Psychology In The Last 100 Years – Part 3

The Impact It Had On Society

Psychology underwent some considerable changes in the last century. The way people used to think back then is different in a few fundamental ways, regarding topics which are a big part of our lives. With the breakthroughs we have made in the last 100 years, we have managed not only to find the answers to some very vital questions but also to point out and fight misconceptions that negatively affected many people.

And so, how exactly has the advancement of psychology affected society in the last 100-something years?

Let’s have a look!

Behaviorism

Behavioral Psychology

Behaviorism was popularized in the early 20th century. Behaviorists believe that the environment causes our perceptions and actions. Thus, our behavior is simply a consequence of stimulus-response. They also support the notion that our minds start as a blank slate and focus only on observable actions.

This implies that apart from reflexes and capacity for learning, everything else is due to environmental factors and can be broken down into simple objective notions. On the positive side, behaviorism gives psychology more credibility because of its focus on facts and makes people measure behaviors and conduct experiments.

However, it disregards biology and mediational processes and more importantly, implies little to no free will. This and the fact that it completely overlooks emotions and thoughts had an overall negative effect on society. Today, a big portion of behaviorism is frowned upon because of its core ideology and common practice of entirely ignoring human emotions and complex processes.

Nevertheless, behaviorism has contributed to psychology, and its impact can still be seen today, namely in behavior therapy.

The Humanistic Approach

Biological Psychology

Humanism focuses on each individual in their entirety and does so by validating their uniqueness. This approach was developed as a rebellion against behaviorism and gained traction in the late ’60s. Its core beliefs are that humans have free will, are innately good, and want to change themselves and the world for the better.

Another vital part of humanism is that it focuses on the subjective conscious experiences of each individual, deeming this an essential aspect of being human. However, it’s important to mention that this approach also disregards biology and is highly subjective, thus making any sort of testing difficult.

Humanism had a positive impact on society regarding its focus on individuals and introducing client-centered therapy, which continues to help countless people every day. On the flip side, humanism lacks almost any empirical evidence and is ethnocentric, focusing on individualistic societies as opposed to collective ones (for example USA as opposed to India).

Thanks to this approach, however, a more holistic point of view was born, and this changed people’s lives on an individual level for the better.

Cognitive Psychology

Psychodynamic Psychology

The technology revolution made its way into all fields of science, and psychology was no different. Cognitive psychologists view the mind as similar to a computer, and they accept the use of the scientific method while rejecting introspection. They also acknowledge the existence of internal mental states and focus mainly on memory, language, attention and perception.

This approach positively affects society in different aspects – because it views psychology as a science, it offers a lot of tangible proof and develops multiple research methods. Therefore it has been implemented in many different fields such as education and neuroscience. However, the cognitive approach has a limited focus on the processes in the brain, brushing aside some of the creative, emotional, and social aspects of it.

Today, this is one of the approaches in psychology used the most and has had a massive influence on society. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is just one example here!

To Wrap It Up

The way psychology has impacted our lives can be seen in many different aspects. From the way our societies act to our individual ways of thinking. The different approaches in psychology have had a massive effect on the world and will undoubtedly continue to do so.

What’s interesting here are the parallels between certain discoveries, different approaches, and social events. Through these connections, one can quickly see how integral psychology really is in shaping the world. We hope you’ve learned something from this article series and will continue to do so by frequently visiting our blog!

Stay tuned!

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