As per views of Christian Nordqvist (2018), Psychology refers to the science of human mind and behaviour which includes both conscious as well as unconscious phenomena. It undertakes human thoughts and feelings into consideration and deals with brain processes to identify how a human mind works. The aim of report below is to cover the main theories associated with different psychological perspective towards emotional experience. The objectives to achieve is to analyse the theories, compare the key explanations of emotional experience and assessment of importance of each psychological perspective according to the degree up to which they influence in changing human behaviour.
Literature review of main theories associated with different psychological perspectives towards emotional experience
A perspective or approach in psychology refers to the view and beliefs about behaviour of human mind. It includes the way they function and the key aspects that are worthy of studying and methods of research appropriate for these studies. For emotional experience, however the assumption of these perspectives is common, there are different theories within them.
These perspectives are mentioned below:
Behavioural Perspective: This approach undertakes the assumption that behaviour (response) of an individual as well as their emotions are controlled by external environmental factors (stimuli). There are two main theories and processes under this perspective which are Classical Conditioning by Ivan Pavlov and Operant Conditioning by B.F. Skinner. According to both these individuals, human behaviour is triggered by their experiences from external environmental stimuli and this perspective rejects the concept of people having a free will (Weinberg and Gould, 2018).
Cognitive Perspective: This approach supports the ideology of emotions and expectations being the triggers for human behaviour. It focuses on the memory and thinking processes and covers the aspect of cognitive development which undertakes these process changes over long-term. Jean Piaget suggested a theory where Past experiences play a crucial role in emotions, problem solving and remembering things.
Biological Perspective: According to this perspective, genetics and human evolution play vital roles in influencing change in human behaviour by natural selection. It includes all the physical basis for human behaviour like nervous systems brains and immune systems that govern emotional experiences of the individuals.
Sociological Perspective: This approach or perspective undertakes the whole society as an influencing agent of human behaviour and emotional experience. The ideology which is supported by this perspective is that groups and communities which individuals belong to influence their emotional experience. It encourages to take a deeper look at the society and determines social situations to influence the feelings and thoughts of other human beings (Putnam, 2018).
Analysis of attempt of theories in understanding emotional experience
Each perspective have their own assumptions and theories on how best human behaviour and emotional experience are influenced and what factors result in change in these experiences. Following is the analysis of how best these theories understand emotional experience
Where Behavioural Perspective is concerned, emotional experience is governed by external environmental factors. To explain this, there are two theories which are discussed above:
- Classical Conditioning (CC): Emotional experiences according to this theory are triggered by natural stimuli and reflexes. However, this theory has been applied to dogs where they salivate by a bell's sound and built an association between food and bell. Similar to this, in humans, this theory could be best explained when the consideration is about fear. It undertakes systematic desensitization of various phobias which is a stepwise exposure of a feared stimulus by individuals.
- Operant Conditioning: another theory where the concentration is on voluntary and involuntary human behaviour. Individual's motive plays a role in inducing their emotions. In this theory, three types of operants were defined that follows human behaviour and emotions. Neutral operants were the environmental responses that doesn't have any impact on the probability of repetitive behaviour. Reinforcers are those environmental responses that enhance the probability of repetitive human behaviour. For instance if an activity and its consequence trigger happy emotions in an individual, then that person is likely to repeat the behaviour (Pfeifer, 2018). Contrary to reinforcements, punishments are concerned in eliminating the possibility of a certain type of behaviour. However, in case of punishments, aggression is one emotion that increases in an individuals.
For Cognitive Perspective that undertakes examination of internal brain processes like memory, language and problem solving into consideration, the theory that governs human behaviour and emotional experience is the theory suggested by Jean Piaget which focuses on cognitive growth of children. It suggests how children develop logical and scientific thinking overtime and progress with time. From this perspective, expectations and feelings play a vital role in developing specific memories about certain perspectives. These expectations trigger the emotions and human behaviour during activities and help individuals colour their memories about those activities.
Biological Perspective undertakes elements of human biology such as genes and evolution. The theorists of this perspectives who have studied behavioural genomics state that genes have a crucial role in influencing behaviour and emotional experience of individuals. According to these theorists, biological factors like hormones, chromosomes and even gender shape up a person's emotional quotient. Either the emotional facet of a person is inherited (genes) or maybe adaptive (evolution). An instance would be the psychological disorder developed in individuals through a state of panic from a particular situation or individual. This could also help in understanding abnormal behaviour and in individuals as well (Ornstein, 2018).
Sociological Perspective actives the role of society in shaping up lives of individuals. It undertakes all those areas of society that are somewhat ignored or misunderstood. Theorists studying this perspective suggests that individuals mould their emotions according to the society in which they belong. Human emotions like emotions, attitudes attraction as well as aggression in individuals are influenced by the society. For instance, during protests, the feeling of anger and aggression is mutual in individuals from that of the whole group participating in the activity. Thus, this theory makes society the main influencer of human emotions.
Comparison of explanations of emotional experience
Psychology covers the aspects of emotional experience in individuals and its perspectives explain various factors that influence these experiences. Various theories govern and interprets their own versions of how emotions in humans are influenced. In addition to this, various aspects of an individual's internal and external environment are studied, examined and judged by these theories (Nisbett, 2018).
These explanations by different theories are further compared in order to develop a better understanding of emotional experience. The comparison is mentioned below:
Behavioural Perspective and Cognitive Perspectives:
As two of the most important perspective in judging emotional experiences, behavioural as well as cognitive perspective of psychology have various elements that makes them different from each other. The emphasis of behavioural perspective is on external factors that affects human emotions and behaviour. It includes external stimuli as well as conditionings, punishments and reinforcements. Basically, the concept of this perspective is that emotions and behaviours are learned from certain associations.
For cognitive perspective, this approach undertakes all the internal brain processes to determine what influence human emotions and behaviours. The acquisition, process and storing of information is considered as few of the main concepts. It takes improvements in these processes into consideration such as improvement in memories, enhancements in decision making and so on. While external stimuli plays a prominent role in behavioural perspective, in cognitive, linguistics, philosophy and neuroscience are of vital importance. Like behavioural, this does not rely on certain subjective perceptions.
Biological and Sociological Perspectives:
These perspectives too have certain theories about the influencers of emotional experiences. While biological perspective links at biological factors determining human behaviour and emotions, sociological perspective considers society to be the most important agent that induce changes in emotional experiences (Martin and Ford, 2018).
Again, one uses internal as well as other uses external factors that play a role in emotional experience. A common factor like aggression could be treated differently under both the perspective. For instance, biological perspective would undertake biological roots lying behind such aggressive behaviour. This might include genetic factors like inheritance or factors like brain injuries that trigger such emotions. For this same issue of aggression, sociological perspective would have another point of view (Freud, 2018). It would treat aggression as a result of the individual growing in a community and environment where such behaviour and emotions are instigated as well as where society accepts and promotes such behaviour. The viewpoints of both these perspective about emotions is way different and are applicable in different situations experienced by individuals that have a wide impact on their human behaviour and emotional experience.
Assessment of importance of each psychological perspective according to their degree of influence in changing human behaviour
In their own manner and approach, each psychological perspective have a crucial function to perform in understanding emotional experiences. However different, these psychological perspectives understand human behaviour and influence it to a great extent. However, the degree up to which they induce changes in human behaviour is different. Behavioural Perspective would influence behaviour in high degrees. As per the theories are concerned, human behaviour could be changed and influenced in variety of ways which includes ways of classic and operant conditioning. As external stimuli is likely to differ and human nature is adaptive, in this manner, the degree of behavioural perspective in changing human behaviour is quite high. In contrast, in Cognitive Perspective, this degree of changing human behaviour is low. This is because humans could adapt the way in which stores and processes information. However, once they adapt a certain behaviour of performing such practices, it is highly unlikely that these behaviours are changed in the long run. Thus, the degree up to which Cognitive Perspective changes human behaviour is quite low (Espín, 2018).
The impact of Biological Perspective upon changes in human behaviour is very hight. Whether inheritance or induced changes due to injuries, human behaviour is quite frequently triggered by this perspective. Emotional experiences too are quite effectively influenced by this perspective as it undertakes all the aspects related to human brain and body. This approach is quite important in understanding and changing human behaviour to a great degree. Sociological Perspective on the other hand has moderate impact on changes of human behaviour. Reason of this is that individuals develop certain perceptions, behaviours and beliefs in accordance with those that are followed by their societies and the communities they belong to. Moreover, an individual spends a fair share of time with people of their own community and thus, the kind of human behaviour they adapt during such times, is the kind of behaviour they carry with them and pass on to others (Espin, 2018). These practices are unlikely to witness a change, which reduces the possibility of any shift in human behaviour. Where change could be occurred is according to changes in societies and communities having different set of beliefs and values. There, individuals in order to adapt and sustain moulds their behaviour in accordance to those communities and social circles. However, the core practices and behaviour about certain aspects still remains the same for these individuals which makes the degree of Sociological Perspective changing human behaviour moderate.
It is quite uncertain to determine the exact proportion of how these perspectives influence human behaviour and emotional experiences. However, each of them holds a special position when it comes to judgements and determination of factors influencing behaviour and emotions of individuals. Thus, knowledge and study of each perspective is quite imperative for better understanding of individual psychology (Drenth, 2018).
Thus, it is concluded from the report that Psychology helps in understanding human nature and its perspectives are quite important to determine emotional experiences in individuals. A brief analysis could allow in understanding theories governing such experiences in human beings. Comparison of these theories could give a better insight to understanding emotional experiences and their comparison could allow to gain a better perception about the degree up to which they understand these experiences. Lastly, it is imperative that a brief assessment be made on the degree up to which they influence human behaviour and emotional experiences in individuals.
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