In order to stress the importance of psychology and its distinctive and intricate attributes, here is an attempt to reveal the essence of the discipline of psychology. In doing this, this essay will answer: How does psychology's mission add unique elements to the social sciences?
Social science has a number of different factors and is made up of many different disciplines which include geography, anthropology, psychology, political science, economics and sociology. Although some of these disciplines have been researched and developed more thoroughly than others, psychology may be argued as being the most prominent. Psychology's theories have been evolving for well over a century and are the subject of continuous debate in the academic world and beyond. The key factor that differentiates psychology from the other five social sciences is its individual humanistic focus. The study of psychology is based upon the human condition (who am I? why am I?) whereas the other five disciplines are focused on humans as a group (who are we? why are we?). It is this factor that separates psychology from the other social sciences.
The four main psychological theories to be discussed below are:
o Humanistic Psychology
Little value was giving to the discoveries of early pioneers of this social science until in 1900, when Sigmund Freud developed the first theories of psychology. Freud's most fascinating theory was psychoanalysis which was based on observations made in his private practice in Venice. David G. Myers of Hope College in Michigan describes psychoanalysis as Freud's theory of personality that attributes our thoughts and actions to unconscious motives and conflicts. The techniques Freud used to treat patients with psychological disorders were sessions to expose and interpret unconscious tensions. Freud used these sessions to analyze the dreams that his patients had, believing that dreams were the ultimate road to the unconscious. Although only a very small percentage of current psychologists follow Freud's theories and clinical methods, they continue to resonate in the popular mindset often laying the foundations for more recent theories.
Shortly after publication of Freud's psychoanalysis theory, Russian biologist Ivan Pavlov began publishing accounts of his experiments on animals involving conditioned response which researched conduct that was motivated by a series of rewards and punishments. Inspired by Pavlov's experiments, John B. Watson founded the move of behaviorism shortly after World War One. Many believe Watson's theory was a reaction to Freud's often controversial psychological theories. In any case, Behaviorism, like most psychological theories in the early years of discovery was thought to be a break-through in social science.
In the 1960s, a third wave of psychological theory came into play. Humanistic psychology has many differing theories yet a majority of humanistic theories conceive of personality developing continuously over time. Psychologists of the humanistic revolution derived much of their inspiration from the humanities. In particular, Eric Erikson, who was influential in the humanistic movement, much of the enthusiasm surrounding humanistic psychology was due to the lack of humanism found in earlier theories such as psychoanalysis and behaviourism. Humanistic theorists believed that past theories had overlooked a meaningful part of human experience: humanity's need for love, self-esteem, belonging, self-expression, creativity and spirituality.
As technology became increasingly stronger in the 1990s, many psychologists turned their attention back to science. Now they had the ability to thoroughly research why our bodies accounted so much for who we are. This was a very different view from the humanistic psychologists who believed that the experiences people faced in life constantly shaped and molded them. Biology became very sophisticated and research was undertaken to find out just how humans developed the way they did. Bio-psychology revolutionized psychology with biologically based rationales for behavior and new therapies for treating patients.
In conclusion, this article adds weight to the hypothesis that psychology's mission to further develop the social sciences using the applied knowledge of how the human mind operates. Psychology enhances the study of geography, anthropology, political science, economics and sociology by understanding the unique elements of the mind and applying this knowledge to group behaviors. We are, to a certain extent, the product of our genetic and cultural influences and psychology allows us to explore the unseen recesses of the human mind. There are no real facts, just theories and thoughts about the mental processes that the human mind goes through. The study of psychology offers itself as the ultimate social science for the benefit of our society.