Premium Essay

Explanation of Human Behavior

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By hullabaloos1
Words 797
Pages 4
Explanation of Human Behavior
Introduction to Behavioral Science BEH225
November 7th 2014
Tracy Doro Krueger

Psychology Evolving Into A Science Psychology evolving into a science is a result of individuals and their theories more than successive steps. As our reading states, people have been informally observing human behavior and philosophizing about it for thousands of years (University of Phoenix, 2013). In contrast, psychology’s history as a science dates back only about 130 years. Wilhelm Wundt, the “father of psychology,” set up a laboratory in 1879 to study conscious experience. By insisting on systematic observation and measurement, he got psychology off to a good start. Wundt’s ideas were carried to the United States by Edward Titchener who called Wundt’s ideas structuralism and tried to analyze the structure of mental life into basic “elements” or “building blocks” (University of Phoenix, 2013). After Titchener, one of the first philosophies developed was Functionalism by American scholar William James. James helped establish the field as a separate discipline. The functionalists admired Charles Darwin, who deduced that creatures evolve in ways that favor survival. Functionalism spurred the rise of industrial/organizational psychology, the study of people at work (University of Phoenix, 2013). Functionalism and structuralism were soon challenged by behaviorism, the study of observable behavior. Behaviorist John B. Watson believed that introspection is unscientific precisely because there is no way to settle disagreements between observers. These observations were objective because they did not involve introspecting on subjective experience (University of Phoenix, 2013).

The best-known behaviorist, B. F. Skinner, believed that our actions are controlled by rewards and punishments. As a “radical behaviorist,” Skinner also believed...

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

Explanation of Human Behavior

...they use what is psychology that is now considered the scientific study of behavior and the mental process. Basically without psychology and its studies how would you know how the mind works? Because it isn’t something that can be seen with the eye or examined by touch. So with psychology they have all kinds of ways to test and research the mind. Some psychological perspectives that explain human behavior are: behavioral, cognitive, humanistic, and psychodynamic. Behavioral view emphasizes the study of observable behavior and the effects of learning; stresses the influence of external rewards and punishments; neutral, scientific, somewhat mechanistic view of human nature. Cognitive view Concerned with thinking, knowing, perception, understanding, memory, decision making, and judgment; explains behavior in terms of information processing; neutral, somewhat computer-like view of human nature. Humanistic view Focuses on subjective, conscious experience, human problems, potentials, and ideals; emphasizes self-image and self-actualization to explain behavior; positive, philosophical view of human nature. And psychodynamic view Emphasizes internal impulses, desires, and conflicts—especially those that are unconscious; views behavior as the result of clashing forces within personality; somewhat negative, pessimistic view of human nature. The environment, the genes, and the personal choice all shape human behavior for each and every person. But the amount of influence each of these......

Words: 379 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

Summary on Page 12 to 31 of Rethinking Religion

...MUTELO 201207003 RELIGION AND SPIRITUALITY ASSIGNMENT 2 Explanation and Interpretation: three accounts When we are dealing with human subjects, their forms of thought, their types of practice, what are the respective roles of explanation and interpretation, however finely or coarsely they are distinguished? This summary discusses three accounts that can help us understand the roles of explanation and interpretation in studying or dealing with human subjects and these are the exclusivism account, the inclusive account, and the interactionism account. The exclusive account/position holds that interpretation and explanation exclude one another. The inclusive position maintains that explanation is and must be subordinated to interpretation. Inclusivists hold that the enterprise of interpretation always encapsulates explanatory pursuits. The interactionism account, proposes that interpretation and explanation inform each other. Novel interpretations employ the categories of theories already in place, whereas novel explanations depend upon the discovery of new theories which, in turn, depends upon the sort of reorganization of knowledge that interpretative pursuits involve. On the interactive view these two processes complement one another. The Exclusivism Account Exclusivism takes two forms, one emphasizing the centrality of explanation, the other the centrality of interpretation. The first group of exclusivists, consisting of......

Words: 2235 - Pages: 9

Premium Essay

No Title

...Essentials of Organizational Behavior, 12e (Robbins/Judge) Chapter 1 What is Organizational Behavior? 1) Until the late 1980s, business school curricula emphasized the ________ aspects of management. A) ethical B) people C) technical D) human E) global Answer: C Explanation: C) Until the late 1980s, business school curricula emphasized the technical aspects of management, focusing on economics, accounting, finance, and quantitative techniques. Course work in human behavior and people skills received relatively less attention. Over the past three decades, however, business faculty have come to realize the role that understanding human behavior plays in determining a manager's effectiveness, and required courses on people skills have been added to many curricula. Diff: 1 Objective: Management and Leadership Quest. Category: Concept/Definitional LO: 1 2) Which of the following is not a reason why business schools have begun to include classes on organizational behavior? A) to increase manager effectiveness in organizations B) to help organizations attract top quality employees C) to expand organizations' consulting needs D) to improve retention of quality workers E) to help increase organizations' profits Answer: C Explanation: C) Understanding human behavior plays an important role in determining a manager's effectiveness. Developing managers' interpersonal skills helps organizations attract and keep high-performing employees. Positive social......

Words: 10785 - Pages: 44

Premium Essay

Nature vs Nurture

...conferred upon by philosophers in the past and still so by scientists today. This issue is whether heredity or environment plays a greater role in the determining or shaping of an individual's behavior. It is known as the nature versus nurture debate. Numerous generations before us have deliberated on the reasons behind the development of human behavior. There have been many theories formulated to explain why humans behave the way they do. The surviving theories for behavior derive from physiological and sociological explanations. However, the two explanations have not always been compatible with each other. The famous nature vs. nurture debate over human behavior resulted from conflicting views between proponents of the physiological (nature) and sociological (nurture) explanations. Throughout history, research has swayed popularity back and forth between the theories. Yet, theorists have broken down the line separating nature and nurture. As of today, people utilize both explanations to explore human behavior. Way before our time, early philosophers endeavored to understand the human behavior. As early as 350 BC, such philosophers as Plato and Aristotle tried to understand behavior. The question of nature or nurture as the primary drive can be traced to these times. Plato believed behavior and knowledge was due to innate factors. Author Fiona Cowie states, "The claim that the character of our mental furniture is to a large extent internally rather than......

Words: 1605 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

Rhetorical Essay

...Nurture: What are the reasons behind the development of human behavior? Laquinta Gantt Baker College English 102: Composition II Melissa Rigney May 4, 2012 Nature vs. Nurture Theory: What are the reasons behind the development of human behavior? Throughout history, research has attempted to determine if an individual’s personality, behaviors and intelligence are shaped by genetics or the environment, which formed the nature versus nurture theory. The nature versus nurture debate is about the relative importance of an individual's innate qualities (“nature”) versus personal experiences ("nurture") in determining individual differences in physical and behavioral traits. There have been many theories formulated to explain why humans behave the way they do. Explanations vary from demonology to magnetic fluids controlling people's behaviors. Toby Epstein Jayaratne’s article entitled “The Perennial Debate: Nature, Nurture, or Choice? Black and white Americans’ explanation for individual differences” attempts to persuade readers that choice is just as an influential factor as genetics or the environment by examining a group of black and white Americans to determine which of the three factors are most responsible for their differences. The author argues that in order to account for a person’s behavior, their explanation or beliefs about what causes them is very influential in determining the behaviors they exude. To provide evidence for his topic and......

Words: 1312 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay

My Files

...Most classical theories of crime causation, both old and new, make certain basic assumptions. Among them are these: Crime is caused by the individual exercise of free will. Human beings are fundamentally rational, and most human behavior is the result of free will coupled with rational choice. Pain and pleasure are the two central determinants of human behavior. Crime erodes the bond that exists between individuals and society and is therefore an immoral form of behavior. It is easy to understand why the entertainment industry and the media are often targeted as the cause of crime and criminal violence. However, many other types of explanations for crime are also viable, such as genetic abnormalities, individual psychological differences, and variations in patterns of early socialization that may predispose some people to crime and violence. Likewise, it is prudent to examine social institutions such as the family, schools, and churches for their role in reducing or enhancing the likelihood of criminality among people. One thing is certain: There is no single cause of crime; it is rooted in a diversity of causal factors and takes a variety of forms, depending on the situation in which it occurs. Nonetheless, some theories of human behavior help us understand why certain people engage in acts that society defines as criminal or deviant, while others do not. A theory is a kind of model. Theories posit relationships, often of a causal sort, between events and things under......

Words: 978 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay


...| | Instructor Explanation: | See Chapter 1, p. 4 | | | | Points Received: | 2 of 2 | | Comments: | | | | 2. | Question : | (TCO 1) A student placed in a gifted program based on their IQ score would be an example of which goal of psychology? | | | Student Answer: | | describing behavior | | | | explaining behavior | | | | predicting behavior | | | | changing behavior | | Instructor Explanation: | See Chapter 1, p. 5 | | | | Points Received: | 0 of 2 | | Comments: | See Chapter 1, p. 5 | | | 3. | Question : | (TCO 1) Most psychologists earn degrees in the area of ____________. | | | Student Answer: | | educational psychology | | | | school psychology | | | | clinical psychology | | | | cognitive psychology | | Instructor Explanation: | See Chapter 1, p. 6 | | | | Points Received: | 2 of 2 | | Comments: | | | | 4. | Question : | (TCO 1) Structuralism made an important contribution to the science of psychology because it ________________. | | | Student Answer: | | established a model for the scientific study of mental processes. | | | | showed how separate thoughts combined to form an idea. | | | | explained why individuals experience stimuli differently. | | | | highlighted why different scientific methods are needed to study children and animals versus studying adult humans. | | Instructor Explanation: | See Chapter......

Words: 1627 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

Clinical Psychology Paper

...T. Niles once said, “Christianity is just one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread” (Niles, 2010). At its most basic level, clinical psychology is the enterprise of one educated, licensed person using their knowledge of human behavior to address, assuage, or otherwise moderate the troubles and concerns of another person’s life—whether they be relational, affective, or physiological. Strictly speaking, clinical psychology is, “the assessment, treatment, and understanding of psychological and behavioral problems and disorders” (Plante, 2005, p. 7). Clinical psychology is a scientific endeavor, utilizing the instrument of the scientific method to inform the practice, procedures, and treatments used to address human problems. There is an interplay that exists between treatment outcome research and psychotherapy in clinical psychology—the science informs the art and the art informs the science (Plante, 2005). The point of this paper is to catalogue and compare the history and evolving nature of clinical psychology as well as to consider the specific case of counseling within the framework of clinical psychology. History Hippocrates—the original author of the Hippocratic Oath—formed the first complete, if naïve, physiological explanation of disease and dysfunction (Plante, 2005). He proposed that imbalances in the mixture and quantity of four fluids: black bile, yellow bile, phlegm, and blood, caused several emotions and psychological maladjustment, such as sadness,...

Words: 1130 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Mr Polanco

...information that comes in to the person (stimuli) and how this treatment leads to responses. In other words, they are interested in the variables that mediate between stimulus/input and response/output. The main areas of study in cognitive psychology are: perception, attention, memory and language. The essence of the behavioral approach is the statement that all behavior is learned and that when we are born we are like a blank slate. Experience and interactions with the environment make us what we are. We become what we become as a result of forming stimulus-response units of behavior in reaction to the environment. This perspective has been called environmental determinism because it suggests that the environments in which we exist determine us. The second statement is that all behavior can be explained in terms of conditioning theory: stimulus and response (S-R) links that build up to produce more complex behaviors. In essence, conditioning refers to changing behavior in the absence of conscious thought, as in saying “I am conditioned to behave in that way”. The third main statement is that we need look no further than the behaviors we can observe in order to understand and explain how...

Words: 1815 - Pages: 8

Free Essay

My Dog

...Marvin Harris: Cultural Materialism perspective Theory: A model of human behavior. Model involving a logical explanation of some phenomenon Model tries to generalize about social behavior A theory in social sciences must be empirically testable or supported by evidence Materialist versus Idealist views of Culture Food as Feed (required for physical existence/survival) Food as symbolic: as Status/prestige, Health, class, group identity, sexuality, gender, power, ritual, protest Why don=t Hindus eat beef? Or, why don’t Jews and Muslims eat Pork? MATERIALIST: ABecause it is more profitable to preserve the cow=s for other uses” IDEALIST : ABecause they consider the cow sacred, and will not kill it for food” Theories are based on Assumptions Materialist View: Humans are rational beings. They will weigh the costs and benefits of actions. Biological needs such as food, sex are more important than other needs. Work is less desirable than leisure. Behaviors influence ideas. Idealist View: Human seek meaning in action. Symbolic understanding orients all human action, including the satisfaction of biological needs. We cannot understand human behavior without understanding the system of meanings that govern behavior from the actor’s point of view. Ideas influence action. Harris= materialist explanation of the Asacred cow@ in India Beef was consumed in the......

Words: 507 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

Socio Dec Exam Review

...the study of personal issues to psychologists e. b and c * EXPLANATION: Although sociology contains both objective and subjective elements it is a science. Sociologists observe reality in a systematic and controlled manner and evaluate the validity of their ideas based on observations. Objectivity plays the role of a reality check while subjectivity makes us set our priorities for research. The sociological approach to improving human welfare is based on the idea that the relations we have with other people create opportunities for us to think and act but also set limits on our thoughts and actions. Accordingly, we can better understand that what we are and what we can become by studying the social relations that help shape us. FOR EXAMPLE: even the most personal issues can be studied using a sociological approach Suicide could have been seen as an anti-social act caused by psychological distress but Durkheim studied it from a sociological perspective correlating it to “social solidarity”, how frequently people interact with others and share their beliefs, values and morals. Social forces then determine the likelihood to commit suicide. Sociologists use the sociological approach to identify: 1) A behavior that they are interested in 2) Social forces that influence that behavior 3) The larger institutional, political, etc – changes that improve human welfare with respect to that behavior CHAPTERS TO READ: * SIQ (Society in Question) Chapter 1 ......

Words: 3238 - Pages: 13

Premium Essay

Psy 410 Historical Perspective

...Perspectives of Abnormal Psychology Introduction Human behavior has always been an interest to scientists, researchers, and humans. The reason for why one behaves the way the do is a topic sought after to better understand our species. Understanding what is normal and abnormal can enable researchers the ability to aid individuals in reaching or maintain healthy behavior. Abnormal psychology is a branch of psychology that includes a broad range of factors from depression and obsession-compulsion to bipolar and schizophrenic. Understanding abnormal behavior begins with understanding what is normal. Each individual can have different normal and abnormal behavior but society has an overall standard for abnormal behavior. Abnormal psychology is represented by theoretical models including the psychosocial, biological/medical, and sociocultural theory. The overall study of abnormal psychology has evolved from a curious mind to a scientific discipline. Origins of Abnormal Psychology “Abnormal psychology has experienced tremendous change, progress, and controversy over the roughly 100 years it has existed as a field of study” (Hansell & Damour, 2008, p. 3). The earliest known studying of abnormal psychology included mental illness with the amistic/spiritual approach. With this view the practice of boring holes in the skull was used to release evil spirits causing the behavior. Another past treatment for abnormal behavior was Dr. Weir Mitchell’s rest cure that involved two......

Words: 1035 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay


...CHAP TER Introducing Psychology Psychology is the scientific study of mind and behavior. The word “psychology” comes from the Greek words “psyche,” meaning life, and “logos,” meaning explanation. Psychology is a popular major for students, a popular topic in the public media, and a part of our everyday lives. Television shows such as Dr. Phil feature psychologists who provide personal advice to those with personal or family difficulties. Crime dramas such as CSI, Lie to Me, and others feature the work of forensic psychologists who use psychological principles to help solve crimes. And many people have direct knowledge about psychology because they have visited psychologists, for instance, school counselors, family therapists, and religious, marriage, or bereavement counselors. Because we are frequently exposed to the work of psychologists in our everyday lives, we all have an idea about what psychology is and what psychologists do. In many ways I am sure that your conceptions are correct. Psychologists do work in forensic fields, and they do provide counseling and therapy for people in distress. But there are hundreds of thousands of psychologists in the world, and most of them work in other places, doing work that you are probably not aware of. Most psychologists work in research laboratories, hospitals, and other field settings where they study the behavior of humans and animals. For instance, my colleagues in the Psychology Department at the University of Maryland study......

Words: 13774 - Pages: 56

Free Essay


...rule that confers an adaptive advantage on those who avoid intercourse with their siblings. In this discussion, Ruse and Wilson argue that moral laws disallowing incest are redundant relics of mankind's evolutionary history that provide nothing to mankind but explanations of a hard-wired evolutionary trait (179). I reject this argument. While Ruse and Wilson are undoubtedly correct in believing that mankind's capacity for moral reasoning is a result of natural selection pressure and that most ancient moral laws have an evolutionary basis, I believe that describing the genesis of moral reasoning in this way provides no information about the content of our moral beliefs now. While our capacity for moral reasoning may have evolved for the purpose of informing our otherwise unjustifiable acts with a sense of objective certitude, it is not hard to imagine that this capacity, once evolved, would be capable of much more than simply rubber stamping mankind's collective genetic predisposition. In this paper, I will use the example of an evolutionary explanation against intentional killing for personal gain to argue for the existence of a disconnect between evolutionary biology and ethics. Ruse and Wilson might argue that human beings evolved with a genetic predisposition against murder for convenience. It is easy to see how this might be true. A person who kills others for convenience must live apart from society and apart from potential mates or else must be killed by society.......

Words: 1900 - Pages: 8

Premium Essay


...07, 2010 Biological Psychology As in other areas of psychology, biological psychologists study behavior. However, they do so by exploring how behavior and experiences relate to our genes and physiology. Biological psychology also explores questions of how the brain itself is connected to consciousness. Basically, this branch of psychology emphasizes the goal of relating biology to the issue of psychology. It is sometimes also called psychobiology, biopsychology, physiological psychology or behavioral neuroscience. Brain functioning is the main areas of focus for biological psychology. By studying the brain, biological psychologists attempt to answer questions such the best way to help with recovery after brain damage, or what specific part of the brain helps us learn language or is involved in storing memories. They might also study what biological factors make people more likely to be affected with psychological disorders. Biological psychology has its roots in scientific and philosophical traditions from as early as the 18th and 19th centuries. For example, Rene Descartes (1596-1650) suggested that there was a specific part in the brain (the pineal gland) that connected the body with the mind. Although this was not correct, it did introduce the idea of studying specific parts of the physical brain when trying to explain the roots of behavior. (Robinson, 1995) In 1890, XXXXXXX XXXXX published The Principles of Psychology, which made the claim that the......

Words: 786 - Pages: 4