Running Head: FOUNDATIONS OF PSYCHOLOGY PAPER Foundations of Psychology Paper PSY/300 November 7, 2011 Betsy Ferronato Foundations of Psychology Paper * This paper will discuss the major schools of thought in psychology and examine their major underlying assumptions.

The paper will also identify the primary biological foundations of psychology linked to behavior. According to our reading in psychology is the scientific investigation of mental processes and behavior. Mental processes include how a person thinks, feels, remembers as well as a person’s behavior.When a doctor needs to understand a person they need to know the person’s biology, psychological experience, and cultural context.

What people experience during their life from birth to adulthood is what shapes how they feel and think. Early psychologists established several approaches and schools of thoughts of psychology. They came up with these by research and study which will be discussed throughout this paper. * Biopsychology perspective: Is a school of thought in psychology.Biopsychology is the field that examines the physical basis of psychological phenomena such as motivation, emotion, and stress; also called behavioral neuroscience, (Kowalski & Westen, 2009).

In other words, Biopsychology is a form or branch of psychology that analyzes how the brain and neurotransmitters influence how we are motivated, what our emotions are, and how we handle stress or feelings. In this field of psychology it can be considered a combination of basic psychology and neuroscience, (Kowalski & Westen, 2009). Psychodynamic perspective: This perspective was initiated by Sigmund Freud to focus on the dynamic interplay of mental forces (Kowalski & Westen, 2009). There are three key premises to this perspective.

First, how people think, feel, and wish determines their actions. Second, these mental events happen outside a person’s conscious awareness. And third, a person most likely will not know the chain of psychological events that helped them come to their thoughts, feelings, actions, or behaviors.Psychodynamic perspective basically means that people behave because of an inner force that the person has little control over and are not aware of it, (Kowalski & Westen, 2006). * Behavioral perspective: The perspective pioneered by John Watson and B. F.

Skinner, which focuses on the relation between observable behaviors and environmental events or stimuli: also called behaviorism, (Kowalski & Westen, 2009). What this means is a person’s behavior is determined by their external environment, not their inner self. Cognitive perspective: “The cognitive perspective focuses on the way people perceive, process, and retrieve information.Cognitive psychologists are interested in how memory works, how people solve problems and make decisions, and similar questions.

The primary metaphor originally underlying the cognitive perspective was the mind as computer. In recent years, many cognitive psychologists have turned to the brain itself as a source of metaphors. The primary method of the cognitive perspective is experimental”, (Kowalski & Westen, 2009). Cognitive perspective basically means because of what we know, understand, and think about the world determines our behavior.

Evolutionary perspective: This perspective is based on the theory that people behave a certain way because of our ancestors. Humans had to evolve and adapt in order to survive and reproduce according to their environment. The evolutionary perspective considers how the nervous system had to evolve into what it is today. The nervous system is a state of complexity and after years of research scientists have come to believe that because of the interaction between biological inheritance and the environment determines our behavior. * * A person’s physical body plays a vital role in how they behave.

The nervous system carries signals to and from the brain, the spinal cord, glands, and muscles. Our nerve endings also are stimuli receptors; transmit a signal to the brain. When this happens it causes neurons inside the brain to be activated which produces a reaction. This reaction can be a muscle to contract or relax, or it might be to tell a gland to produce adrenalin it stressed or scared.

The genetic make-up of a person will influence how the brain will react to different stimuli. The environment the person was raised in and previous experiences also play a factor. If a person has a isease or has had a brain injury then the signals may not carry as well to the brain or nervous system as well. An example is a person with Multiple sclerosis (M. S.

) the signals do not always travel a smooth and straight path from the nervous system to the brain. * Reference: Kowalski, R. , & Westen, D. (2009). Psychology (5th ed.

). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. Multiple Sclerosis. (2011).

Retrieved on November 7, 2011 from http://www. mayoclinic. com/health/multiple-sclerosis/DS00188 Nervous System. (2011).

Retrieved on November 7, 2011 from http://www. absoluteastronomy. com/topics/Nervous_system