Discipline-Based Literature Review
Thefive perspectives of psychology consisting of the trait, behavioural,social, humanistic, and psychodynamic approaches are applicable inmost of the day-to-day practices of a psychologist, and in theresearch processes. The perspectives offer the approaches that thepsychologist use in the assessment of human character and conditionspresented in different circumstances. Authors and researchers ofpsychology apply different models when trying to explain certainoccurrences. Such models include spiritual, biological andneuropsychological, moral character, the general model, and thesociological model. The spiritual model bases on the assumption thathuman consciousness is profoundly connected to a supernatural forceand that such affects the behaviour of an individual. The model ofmoral character indicates that people’s behaviour is highlyinfluenced by the pursuit of virtues placed by the society, and thatfailure to attain such leads to negative traits. The third model isbased on the biological and neuropsychological systems, whichsuggests that the behaviour depicted by different people isinfluenced by the functionality of their neurological systems (Appel& Dohee, 2010). The five perspectives are an important faction ofpsychological analyses. The five schools of thought are similar inthe sense that they all focus on the study of human behaviour. Toachieve this purpose, scholars in these schools of thought developtheir own approaches to explaining the occurrence of particularbehaviour or condition in the life of humans.
Thehumanistic perspective of personality focuses on an individual as awhole. The psychologists who use this point of view look at humanbehaviour based on the individual who is doing the acting rather thanthe eyes of the observer. This perspective is relatively new and isknown to be applied by theorists such as Maslow, George Kelly, andCarl Rogers in their study of human personality. Humanisticpsychologists believe that people are inherently good and that theyare motivated to achieve their full potential. Rogers and Maslow, forexample, maintained that people are always focused on attaining thestate of self-actualization.
Hayes(2012) suggests that the humanistic approach differs greatly with thebehavioural approach. He suggests that the humanistic theoristsconsidered the behavioural perspective to be more mechanistic,whereas humanism is more contextualistic and holistic. Hayes’ pieceon HumanisticPsychology and Contextual Behavioural Perspectivesshares that behaviourism paid much attention to a passive organism asit struggles to respond to external contingencies, in particularthrough the use of animals as models for study. Humanistic approachon his view was very different from the non-human methods in manyways, and especially in the area of cognition. The humanisticapproach emphasised on the existential and interpersonal themes. Suchtopics include spirituality, values, choices, self-acceptance,meaning, and self-actualization.
Thehumanistic approach also has some influence on some of the otherpersonality approaches. Hayes (2012) suggests that humanisticpsychology is used as a base for testing and developing methods usedin cognitive behavioural therapy. Such indicates an interlinkagebetween the humanistic perspective and the other personalityperspectives. The article goes ahead to state that different forms ofacceptance, value-based methods, and mindfulness have resulted fromthe cognitive behavioural therapy, and are embraced in humanisticpsychology. Such include the Acceptance and Commitment Therapy,Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy, and the Dialectical BehaviorTherapy, among others as presented by Hayes (2012). Hayes uses thespirituality model to present his work on the core beliefs of boththe humanistic and behavioural psychologists. He acknowledges thatboth qualitative and quantitative methods can be applied in theresearch based on humanistic approach. The humanistic approach can beused in the assessment of coherent personality syndrome.
Thepsychodynamic perspective was greatly associated with Sigmund Freud.Freud’s theory of psychoanalysis led to the generation of commonlyused terms such as denial, subconscious, personality, and repressionamong others. Psychoanalysis is founded on the belief that the eventsthat a person goes through during the early stages of life have somesignificant contribution to their life as adults. The perspectivealso shares that a person’s behaviour is controlled by anunconscious mind.
Themethods used in the assessment of the psychoanalytical perspectivesinclude dream analysis, slips of the tongue, and the freeassociation. Such were effective in the measurement of the actionsthat are undertaken with the application of the unconscious mind.Appel & Dohee (2010) suggest that the concept of ego as presentedin the psychodynamic perspective is the most visible aspect ofindividuals. Such is highly supported by Freud who presents that aperson’s personality is like an iceberg where only a small portionis visible, but the rest occurs in a subconscious state. Thisperspective is highly applicable to the analysis and determination ofdevelopmental disorders. It helps in explaining the association of anindividual’s character as an adult and the roles that his childhoodevents played in effecting such personality. The perspective has alsobeen employed in the explanation of the occurrence of hysteria, andsuch has been associated with traumatic incidents in the early lifeof an individual. Appel & Dohee (2010) present a study on thecomparison of ego as a concept of the psychodynamic perspective withthe neurological effect on a person’s personality.
Theperspective is highly associated with the general model. Thissupposes that an individual grows along a course and tends to adaptto the environment in which he or she is exposed. The model indicatesthat failure to learn some of the most crucial traits during growthleads to the development of short-term solutions that result inmaladaptive consequences. The main weakness of the psychodynamicperspective is the fact that it emphasises the importance ofsexuality, and fails to put the required attention on the role ofsocial relationships.
Behaviourismfocuses on the role that the environment plays on a person or ananimal. This approach suggests that the environment has a significantinfluence on the character of individuals. The widespread applicationof the perspective was on classical conditioning where the dog waslearning through association. The major contributors to the use ofbehaviourism are Pavlov who developed the theory of classicalconditioning and Skinner who came up with operant conditioning.
Behaviourismbelieves in the implementation of scientific methods as ways ofmeasuring observable behaviour. It rejects the notion thatindividuals have a free will and insists that the environment decideson the conduct of both humans and animals. Wong, Harvey, &Luiselli (2009) suggest that applied behaviour analysis was notbrought about by clinical psychology, but from the experimentallaboratories. They show that applied behaviour analysis depends onthe measurement of observable behaviour. This is also one of the mostpopular procedures used in the behaviourism perspective ofpersonality. It entails different assessment tools such as thefunctional behaviour assessment (FBA) tool, which employs the use ofquestionnaires, checklists, observable data, and interviews toexplore the suppositions on the aspects that foresee and maintainbehaviour.
Wong,Harvey, & Luiselli (2009) suggest that through applied behaviouranalysis, behaviourism can be used in the study of mental healthdisorders and developmental incapacities. They indicate that theresearch on applied behaviour analysis is expansive and ever-growing.The article suggests that current research is aimed at integratingbehaviourism with the other personality perspectives. Although theperspective is highly applicable to some of the behaviours andconditions in humans, it is weak in the sense that it belittles thecomplexity of human conduct. The perspective has also been criticisedusing the fact that most of the studies on which it is founded werebased on animals. Theorists suggest that animals are quite differentfrom humans, and therefore, behavioural perspective cannot accountfor the process in which people learn some characters such aslanguage.
Thetrait approach to personality perspective focuses primarily on themeasurement of traits. The trait theorists suggest that the habitualpatterns of behaviour range between different people and have asignificant influence on the general behaviour of the individual.Traits differ from states, which are considered as being moretransitory dispositions, hence vary over time and become inefficientin characterising one’s personality. The study of traits issubstantially linked with Gordon Allport who described the cardinaltraits like those that determine the behaviour of a person. Differenttheories exist within this personality perspective, and such includethe System of Needs by Henry Murray, Structure of Intellect byGuilford, and Interpersonal Circumplex by Timothy Leary.
Thetrait perspective of psychology applies different approaches. Themost popular include the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (EPQ) andthe Big Five personality traits. The EPQ is a three-factor model,which proposes that personality is reducible to neuroticism,psychotism, and extraversion as the main traits possessed by people.The Big Five, also referred to as the five-factor model supposes thatfive factors are satisfactory in the representation of humancharacters. Such features include openness to experience,extraversion, conscientiousness, agreeableness, and neuroticism.Self-report questionnaires are used in the two approaches for theassessment of personality based on the answers generated. Cohen,Ornoy, & Keren (2013) employ the trait perspective in their studyon personality types and their influence on the success of projectmanagers. The researchers based their work on Myers-Briggspersonality inventory. Through their work, it is evident that thetrait theory can be applied in the determination of the relationshipbetween the performance of different individuals and theirpersonality. The perspective is useful in giving the complexity ofhuman behaviour, and the application of the two approaches ensuresthat the results are valid and reliable. Its weakness, however, liesin the differences that exist between the two approaches.
Thesocial perspective, also referred to as the social psychology,focuses on the understanding of human behaviour in a social context.The view is highly associated with Baron, Byrne, and Suls who wereresponsible for its definition. In this regard, human behaviour isperceived to be influenced by other individuals and the socialcontext in which it occurs. Schomerus et al. (2012) employ the socialperspective in the study of the prevalence of mental disorder. Theyfocus their research on help-seeking among depressive individuals andsuggest that in such a case, the behavioural model acts as acomprehensive theoretical framework for the study. In the model, thesturdiest analyst of service use is the apparent and assessed need.The model is, however, weak in the sense that need is not the onlybasis for mental health care seeking.
Thefive personality perspectives are useful in the development ofassumptions about the character of human beings. Each of theperspectives has its own application in the field of psychology andbrings a different thing in the field hence the importance of each.As developed in the trait perspective, human behaviour is complex andcalls for the use of various perspectives in understanding it.Behavioural perspective alone, for example, fails to focus on thecomplex structure of human behaviour but acts as an important toolfor the understanding of how behaviour can be learned. The fiveapproaches are therefore applied comprehensively in research for theunderstanding of different human expressions.
Appel,J., & Dohee, K. A. (2010). The Multipath Approach to Personality:Towards a Unified Model of Self. ScientificResearch,1,273-281. doi:10.4236/psych.2010.14036
Baumeister,S., Schomerus, G., & Anderson, R. (2013). Personality-relatedfactors as the predictors of the help-seeking for depression: Apopulation-based study applying the Behavioural Model of HealthServices Use. DasGesundheitswesen,75(08/09).doi:10.1055/s-0033-1354236
Cohen,Y., Ornoy, H., & Keren, B. (2013). MBTI Personality Types ofProject Managers and Their Success: A Field Survey. ProjectManagement Journal,44(3),78-87. doi:10.1002/pmj.21338
Harvey,M. T., Luiselli, K., & Wong, S. E. (2009). The application of theapplied behaviour analysis to the mental health issues. PsychologicalServices,6(3),212-222. doi:10.1037/a0016495
Hayes,S. (2012). Humanistic Psychology and Contextual BehaviouralPerspectives. AmericanPsychological Association,49(4),455-460. doi:10.1037/a0027396
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