Six Major Psychological Theories: Strengths and Weaknesses Term Paper


A psychological principle is a laid down examine backed by analysis that tries to clarify sure behaviors and human thought. The a lot that’s identified about human methods of pondering and behaviors will be attributed to psychological theories. Some of the extensively accepted psychological theories are the behavioral theories, the cognitive theories, humanist theories, organic theories, psychodynamic and the social psychology theories. In this examine, these theories might be regarded with regard to their applicability in life conditions and their validity in partaking the assorted challenges that come up within the completely different life conditions.

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Behavioral Theories

The central concept backing behavioral psychological theories is that human conduct comes due to the stimuli each intrinsic and from our surroundings. According to Kowalski and Western (2005), it’s by way of behavioral theories that we be taught such features as how we purchase new behaviors whether or not by way of the impact that the setting has on us (p.6) and what triggers our behavioral change or selection to stay the identical. Behavioral psychology is taken into account a descendant of the animal psychology, which argues that the setting has a variety of affect within the modifications that happen in human beings. This principle borrows quite a bit from the Darwinian view that the setting passes for a key think about shaping the evolution of man from natural life. One of the main research that again the validity of the behavioral theories is the classical conditioning examine carried out by Ivan Pavlov a Russian psychologist. In his experiment, Pavlov used to current meat powder to canines that had a number of tubes inserted in numerous physique components to measure their response. (Van der veer & Valsiner, 1991, p.13) Worth noting is the vast utility of the theories, each within the trendy and household conditions.


As the idea unfolds, environment decide human conduct largely. People reply otherwise in response to the stimuli uncovered to them. Behavioral psychology will be utilized in a career corresponding to nursing in instances the place the situation or the conduct portrayed by a affected person will be linked to a direct or oblique stimulus. According to Kowalski (2005), an individual may purchase a sure conduct due to one thing that’s occurring within the household (p.34). For occasion, a toddler may develop a destructive conduct due to the circumstances uncovered to him/her within the household arrange. This will be conditions such because the divorce of fogeys or the one skilled by kids raised by a single mother or father. However, inasmuch as the idea stands out within the society, it too bears some weaknesses.

Weaknesses of Behavioral Psychology

The sole cause as to why behaviorism’s affect has declined is because of its emphasis that one can clarify conduct in isolation of different non-behavioral or cognitive parts. Its use of the laboratory to clarify the behaviors of human beings is topic to debate for its perceived indifference in direction of the power of the human thoughts and different key environmental contingences. The relationship between physique anatomy and the exterior setting comes within the organic principle.

Biological Theories

This principle examines the connection that exists between inner physique techniques and exterior elements and the way they have an effect on human conduct. This incorporates the research carried out to determine the functioning of human techniques with an in depth consideration put to the psychological and emotional states (Wickens, 2005, p.23). Although scientists conduct many of the experiments aimed toward validating this principle on animals, they join the findings to the human nature since comparable physique organs are function the identical when uncovered to comparable circumstances. Kozulin, (1990) argues that organic psychology goals at learning the consequences of the nervous system to the inner and exterior stimulus (p.87). This principle will be held legitimate owing to the truth that neurological surgical procedures have been administered on sufferers to curb psychiatric circumstances. The principle too is way relevant in life as elaborated subsequent.


Biological psychology will be utilized in a lot of professions, which embody the final area of medication. There are a lot of issues defined by way of this principle. These circumstances embody among the widespread psychological issues corresponding to schizophrenia, melancholy, and nervousness issues (Reiss, 2000, p.54). These complexities will be due to the publicity to sure circumstances within the society. For occasion, within the household such conditions as the shortage of correct childcare can result in the emergence of circumstances corresponding to melancholy.


This principle ignores the potential for environmental elements having any affect to human conduct, emotions and ideas. Through this, one can declare the idea a reductionist in that it ignores the probabilities posed by different theories about human conduct.

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Cognitive Theory/Cognitive Behavioral

This principle tends to clarify human conduct by way of contemplating and eager understanding of the thought processes. This contains the power of notion, pondering, talking and downside fixing. This principle is completely different from others by the truth that it appears to simply accept the usage of scientific strategies for its validation reasonably than introspective ones. The principle additionally acknowledges the potential for the existence of inner psychological frames corresponding to perception, motivation and need (Klimek, 1979, p.33). To react towards the largest criticism that it confronted, cognitive neuroscience confirmed proof of physiological states of the thoughts having a direct hyperlink with sure psychological states. The proponents of this principle makes use of phrases that have a tendency to match the operations of the human thoughts with laptop operations. According to Newman and Holtzman (1993), phrases corresponding to info processing, as employed, describe the psychological operations (p.5). Over the final couple of many years, the cognitive principle has been shifting from its stand of opposing behaviorism in direction of an effort to mix the 2 and provide you with cognitive-behavioral principle.


Cognitive theories are utilized in a lot of professions using concepts drawn from each the behavioral and the pure cognitive colleges of thought. The social cognitive principle is employed in features corresponding to commercial campaigns, conduct mannequin campaigns and peer training. In nursing, this principle is available in when dealing psychological circumstances corresponding to people who contain hallucinations. Lee and Smagorinsky (2000) argue that folks tend of drawing associations primarily based on beliefs that find yourself affecting their lives (para.5). For occasion, within the case of a woman baby beneath the care of the daddy, the daddy must arm himself with a lot of these theories to have the ability to battle sure phobias that the woman may develop when younger.


This principle lacks a robust analysis backing, which makes it to are inclined to combine different arguments and concepts envisioned in different theories. It faces a variety of criticism in that it fails to handle the actual points behind a character matter. Through this, the neo-Freudians considers it as solely a brief measure.

Humanistic Theories

The cause behind the title has attracted debate from scientist. Harnish and Wolkholtz (2001) contest that these theories are named so as a result of recognition of the worth of goodness in regard to humanity and the respect that’s accorded to it (p.45). These theories declare that present figuring out forces current in each the unconscious thoughts and the setting affect an individual’s thoughts strongly. This principle emphasizes on the rule of the self-determination by way of the liberty of selection. This provides the particular person the liberty to decide on their very own conduct reasonably than counting on environmental contingences and exterior stimulus to do that for you. It is rooted in existential psychology, which emphasizes the necessity of accepting one’s existence and duties in life. Issues to do with human wants, vanity, and self-fulfillment are available as core all aimed toward guaranteeing growth of the self. Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers are the 2 major proponents of those theories. According to Fuller (2008), the idea is shaped on some premises: an individual’s current is crucial (p.67). The future or the previous should not thought of as crucial on this principle. What charges an individual as mentally wholesome is the power to reply of his/her actions whether or not good or unhealthy. Attaining self-actualization is the last word objective of residing and the definition of true happiness. Humanism appears to be a direct rivalry to cognitive psychology, which appears to make use of scientific strategies to the examine of the operations of the human thoughts.


Humanistic theories in psychology are relevant in virtually all disciplines within the modern society, as an illustration, within the household arrange, as it’s emphasised by this principle, one who’s vested with the accountability of caring for offering the fundamental wants of one other ought to accomplish that to reinforce the opposite’s self actualization. Disorders related to these theories contain these characterised by self-denial, which can result in dropping hope and one considering suicide (Green, 2000, p.37). The theories too have flaws.


This principle faces most of its criticism as a result of incapacity to supply specified approaches to deal with exact circumstances. Due to its core perception in free will, it proves fairly tough to discover a exact methodology of remedy primarily based on these theories. They can not create viable options to severe psychological circumstances corresponding to schizophrenia.

Psychodynamic theories

Psychodynamic theories draw their ideas from psychoanalysis. These seek advice from the main Freud’s concepts of psychosexual growth, free associations, and therapeutic strategies of interpretation. Freud’s research of how the motivation of the psychological processes happens laid the inspiration for your complete psychodynamic theories. Cacciopo (2002) claims that these theories content material that human conduct is greatest understood by way of getting a deeper inquiry into what motivates them by way of ideas and emotions (p.75). Freud’s the interpretation of desires gave the psychodynamic principle one other stage of being understood. This doesn’t essentially imply that he’s the primary particular person to have thought of the understanding of how desires work. Wertsch (1985) assert that what makes him stand out in that is in his interpretation he created a relationship between psychological processes and human conduct (p.6). He did this by way of the idea he launched known as dream censor, which work to cover the actual which means of desires. Freud contests that the which means of an individual’s desires will be revealed by way of the shut evaluation of the particular person’s general conduct.

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In Freud’s rationalization of how some ideas discover themselves within the unconscious, he makes use of the time period “repression”. Thoughts and emotions are repressed and forgotten on this manner. For occasion, when an individual seeks the assistance of a psychiatrist due to having misery in private relationships and discovers that he in all probability was abused as a toddler, this remembrance is taken into account therapeutic in Freud’s argument. This is as a result of this has been repressed within the unconscious.This can be utilized to create a connection that can be utilized in explaining the particular person’s present conduct and administering correct remedy (Freud, 1911). The theories are topic to criticism.


Psychodynamic theories have confronted fixed criticism due to seemingly having ideas which can be thought of obscure in that they can be utilized to clarify all the pieces however predict little. It can also be thought of very tough to confirm the arguments which can be thought of the fundamental tenets of those theories scientifically.

Psychosocial Theories

These theories emphasize the truth that character is intrinsically social and that there are vital problems with key concern that decide human relationships. These will be additional subdivided into two major classes, which embody the social cognition fashions in addition to the stage fashions. According to Sutton (2002), the time period social cognition is used to replicate to a gaggle of theories every of which takes into consideration a lot of beliefs and attitudes (p.14), which seemingly represent and decide the conduct of an individual. With the fashions, this principle has been verified utilizing a lot of fashions which don’t essentially deny the potential for different elements been a supply of affect to human conduct. These fashions embody the well being perception mannequin, the safety motivism principle, the self-efficacy principle, principle of reasoned motion and the idea of deliberate human conduct (Morris & Maisto, 1999, p.44). These theories are used to present explanations as to why it’s simple for some individuals to take care of their robust intentions on attaining a selected objective whereas others might discover it tough to take action. In conducting analysis on well being behaviors, this has been put into nice use to clarify to be taught beforehand shaped intentions on some issues.


According to Santrock (2008), these theories are inclined to neglect the potential for others being utilized in sure conditions (p.67). This is in such instances as its failure to embrace the arguments put ahead by way of theories corresponding to cognitive psychological theories.


However, most psychological theories are inclined to exist in isolation, it’s equally vital to acknowledge people who depend on their relationship on others to create which means in them. Most of the weaknesses which can be present in every are inclined to level at its view that it might probably exist by itself and with isolation from others. It is advisable that when making an attempt to clarify a psychological scenario, you take into accounts a lot of theories and correlate them to find the answer to a given downside.

Reference List

Cacciopo, J. (2002). Social Neuroscience: Understanding the Pieces Fosters Understanding the Whole and vice versa. New York: Word Press. Print.

Freud, S. (1911). The Interpretation of Dreams. Toronto: New York college press.

Fuller, C. (2008). Self-Actualization: Living Up to Your Full Potential. Web.

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Green, C. (2000). A Theory of Human Motivation. Classics within the History of Psychology. Web.

Harnish, J. Wockholtz, B. (2001). Humanistic Psychology Overview: Association for Humanistic Psychology. Web.

Klimek, D. (1979). Beneath Mate Selection and Marriage – the Unconscious Motives in Human Pairing. Van Nostrand: Reinhold Press.

Kowalski, R., & Western, D. (2005). Psychology. New Jersey: JohnWiley & Sons.

Kowalski, R. (2005). Human Psychological Behavior. New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons.

Kozulin, A. (1990). Vygotsky’s Psychology: A Biography of Ideas. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Lee, C., & Smagorinsky, P. (2000). Vygotskian Perspectives on Literacy Research: Constructing Meaning by way of Collaborative Inquiry. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Morris, C., & Maisto, A. (1999). Psychology: An Introduction. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

Newman, F. & Holtzman, L. (1993). Lev Vygotsky: Revolutionary scientist. London: Rutledge. Print.

Reiss, H. (2000). On the Shoulders of Siants: Obstetrics & Gynecology. Web.

Santrock, W. (2008). Life-Span Development. New York: McGraw Hill.

Sutton, S. (2002). Psychosocial theories: Applied psychology. New York: Cambridge UP.

Van der Veer, R., & Valsiner, J. (1991). Understanding Vygotsky. A Quest for Synthesis. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.

Wickens, A. (2005). Foundations of Biopsychology. Web.

Wertsch, J. (1985). The Social Formation of Mind. London: Harvard University Press.

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