me was Behaviorism and Cognitive psychology. It was very fascinating to take a scientific approach to understanding things that humans do naturally on a daily basis.
The behaviorism thought is basically surrounded around reinforcement which establishes consequences of a behavior that determine whether it will be more likely that a behavior will occur again (Schacter, Gilbert, Wegner2007).What was once understood to be a natural response to knowing right from wrong is now seen as a learned behavior. Through positive and negative reinforcement a person is taught right from wrong because humans are not born with that natural ability to distinguish this.
Another school of that was interesting was the study of the mental process including perception, thought, memory and reasoning (Schacter, Gilbert, Wegner 2007). This school of thought led to a few breakthroughs in psychology, which for some period of time many problems of the mind were not acknowledged or dismissed by earlier psychologist.This school of the believed that the cause of many of the mental illnesses fell under understanding the mental process, neuroscience later came from this same school of thought that has led even greater discoveries of the brain. With the exposure obtained from this course psychology has opened my eyes to viewing a person’s behavior and illnesses in a different light to which I am able to appreciate it. Because of these schools of thought were able to identify and treat many of the psychological disorders that are prevalent in our society today.One of the most common today is anxiety disorders which are usually identified by some of the following symptoms such as constant or exaggerated state of worry, constant panic attacks that are not triggered by anything specific and being unable to concentrate or even a form of depression. Because I personally believe that medicine today is over prescribed the first approach to treating the patient would be through teaching the patient to use relaxation techniques such as breathing or outdoor activities that helps to stimulate and distract the patient from worrying.I would also suggest counseling being that the underlying problem could also stem from bottled emotions and problems that have not been dealt with.
If the was case was to be extreme in the sense that the naturalistic approach did not treat the patient effectively then medication would the third alternative to treating the patient. References Psychology (2007) Schacter, Gilbert, Wegner Worth Publishers