Psychologists use a variety of approaches to study the behaviours and conscious experiences. Each approach has its own points of view and assumptions. Each approach defines a different area that is important for scientific analysis.
Our understanding of the roots of behaviors, experiences, and mental processes depends on our approach to the study of reality. While some believe that our behaviors depend largely on what happens in our body, others view that our behaviours are largely the result of inner urges that lie in the unconscious.
For some, the observable behaviors are outcomes of our learning and constitute the primary subject matter of psychology. Still others believe that our thought processes primarily determine our way of interaction with the external world. Some contemporary psychologists focus on the unique personal experiences of the individual.
The current emphasis is on the predominant role of culture in shaping human behaviour. Accordingly, there have been several approaches or perspectives to the study of behaviors and experiences.
Why are there so many approaches to psychology? Is one of them right, and others wrong? In a sense, all approaches are correct. We cannot fully accept one at the cost of the other. Each one provides a valid, but different understanding of reality. The photographs of a person taken from different views are different, yet all of these represent the same person. By taking different views of the same person, we can develop a better understanding of the complete physical features of the person. Similarly, ail the different psychological approaches represent a portion of the reality with its unique emphasis on a particular dimension of behaviour.
Approaches are judged whether they generate useful information. The different approaches discussed next are:
A. Biological approach
B. Behavioral approach
C. Cognitive approach
D. Psychodynamic approach,
E. Humanistic approach and
F. Socio-Cultural approach