Saturday, December 19, 2009

Psychology Class- Part 2 of 12

In Part 1 I discussed the four primary perspectives in Psychology. That essay was submitted before any interaction with the professor.

The feedback of my essay is the context for the majority of what I have in this post

In her feedback, the professor noted some areas that she did not understand. She was unclear what I meant by "biological cousin" when referring to the Evolutionary Perspective and two phrases in one of my sentences threw her off.

The context for the last paragraph posted here was a discussion in class- I was discussing the Cognitive Perspective and why I thought that it was superior to the other perspectives. I made the mistake of using the term "superior". She said that she did not want us to think of one perspective as more valid than or "superior" to the other perspectives, since we were just being introduced to the material and had not been exposed to evidence for and against each one.

Though it was not required of me, I replied to her feedback and criticism in an effort to clarify my points and terms.

Here is what I replied with:
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"biological cousin"
I forgot that that could mean a couple different things. I'm likening the Evolutionary perspective to the theory of "biological evolution" in that they both rely on natural selection to remove bad mutations (biological evolution) or bad behaviors (evolutionary psychology).

Let me elaborate a little bit on the sentence that threw you for a loop:

"The overriding strength of the Cognitive theory is that, since it employs perspective (as opposed to actual and comprehensive reality*), it can account for the behavior of the theorists** of all the other four theories, and thus, the existence of the theories themselves"

*The Cognitive perspective states that a person will react to what they think they have experienced. What someone experiences may not be what is actually happening, their perspective of the event(s) is what drives their behavior. This explains why we think that people do dumb things- it seems dumb to us because our perspective may be more complete and thus, closer to reality than their perspective. The Cognitive perspective basically leaves room for people to react to something that may not be real (not is not real).

**The other theorists observed behavior (from their perspective- once again, not all of reality, just part of it, and maybe even incorrect). The Cognitive perspective explains their behavior (the formation of their theories) based on their perspective.

I also mentioned that even though the Cognitive perspective has the power to explain the other perspectives, it self-destructs by its own definition. The way this is "accomplished" is simply by remembering that the theorist(s) who came up with the Cognitive perspective was also observing behavior (from his perspective) and formulating a theory based on his perspective of what was happening. Since the perspective of any individual may not accurately reflect reality, the Cognitive perspective calls itself into question as being possibly: unreliable, totally false, or only part of the picture. I could take this even further to say that the parts (other three perspectives) of a part (the cognitive perspective) (a fraction multiplied by a fraction- in mathematical terms) make the other three perspectives even smaller pieces of the total psychological picture.

I want to add something else to the discussion here. I have to accept your criticism of calling the Cognitive Perspective the "superior" perspective. That term gives the impression of excluding the other perspectives, which is not what I'm attempting to communicate. The better term that I should be using for the Cognitive Perspective is "meta perspective"- meaning that it is all inclusive of the different perspectives- even the ones that seem to contradict each other (just without the contradictory claims). Since the Cognitive Perspective focuses on perspective (experience, thought, memory), it has plenty of room to accommodate the other perspectives (since each one was developed with specific observations, experiences, thoughts, and memories- maybe not so much memories since the theorists did record their observations on paper). But all the perspectives were developed with specific experience and thought in mind. In the end, I'm not arguing that the Cognitive Perspective should supplant the others; I am arguing that the Cognitive Perspective encompasses all the perspectives by virtue of its focus.
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Next week I expand a bit more on this whole subject and even provide an argument for Psychology providing evidence for the existence of something outside our universe.

For easier navigation in this series:

Introduction
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10
Part 11
Part 12

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