Schools of Psychology

Behavioral Psychology and Cognitive Psychology

Psychology involves the scientific study of the human mind and behaviour. The subject encompasses many schools of thought. One of them, cognitive psychology, deals with the study of the mind, while another, behavioural psychology, deals with observed behaviour.  Modern day studies in the subject understand that both the inner workings of the human mind and outward behaviors are important in order to complete a full psychological evaluation. This is despite previous disputes between cognitive and behavioral psychologists that one was more accurate a lens than the other.  

Cognitive psychologists had argued that the study of the human mind and processes of thought and decision making are more important than visible human behaviour and actions. But behavioral psychologists argued that a person’s outward behaviour and actions were more essential in order to make an analysis and that subconscious thought or genetics had nothing to do with it. This dispute has eventually led to an entirely new approach more commonly known now as the Cognitive-Behavioural approach towards psychology. 

Cognitive and behavioral psychology are both detailed and intricate schools of thought. For someone who is interested in studying in psychology, it is important to understand the difference between both of these approaches and the different therapy and treatment techniques that each of them use. 

Cognitive Psychology 

Cognitive psychology is concerned with how the human mind works, how it thinks, and the patterns and processes that are concerned with memory, decision making, language development, and in perceiving new concepts. Cognitive psychologists believe that a person’s psychological state is greatly influenced by subconscious thoughts from old memories or behaviors. They may also insist that a person’s genetic makeup and family history may have a great influence on their personality and behavior.    

When it comes to treatment procedures, cognitive psychologists use assessment and intervention methods involving psychoanalysis and counselling. They work first on conceptualizing and identifying the problem and then re-enforcing a positive change. 

Some of the pioneering cognitive psychologists are Ulric Neisser, Albert Bandura, and Jean Piaget.

Behavioral Psychology

Behavioural psychology is concerned with the outward manifestations of behavior and speech, and claims that these attributes are influenced and fashioned primarily by the external environment and the social interactions that the individual is exposed to. They believed that a person’s external and observable actions were the only things that should be looked at when making a psychological analysis, because genetics and natural inclinations have less to do with psychology. 

Behavioral psychology is a helpful approach to use when treating people with behavioral issues and obsessive disorders. They look at methods like Ivan Pavlov’s famous classical conditioning, operant conditioning, as well as other methods like systematic desensitization, modeling, chaining, etc.

Some of the pioneering behavioral psychologists include John Watson and Ivan Pavlov.

Overall, both these approaches form the basis of many modern day psychological discussions. Internal stimuli and environmental stimuli both influence an individual’s psychological make up. They are both important aspects to be considered when performing a treatment or therapy procedure. Newer Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) methods are increasingly popular, because they encompass important principles and points from both schools of thought. 

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