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Seven approaches with unique
ways to explain our
behavior/overcome issues
Eclecticism: deriving ideas from
a diverse range of sources.

Biological Approach
aka: neurobiological

Emphasizes the influence of biology on our behavior

Focuses on how the body reacts to the environment in a

scientific way
The Brain
Look for connections between events in our brain and our behavior
Actions and reactions are caused from nerve cells

Chemical, activity, connections, hormones, genes,

neurotransmitters, etc

Belief that inherited tendencies influence

We have evolved both physically and

psychologically in response to our
Common emotions, like aggression are a result
of genetics
We become ill, medically and/or
psychologically, because of genetic damage or

Known theorist: Charles Darwin

Cognitive Approach
Study our mental processes
Ways we perceive information, make
mental images of the world, solve
problems, dreams and daydreams
Study what we refer to as the mind
Information Processing
Known Theorist: Albert Ellis

Founded by John B. Watson in 1915
We learn to behave in response to our environment as a result of
reinforcements (rewards and punishments)
Ivan Pavlov: theory of classic conditioning
Learn by association (conditioning)
Used for behavior shaping and therapy (systematic
desensitization or aversion therapy)
B.F. Skinner: theory of operant conditioning
Uses environmental reinforcers
Two types:
Positive reinforcement: encourages
Negative reinforcement: discourages
Used for behavior modification


This approach is interested in what it means to be human

Humans are basically good

Emphasizes the importance of self and what we think of ourselves

Self-awareness and capabilities to make choices to reach full potential
Person-centered therapy with emphasis on empathy, unconditional positive regard
Helps individual (client) become a more fully-functioning person
We have inbuilt biological drives that motivates us towards personal growth and
We are free to choose our own behavior
Came about in reaction to the behaviorist and psychoanalytical approaches
Founder: Carl Rogers

Stresses the influence of the unconscious &
early childhood experiences on behavior
Especially sexual and aggressive impulses
We hold/repress aggression (pent up
anger) until we explode
Founded by Sigmund Freud

The Sociocultural
Studies the influence of ethnicity, gender,
culture, and socioeconomic status on
We must examine the external social world
in which an individuals life has developed
Has profound implications for teaching,
schooling, and education
Lev Semyonovich Vygotsky