Theories in Psychology: Humanistic and Cognitive.
The relationship between the science of behavior and mental processes is what is known as psychology. Based on psychological research, future behavior can be forecasted. There are seven contemporary theories/approaches in psychology. However, this paper will focus on two of the seven theories i.e. Humanistic approach and Cognitive approach in psychology.
Perspective of Humanistic and Cognitive Approach
Humanistic psychology approach is also known as humanist, or humanism. This theory takes the approach of examining the uniqueness of each person and, an individual as a whole person. This approach studies the behavior of humans not only through the observer’s perspective but also from the perspective of the one behaving. When the personal subjective experience is used to study the personality, this humanistic approach is known as phenomenological approach.
The humanistic approach is based on the view that humans are inherently good. As such, ethics, morality and intentions which are good are what inform our behavior. On the other hand, unfortunate psychological or social experiences can be accredited to digressing from the natural inclination. This approach integrates various techniques in therapy and focuses on self-actualization in individual centered therapy.
On the other hand, Cognitive psychology is the research of the mind as an information processor in a scientific method. Consciousness, attention, memory, perception, and thinking are the cognitive processes that happen in human minds, from these, the psychologist makes models of cognitive of the brain’s information process. This theory can simplify all complicated behaviors to reduced cognitive process such as perception and memory.
Case studies which are idiographic techniques have been used together with nomothetic approach to understand cognitive processes of the humans. This approach studies behavior in laboratory controlled experiment environment. For instance, volunteers are involved in memory tests in a controlled environment. One criticism of the study is its absence of ecological validity – a principle criticism of psychology in cognitive theory especially by the humanistic approach to psychology.
Background of Humanistic and Cognitive Approach
Humanistic approach “third force” – which was after behaviorism and psychoanalysis – developed as a revolt to the limitation of psychoanalysis and behaviorism psychology that was deemed dehumanizing. Humanistic psychologist dismissed the perspective of behaviorist theory which is viewed as deterministic which majorly dependent on research on animals. Additionally, psychoanalytical is dismissed since it is deterministic with instinctive and unconscious irrational forces influencing behavior and thought.
Humanistic theory of psychology developed in the 1950’s. The building blocks of this theory are creativity, intrinsic nature, individuality, health, being, self, meaning, becoming, and self-actualization. In 1957 -58, Clark Moustakas and Abraham Maslow held two meeting with a view to establishing an association of professions more focused on humanistic desire.
In comparison, Cognitive psychology developed in the 1950’s. This development was contributed by discontent with a simple focus on external behavior as opposed to internal processes, as used by behaviorist psychologists. Additionally, a differentiation between information processing with a computer and by human and, the need for better experimental scientific techniques. Computer analogy is the utilization of a computer for evaluating how the mind of a human processes information.
Psychology moved from perceptions of psychoanalysis and condition behavior study of the mind to the comprehension of information processing by humans through scientific laboratory examination. By 1970’s, the cognitive approach was the supreme theory in psychology. Computers assisted psychologists comprehend the cognition complex by differentiating with a computer which was simple, easy to understand the artificial system.
Evidence of Research of Humanistic and Cognitive Approach
The humanistic theory has been restricted to abnormality, therapy, personality, and motivation. This theory has been applicable to limited psychology areas in comparison to other approaches. In studying humans, humanistic uses a non-scientific technique – this would explain the absence of research-based evidence. A case, for instance, is the free will belief, which directly challenges the deterministic scientific laws.
Humanistic investigates areas such as emotion and consciousness which are not easy to scientifically capture. This leads to the absence of empirical evidence supported by research evidence of this psychology approach. Nevertheless, humanistic approach takes an in-depth look into the person’s behavior by utilizing qualitative techniques. A holistic analysis of human behavior as opposed to the deterministic position of science.
Alternatively, the cognitive theory has merged with other psychology theories to result to theories such as artificial intelligence, social learning theory, and cognitive neuropsychology. Nevertheless, cognitive theory ignores environmental and physical – behaviorism and biological – elements in behavior determination. Cognitive theory likens the mind like a computer in information processing, but the two have significant differences. Unlike computers, humans get tired and have emotions.
Psychology of Drug use of Humanistic and Cognitive Approach
Humanist approach targets a happy fulfilled life and assisting others to live so too. This gives a varied opinion of illegal or recreational drugs. Use of drugs has a pleasing effect in the short term, and also consequences that are both long term and short term to the person, family, and society. More importantly, there are those who advance the view that drug use is more of an individual health concern as opposed to morality issue – since the choice is personal.
Drug use gets to be a moral issue when the harm affects the society, community, family and people close to them. More so, the moral issue arises when the resources to get and produce the drugs are taken into account. These resources would be better appropriated to follow useful pursuit for the common good. The drug user gets to burden the health system and also the economy, since they may be unemployable or fail to engage in economic activities while utilizing tax payer’s money in drugs-related health issues – this is a moral issue (British Humanist Association, 2007)
Contrastingly, Cognitive approach to drug use is that negative thinking is one major cause of illegal drug use. These thoughts prevent individuals from changing to positive. Everything or nothing is such negative thought experienced more often. Patterns of negative thoughts may cause drugs addictions, depression etc. These negative thoughts are strong disastrous and characterized with persons undergoing drug abuse and addiction. Their everything-or-nothing attitude enhances their feeling of hopelessness and lack of authority over their drug use and addiction problems.
Moreover, cognitive approach to drug use views that expectations inform our choices of either healthy or drugs addictive behaviors. Instances where an individual expectation of advantages and the disadvantages of drug use outweigh the advantages and the disadvantages of living healthy, perceived or otherwise, they will prefer drug use which may lead to addiction. This expectation of drug use may be influenced by observation, either indirect or direct. Indirect observation could be through commercial advertisement praising drug use/abuse (Horvath, T., Misra, K. Epner, K. et.al).
British Humanist Association. A Humanistic Discussion of Drugs, 2007, www.humanismforschools.org.uk/pdfs/Drugs%20(final).pdf. Accessed 25 January 2017.
Horvath, T., Misra, K. Epner, K. et.al. Cognitive (Expectancy) Theory of Addiction and Recovery Implications, (nd) http://www.centersite.net/poc/view_doc.php?type=doc&id=48348&cn=1408. Accessed 25 January 2017.