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Introduction to Psychology

Introduction to Psychology ­PSY101
Lesson 7
The Humanistic Approach
Faced with a choice between psychoanalysis and behaviorism, many psychologists in the 1950s and 1960s
sensed a void in psychology's conception of human nature. Freud had drawn attention to the darker forces
of the unconscious, and Skinner was interested only in the effects of reinforcement on observable behavior.
Humanistic psychology emerged out of a desire to understand the conscious mind, free will, human dignity, and
the capacity for self-reflection and growth. An alternative to psychoanalysis and behaviorism, humanistic
psychology became known as "the third force."
It is the approach that focused on:
·  The idea that people are in control of their life.
·  The person or the self and personal growth and development are to be emphasized.
The humanistic approach includes a number of other theories with the same or similar orientation e.g.,
`existential' and `phenomenological' psychology.
Basic Assumptions of the Humanistic Approach
i. In order to understand behavior we must consider the subjective experience of the person.
ii. Neither past experience nor current circumstances constrain the behavior of the person.
Humanistic Vs Psychodynamic & behaviorist Approaches
Humanistic approach emphasizes the person, the psychodynamic stresses unconscious
determinants, and the behaviorists focus upon external determinants.
Humanistic approach is more optimistic than the other two in the sense that it believes in
the person's ability and will.
According to the humanistic thinkers, limiting ourselves to observable behavior and external stimuli
alone is ignoring the thinking-feeling person, and that is dehumanizing.
Free will: Humans possess the ability to make decisions about their life
Central Themes of Humanistic Approach
Human beings are capable of shaping their own destiny.
They can think and design their course of action and can follow it in the way they like.
People can overcome or minimize the environmental, and intrinsic influences
"Here and now" is important.
"Wholeness" or "completeness" of the personality is important rather than its separate,
disintegrated, structural parts.
Humanistic approach emphasizes:
·  Individual's freedom in directing his future
·  Capacity for personal growth
·  Intrinsic worth
·  Potential for self-fulfillment
Emergence of the Humanistic Approach
Emerged in reaction to the perceived limitations of psychodynamic theories, especially
psychoanalysis, as well as the staunch behaviorist way of understanding and interpreting behavior
Individuals like Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow strongly felt that the approaches prevalent at that
time could not adequately address issues like the meaning of behavior, and the nature of healthy
Introduction to Psychology ­PSY101
growth. The founders of humanistic psychology asserted that people need a value system----a system
of understanding, or frame of orientation----due to which life gets a meaning and purpose
Carl Rogers: (1902 ­ 1987)
Born in 1902 in Oak Park, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, he underwent a strict
upbringing as a child who later turned out to be rather isolated, independent, and self-
Initially went to the University of Wisconsin for Agriculture major but later became
interested in the study of religion. From there he switched on to the clinical psychology
program of Columbia University, and received his Ph.D. in 1931.
One of the founders of the humanistic approach, Rogers was one of the most influential
therapists in the 20th century.
Research, even that conducted after his death, revealed that Rogers was cited by more
therapists as a major influence on their thinking and clinical practice than any other person in
psychology -----including Freud.
Rogers' Approach
Primarily a clinical theory, based on years of Rogers' experience dealing with his clients
In its richness and maturity his theory matches that of Freud; a theory well thought-out
and logical having broad application.
The theory emphasizes on a single factor "force of life" which he calls the actualizing
tendency i.e. built-in motivation present in every life form to develop its potentials to
the fullest extent possible.
Rogers had the person-centered approach since the `person' was the main figure of importance,
He believed that the most powerful human drive is the one to become "fully functioning",
Fully functioning = a person becomes all that he or she is capable of
To be fully functioning means experiencing:
i. Optimal psychological adjustment
ii. Optimal psychological maturity
iii. Complete congruence (a feeling of integration when the self and the ideal self
incongruence is a feeling of conflict or unease experienced in case of a mismatch between the two)
iv. Complete openness to experience
Main Concepts
i. Self: a fluid perceptual structure based on one's experience of one`s own being,
ii. Ideal self: an Individual's goals and aspirations,
iii. Phenomenal field: an Individual's unique perception of the world,
iv. Actualizing tendency: an innate drive reflecting the desire to grow, to develop, and to enhance
one's capacities,
v. Need for positive regard: a need for positive social contacts like love,
vi. Conditions of worth: restrictions imposed on self ­expression in order to earn positive regard,
Defenses: In case of an incongruity between one's the ideal and the real self-defenses develop. Rogers talks
about only two defenses: Denial and Perceptual Distortion
i. DENIAL: Blocking out the threatening situation altogether. Denial also includes what Freud called
ii. Perceptual distortion: Reinterpreting the situation so that it appears less threatening, just like
Freud's rationalization
Introduction to Psychology ­PSY101
Neurotics: are apart from the real and the ideal. Becoming more incongruous, they find themselves in more
and more threatening situations, levels of anxiety become greater, and they use more and more
defenses.... It becomes a vicious cycle that the person eventually is unable to get out of, at least on his own
Psychosis: Psychosis occurs when a person's defenses are overwhelmed, and their sense of self becomes
"shattered" into little disconnected pieces. His behavior lacks consistency.
Carl Roger's Psychotherapy
Carl Rogers is best known for his contributions to therapy known as "person-
centered/ Client- centered therapy/ Non- directive therapy. Also known as the
Rogerian Therapy".
His main technique is "Reflection"__ mirroring of emotional experiences.
Aim of the therapy: to help a person grow and self-actualize.
·  Rogers maintained that the therapist must possess the following qualities:
i. Congruence -- genuineness, honesty, with the client
ii. Empathy -- the ability to feel what the client feels.
iii. Respect -- acceptance, unconditional positive regard towards the client.
Abraham Harold Maslow (1908-1970)
American psychologist, and leading exponent of humanistic approach.
Gave comprehensive theory of motivation.
Found the prevalent psychology to be too pessimistic and negatively oriented.
Key Points of Maslow's Theory
Psychology and the psychologist should look at the positive side of the human beings.
There must be more to living than just being battered by a hostile environment, or by
depraved instincts----which may actually be leading to self-destruction.
People's needs are not low level and base. We have positive needs that may become
neutral in the worst cases, but will not turn negative or base.
Human behavior does respond to needs but we will be wrong in saying that all our
needs are only physiological in nature
Needs motivate human action; such needs are very few in number.
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
Basically a stage theory.
The needs at one level have to be met in order for one to move on to higher order.
The needs at the lowest/primary/base level are the physiological needs, whereas the
highest order needs are the self-actualization needs.
Self-Actualization: Most advanced human need based on the desire to
grow and utilize one's
potential up to the optimal level.
Esteem Needs
Love And Belongingness Needs
Safety Needs
Physiological Needs
Introduction to Psychology ­PSY101
Categories of Needs
Deficiency needs
Based on a desire to grow rather than for
The absence of the underlying requirements
meeting a deficiency: expressed in the need for
triggers these needs e.g. physiological needs, love
self actualization
needs, or esteem needs
Interactions and needs of Behavior
Physiological needs: Fulfilled through = hunger/food: Pathology associated = Over-eating,
Safety needs: Fulfilled through = profession, job; Pathology associated = Phobias.
Love and belongingness: Fulfilled through = Marriage, Friendship: Pathology associated =
Antisocial personality.
Esteem needs: Fulfilled through = Awards, Honors, Scholarships; Pathology associated =
Self-actualization needs: Fulfilled through = Painting, writing, singing: Pathology associated
= Isolation, Alienation, Cynicism.
Criticism against Maslow's theory
Although a comprehensive and well formed theory, it has been criticized at some points
Can we actually, for all case, distribute and neatly order these needs? There is little empirical
evidence to support Maslow's way of ranking needs
Extensions of Humanistic Approach
Existential Psychology (Jean Paul Sartre, Rollo May)
Frankl's Logotherapy
Positive Psychology (Martin Seligman)
Cognitive Approach
From the 1920s through the 1960s, behaviorism dominated psychology in the United States. Eventually,
however, psychologists began to move away from strict behaviorism. Many became increasingly interested
in cognition, a term used to describe all the mental processes involved in acquiring, storing, and using
knowledge. Such processes include perception, memory, thinking, problem solving, imagining, and
language. This shift in emphasis toward cognition had such a profound influence on psychology that it has
often been called the cognitive revolution. The psychological study of cognition became known as cognitive
Cognitive processes vs. computer
One reason for psychologists' renewed interest in mental processes was the invention of the computer,
which provided an intriguing metaphor for the human mind. The hardware of the computer was likened to
the brain, and computer programs provided a step-by-step model of how information from the
environment is put in, stored, and retrieved to produce a response. Based on the computer metaphor,
psychologists began to formulate information-processing models of human thought and behavior.
The pioneering work of Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget also inspired psychologists to study cognition.
During the 1920s, while administering intelligence tests in schools, Piaget became interested in how children
think. He designed various tasks and interview questions to reveal how children of different ages reason
about time, nature, numbers, causality, morality, and other concepts. Based on his many studies, Piaget
theorized that from infancy to adolescence, children advance through a predictable series of cognitive
Introduction to Psychology ­PSY101
The cognitive revolution also gained momentum from developments in the study of language. Behaviorist
B. F. Skinner had claimed that language is acquired according to the laws of operant conditioning, in much
the same way that rats learn to press a bar for food pellets. In 1959, however, American linguist Noam
Chomsky charged that Skinner's account of language development was wrong. Chomsky noted that children
all over the world start to speak at roughly the same age and proceed through roughly the same stages
without being explicitly taught or rewarded for the effort. According to Chomsky, the human capacity for
learning language is innate. He theorized that the human brain is "hardwired" for language as a product of
evolution. By pointing to the primary importance of biological dispositions in the development of language,
Chomsky's theory dealt a serious blow to the behaviorist assumption that all human behaviors are formed
and maintained by reinforcement.
Cognition means "the known", "knowledge", or "the process of knowing"
Cognitive approach emphasizes on:
Expectations etc; factors that determine the personality of the individual
Main Emphasis
For a proper understanding of behavior, the cognitive approach emphasizes the role of
mediating processes in human behavior i.e., the processes that lie between the
Environmental stimuli and the behavioral response
Focused on how we `remember', how information processing takes place, how decision
making appraisals are done
Unlike the behavioristic approach, this theory gives same importance to both the
internal state of the person as well as the environmental events
Internal events are referred as "Mediators" or "Meditational Processes"
Areas of Special Interest
Cognitive approach mainly focuses on:
Social behavior
Behavior modification
Cognitive approach includes the elements of psychology, linguistics, computer science and
physiology-- thus called a `hybrid science'.
Elements of Cognitive Model
Experiments on apes by German scientist Wolfgang
Mediators= Work in a
Internal processes=
Kohler, discovered the use of insight by them in problem
systematic and
essential in
organized way not
in terms of trial and
Tolman talked about the `cognitive maps'
(relationship between stimulus) __it is not necessary to have an association between
stimulus and response, a person can learn without showing any apparent response
Both Kohler and Tolman played a vital role in laying the foundation of cognitive approach
Introduction to Psychology ­PSY101
Emotions and Cognitive Approach
Pioneer: Stanley Schacter (1971)
According to him, emotions result from the physiological arousal as well as the
cognitive appraisal (evaluation) of the situation
Arousal comes first and is general in nature
In order to understand what one is feeling i.e., the title/label of the emotion, and the
meaning of one's reaction in a particular setting the arousal is appraised cognitively
Schacter's Theory of Emotions
Stimulus elicit
Felt emotion
Incoming car
(Perception of
`I am afraid'/going
to be hurt
Richard Lazarus (1984) maintains that emotional experience cannot be understood unless we understand
how what goes on in the environment is be evaluated. Emotion leads to cognition and cognition in turn
leads to emotional experience.
Experienced Emotion
Cognitive Approach to Social Behavior
John Dollard and Neal Miller (1950) first ever emphasized the
importance of cognitive processes in determining behavior
Kelly's Personal Construct Theory
·  Developed by George Kelly (1955.)
·  Emphasis on how a person cognitively constructs his world
·  Persons develop their behavior cognitively towards their world and develop attitudes and
opinions accordingly known as' personal constructs'.
·  The constructs then develop into a `belief system' of a person.
Mischel's Cognitive Social personality Theory
·  Walter Mischel was a student of George Kelly.
·  According to him, how a person responds to the environmental stimulus depends on the
following variables:
i. Competencies
·  What the person knows
·  What the person can do
·  How well the person generate the cognitive/ behavioral outcome
ii. Encoding Strategies: Ways of processing information
iii. Expectations: Anticipating the likely outcome (mainly positive)
iv. Personal Values: Importance of one's belief, also stimulus, people, events etc
v. Self regulatory system: maintaining rules for better performance
·  Setting goals
·  Evaluating performances
Bandura's Cognitive-Social Learning Theory
Given by Albert Bandura (1986).
By combining the rules of learning, it emphasizes the complex human interactions in
social settings.
Introduction to Psychology ­PSY101
Observational Learning
Main component of social-learning theory in which the person makes changes in his
own behavior by watching/or imitating others i.e., a model/ a super star/favorite
personality or cartoon character.
Effective in acquiring skills, attitudes, beliefs simply by watching others.
Cantor's Social Intelligence Theory
Given by Nancy Cantor and her colleagues (1987).
Refers to the expertise, which a person uses in different life situations/ tasks.
The theory explains several types of individual differences.
i. Choice of Life Goal: Giving priority/ importance to the most important goal at a particular point
of life. i.e., student -- 'Good grades'
ii. Use of `knowledge' in social interactions
Use of life experiences and expertise in problem solving.
Cognitive Approach in Behavior Modification
Negative and unacceptable behavior is modified through constructive strategies.
According to this approach, person's beliefs and attitudes effect the motivation and
behavior of a person
In order to modify the behavior, reinforcement techniques are used.
For attaining the desired goal, realistic strategies are used with continuous feedback.
Altering the Belief System
Psychologists are of the view that psychological problems arise due to the way people
perceive themselves in relation with the people they interact with.
Main focus of the therapist is to alter the irrational belief system of a person.
Cause of Psychological Illness
Illogical Reasoning/
`Being perfect in
every way
Cognitive Theory for Depression
False Premises
Rigid Rules
occur automatically
Aaron Beck formulated the
`If I can do whatever
after repeating several
therapy for depression
is required then I"ll be
times`I must obey the
recognized by everyone
Therapist helps the
depressive person to change the faulty patterns of
thinking through problem- solving techniques
Believed that depression reoccurs in depressive patients because the negative thoughts
occur automatically of which they are not aware.
The therapist uses four tactics
·  Challenging the patient's ill beliefs
·  Evaluating the cause of depression
·  Attributing the cause to the environmental situation/ event not to the person's in
·  Finding the alternative and effective solutions for the complex problems
Introduction to Psychology ­PSY101
Rational-Emotive Behavior Therapy
Developed by Albert Ellis (1962, 1977).
Focused on altering the irrational beliefs into more acceptable ways.
Clients are forbidden to use "should", "must"," ought" etc.
Confrontation techniques are used which focus on changing the attitudes through
rational reasoning.
Task is to protect the self worth, potential to be self-actualized, by blocking the irrational
thinking patterns.
In short, in the last few decades, researchers have made significant breakthroughs in understanding the
brain, nervous system, mental processes such as the nature of consciousness, memory distortions,
competence and rationality, genetic influences on behavior, infancy, the nature of intelligence, human
motivation, prejudice and discrimination, the benefits of psychotherapy, and the psychological
influences on the immune system.
Table of Contents:
  1. WHAT IS PSYCHOLOGY?:Theoretical perspectives of psychology
  3. SCHOOLS OF THOUGHT:Biological Approach, Psychodynamic Approach
  4. PERSPECTIVE/MODEL/APPROACH:Narcosis, Chemotherapy
  5. THE PSYCHODYNAMIC APPROACH/ MODEL:Psychic Determinism, Preconscious
  6. BEHAVIORAL APPROACH:Behaviorist Analysis, Basic Terminology, Basic Terminology
  8. RESEARCH METHODS IN PSYCHOLOGY (I):Scientific Nature of Psychology
  9. RESEARCH METHODS IN PSYCHOLOGY (II):Experimental Research
  11. COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT:Socio- Cultural Factor, The Individual and the Group
  12. NERVOUS SYSTEM (1):Biological Bases of Behavior, Terminal Buttons
  13. NERVOUS SYSTEM (2):Membranes of the Brain, Association Areas, Spinal Cord
  14. ENDOCRINE SYSTEM:Pineal Gland, Pituitary Gland, Dwarfism
  15. SENSATION:The Human Eye, Cornea, Sclera, Pupil, Iris, Lens
  16. HEARING (AUDITION) AND BALANCE:The Outer Ear, Auditory Canal
  17. PERCEPTION I:Max Wertheimer, Figure and Ground, Law of Closure
  18. PERCEPTION II:Depth Perception, Relative Height, Linear Perspective
  19. ALTERED STATES OF CONSCIOUSNESS:Electroencephalogram, Hypnosis
  20. LEARNING:Motor Learning, Problem Solving, Basic Terminology, Conditioning
  21. OPERANT CONDITIONING:Negative Rein forcer, Punishment, No reinforcement
  22. COGNITIVE APPROACH:Approach to Learning, Observational Learning
  23. MEMORY I:Functions of Memory, Encoding and Recoding, Retrieval
  24. MEMORY II:Long-Term Memory, Declarative Memory, Procedural Memory
  25. MEMORY III:Memory Disorders/Dysfunctions, Amnesia, Dementia
  26. SECONDARY/ LEARNT/ PSYCHOLOGICAL MOTIVES:Curiosity, Need for affiliation
  27. EMOTIONS I:Defining Emotions, Behavioral component, Cognitive component
  28. EMOTIONS II:Respiratory Changes, Pupillometrics, Glandular Responses
  29. COGNITION AND THINKING:Cognitive Psychology, Mental Images, Concepts
  31. PERSONALITY I:Definition of Personality, Theories of Personality
  32. PERSONALITY II:Surface traits, Source Traits, For learning theorists, Albert Bandura
  33. PERSONALITY III:Assessment of Personality, Interview, Behavioral Assessment
  34. INTELLIGENCE:The History of Measurement of Intelligence, Later Revisions
  35. PSYCHOPATHOLOGY:Plato, Aristotle, Asclepiades, In The Middle Ages
  36. ABNORMAL BEHAVIOR I:Medical Perspective, Psychodynamic Perspective
  37. ABNORMAL BEHAVIOR II:Hypochondriasis, Conversion Disorders, Causes include
  38. PSYCHOTHERAPY I:Psychotherapeutic Orientations, Clinical Psychologists
  39. PSYCHOTHERAPY II:Behavior Modification, Shaping, Humanistic Therapies
  40. POPULAR AREAS OF PSYCHOLOGY:ABC MODEL, Factors affecting attitude change
  41. HEALTH PSYCHOLOGY:Understanding Health, Observational Learning
  42. INDUSTRIAL/ORGANIZATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY:‘Hard’ Criteria and ‘Soft’ Criteria
  43. CONSUMER PSYCHOLOGY:Focus of Interest, Consumer Psychologist
  44. SPORT PSYCHOLOGY:Some Research Findings, Arousal level
  45. FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGY:Origin and History of Forensic Psychology