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July 30, 2013

Sample Essay on Psychology

Thesis statement
The following essay is about psychology. This essay deals with the three developmental theories from three of the basic perspective. These perspectives are psychoanalytic, learning and cognitive.
Psychology is the study of human or animal mental functions and behaviors. Basic research in psychology includes perception, cognition, attention, emotion, motivation, brain functioning, personality, behavior, and interpersonal relationships There are five basic perspectives for the developmental theories in psychology; Psychoanalytic, Learning, Cognitive, Evolutionary/Socio-biological and Contextual. Out of the five, three perspectives I chose to work over are Psychoanalytic, Cognitive and learning.
Psychoanalytic perspective
The psychoanalytic perspective is actually concerned with cataleptic sources that stimulate human behaviors. This perspective looks for to describe qualitative change, through experimental study (Freud, 1949). It suggests that human behaves according to his mind’s structure which is id, superego and ego.  According to these structures a person controls his mind. Our pleasure seeking instinct is satisfied by the id structure of our mind where as ego prohibits us from inappropriate behavior according to the set of rules that our mind have established.
Key Concepts for psychoanalytic Perspective
Sigmund Freud’s theory was the first theory that comes under the psychoanalytic perspective. According to him, the emotional conflicts are the effect of disturbing experiences in early childhood and native causes. According to his theory he believed that human personality is formed in the initial years of one’s life through the psychosexual developmental stages occurring at different times (Freud, 1949). His theory says that at each stage of psychosexual development the child need to be given a particular level of gratification any more or less of it will block the child in that particular phase needing help then in order to move on to next stage. He suggests that there are five stages of psychosexual development of a child; each of these occurring at different times (Freud, 1949). These stages include oral stage, anal stage, phallic stage, latency period, and the genital stage. The oral stage starts from the birth of a child which takes the form of anal stage after one year or half. The phallic stage is the most crucial stage according to Freud in which the child deals with the Oedipus complex conflict in his personality.  This stage results the latency stage. Genital stage is the stage in which the child restarts to focus on his genitals.
Oral stage occurs from the birth of the child and it remains until he turn into 12 to 18 months of age. At this stage, the infant derives pleasure from oral activities like sucking and eating. Anal stage is the stage which starts from the age of 12 to 18 months up to 3 years. At this stage, child receives pleasure from releasing and holding feces. The phallic stage occurs at the age of three years to six years. At this age somehow the children develop sexual attachment towards the parents of opposite sex. The latency stage starts from six years which is the time of middle childhood. This stage remains until puberty. At this stage, the child is able to develop different skill and learn socializing with people. The genital stage is the stage which starts from the time of puberty to adulthood in which huge physical changes of puberty occur, and the child undergoes a complete change.
The major flaw of the theory is that it revolves more around males and promotes male dominated society. This theory particularly focuses more over biological maturation and concentrate more on early years although experiences in later years of age may also bring about vast changes in personalities. The Freud failed to recognize these flaws in the theory.
Erickson’s psychological theory
Next theory to come up under this perspective was from Erick Erickson that is called Erickson’s psychosocial theory. It was the modification of previous theories. The Erickson focused on the societal factors in the development rather than focusing on the biological factors. He designed eight stages of development, Basic Trust vs. Mistrust (birth to 12-18 months), Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt (12-18 months to 3 years), Initiative vs. Guilt (3-6 years), Industry vs. Inferiority (6 years to puberty), Identity vs. Identity Confusion (puberty to young adulthood), Intimacy vs. Isolation (young adulthood), Generativity vs. Stagnation (middle adulthood) and Ego Integrity vs. Despair (late adulthood) (Stevens, 1983).  
Personal experience
In my early childhood gays I went to zoo where I saw a moose calf through my camera. I zoomed my camera on the elk herd win which I saw the moose calf first time. Since I had zoomed in the camera only on the moose calf I was unable to see the herd. The only thing that was visible to me was the moose calf which according to my vision was standing all alone. Other than at the zoo, I had never seen a moose. I was delighted and I started sharing my feelings with everyone in the crowd. Everyone appeared to share my excitement. In the joy of excitement I start crossing the rail in thirst of getting closer. However, I seemed to be the only one who was crossing the guard rail. Everyone around me starts yelling on me to stop me from getting closer but reason and sanity had long since fled my thoughts. I could hear David was pleading and calling my name as if he wants to forbid me from going closer. The sound start fading as I honed all my attention in on the calf. I was moving steadily and slowly towards the calf. When I was turned to see the crowd they were still yelling on me and pleading to go no further.
     I the muddy grass I felt that my tennis shoes were heated up by the warm spring water a Down into the muddy grass my tennis shoes felt warm with the heated spring water and I felt a slight smell of sulfur in the air. Once again my adrenalin had heightened all of my senses allowing me to take it all in as if it were happening in slow motion.  Like a hunter slowly moving in on his prey, I inched my way closer and closer toward my furry friend whose first coat of hair was still short and fluffy and his eyes seemed as big as saucers. His over sized feet and curious chewing made him completely adorable. Once again I was being drawn in by the enchanting look of adorable innocence. I failed to remember that God seldom leaves the young without some form of protection. Although the calf had spotted me, he seemed less curious of me than I was of him. I had gotten to within a few yards, when I raised my camera and suddenly realized that there was a male lying in the grass not fifteen feet from where I was standing. Although I was taken aback by his presence, I decided to capture the moment on film which was my biggest mistake.
     I must have a camera whose shutter sound irritates wild animals. First the snake and now the Bull Moose, who has leapt to his feet, and I am now running for dear life. In need of assistance I look to the crowd as they cheer me on with words like ‘run’ and ‘faster.’ I suppose I was fortunate that God provided such timely words of wisdom. I do not really know how your mind zeros in on a plan of action or escape but this chase seemed vaguely similar to my older brother chasing me down to pound on my head. I decided to go with an old escape tactic from my youth. I ran as fast as I could to the biggest tree, positioning myself exactly one hundred eighty degrees opposite the bull, who was snorting and flailing his antlers about. The crowd had discontinued their chants to run and had become ominously silent. As I glanced at them to see if help was on the way, every one of them, including David, had their cameras up and they were all snapping away.  The moose seemed a little perplexed by my strategy and as he moved one direction I would adjust to be exactly opposite the tree. He made noises as if to call me out into open combat. I ruled that out pretty quick. Once again I realized I was somewhere that I was not supposed to be, doing something I was not supposed to be doing.
     My heart was throbbing in my chest, I felt alive or about to die, and that always confuses me. The game ends only when someone gives up and since I had the most to lose, I was in for the long haul. Eventually the fourteen hundred pound bull tired of the game and began to head back to his bedding spot. The crowd was waving for me to come back but not yelling. Apparently they did not want to alert the moose to our new strategy, ‘sneak away.’ That is exactly what I did. And as I got back closer to the crowd, people began to applaud and cheer while continuing to filming. “You could have been killed.” “You got lucky.” Everyone seemed to have something to say. I scanned the crowd to find David and there he was with his fingers interlocked behind his head and shaking it in disbelief. (Customer’s name, 2010)
Learning perspective
This perspective contains the Behavioral and Social learning theory. This theory does not relate to unconscious forces but relate to observable behavior. This is studied completely through experimentations. The Behaviorism theory describes the pragmatic behaviors as expected reaction to testing. According to this theory, there are no limits of learning from the environment. Although the biology creates some limits. There are two kinds of learning in the psychological theory. The first one is classical conditioning and the other is operant conditioning. Classical Conditioning is the Learning that is based on association of a stimulus that does not ordinarily elicit a response with another stimulus that does elicit a response. (Ivan Pavlov, 2010). Operant Conditioning says that Learning is the consequence of operating in the environment, through reinforcement or punishment.” (Watson, 2010) 
“Experiential learning is the process of making meaning from direct experience. It is said by Aristotle that for the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them. It was experienced by one of my personal friend that experimental learning is a great deal in life. He became a Flight Attendant in 2000 for United Airlines; their instructors were always explaining to them what we would need to do in an emergency. He said that they had reviewed books and tools every day, but when the time had arrived would that be sufficient. He always thought what he was really going to do if he was ever put in that situation. He remembered it like it was yesterday when he was on the flight from JFK to Chicago O’Hare and encountered an irate passenger. He recalled what we learned in training but it was not until he was put into that position that he really knew what to do. That passenger was very upset because they were being delayed into O’Hare due to weather. He was finally able to calm the passenger down by trying to reason with that person and explained to him that this was something the airlines could not prevent. He learned through that experience that it does not always go as you are trained or shown. Every situation is different and experience is one of the strongest tools for learning.” (Edwards, 2010)
Cognitive theory
Cognitive theory is about the study of psychology that endeavors to elaborate human behavior by thought process. The theory assumes that human being use logic in making choices which are sensible for them. Information processing is a common description of human mind processing and it is used to compare a computer with human mind.
Jean Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive
Jean Piaget (1896-1980) believed that the dynamic system of change is reality. According to Piaget, the relation between a person and environmental intelligence is the basic mechanism that ensures balance and this is gained by the actions of a person who develops on the world. The structures that are gradually coordinated with each other for mental operations are language, mental images, and numerical notation (Piaget & Inhelder, 1973). Piaget described four major stages of cognitive developments those are Sensorimotor, pre-operational, concrete operational and formal operational stage.
Sensorimotor Stage
In this stage infants develop and understand sensory experiences by giving response to the world for what they listen and see. Infants, whatever action they perform in the world, gain knowledge by them. Sensorimotor stage is further divided into sub stages. Simple Reflex is the stage that occurs when the baby has spent 6 weeks of his life. In this stage Piaget has described three basic reflexes such as sucking of objects in the mouth, following the objects with the eyes and to see them moving and grasping an object when it comes in the palm. First habit and primary and phase of primary circular reactions are the stages that start from the 6th week of baby’s birth and remains until the baby turn to 4 month in age. In this phase passive reactions caused by operant conditioning are begin. Phase of Secondary circular reaction is the stage which starts when the baby has spent 4 month of his life. It is basically associated with the primary development between vision and apprehension. Coordination of Secondary circular reaction: This stage takes place from 8-12 months and is related to the coordination of vision and touch, hand and eye. Tertiary circular reactions, novelty and curiosity are the stage that starts in the 12th month of baby’s life. In this stage infants become familiar with many features and objects. This stage deals with the basic discovery of new means to achieve goals. Internalization of schemes is the last stage. This process is of about 6-months after tertiary circular reaction. Infants build their ability to use symbols and are associated with insight and true creativity
Albert Bandura’s Cognitive Theory
Albert Bandura stated regarding the cognitive theory that it would be exceedingly laborious learning if people had to account only on the outcomes of their actions. Most of the human behavior can be learned by observations through models (Bandura, 1973).If someone is going to learn anything then he or she has to pay attention. This can be illustrated by the considering that if a person is feeling sleepy or tired then he will not be able to pay attention and hence he will learn improperly. Retention means to remember what you learn. Learning process is about remembering things that we have learned which requires attention. If someone pays more attention his/her mind could also retain the mental images and verbal descriptions. Translating an image into actual behavior by daydreaming is called reproduction. Whatever is analyzed by a learner (reasonable) will become a source of motivation later on.
Erickson’s view on cognitive perspective
Erikson believed that play is an important key that works to solve the conflicts of a child’s behavior. Play creates an environment that provides help in understanding the child’s imagination, feeling and fantasies. It also provides the manipulation skills and boosts creativity in the child. It helps the child to improve his relationship with his fellows. The first stage is the stage which starts when the baby is in second year of his life. According to Erikson, a child learns to count on people in this stage (Erikson’s development stages, 1990). Second Stage is the stage between two years to four years of a child in which parents allow their toddler to explore the surrounding by which the infant grows with the feeling of independence. This is a stage in which caretaker should provide proper care to the child for building self-control and proper balance (Erikson, 1950). Third Stage is from 3 years to 6 years of age. In this stage children learn how to prepare for the challenges of life. Fourth Stage is the stage of a child from 6-12 years and is the school-going age for the child. The feeling of success is felt by a child in this stage.  Fifth Stage is the adolescent stage which starts at 12 years and finishes till 19 or 20 years of age. In this stage learning of ego-identity takes place. In this stage a boy or a girl learns how he or she fits in the society (Davis, Clifton, 1995).
The three similarities in cognitive, psychoanalytic and learning theories are development of behavior, intelligence, and play. In cognitive, psychoanalytic and learning theories the most common thing is that they deal with the behavior of development of an individual with respect to his surrounding and environment. In cognitive, psychoanalytic and learning theories the other similarity that I found is that they describe the intelligent behavior of a child. This intelligent behavior is unique and distinguishes him from others. They illustrates that this intelligence is helpful in making his personality. In cognitive, psychoanalytic and learning process play is also one of the similarities. Play could make a child far from criminal activities and would help to be a part of the competitive world.
Three Major Differences among the Three Theories
Learning is a continuous process by which the development of human personality occurs, says the Behavior and learning theory and in psychoanalytical perspective theories the theorists claim that the development occurs in stages which depends on biological changes and social influences. According to cognitive perspective, development relies on experimenting and self-experiences in different ages years to years. Unconscious forces are involved according to psychoanalytic perspective in the human development, while the learning perspective comes with an opposite idea which says that learning is a conscious process and can only be achieved by attention. The cognitive theory says that thinking and observation is the main point in development of humans. Experimentation is not possible in psychoanalytical perspective theories, as the biological changes cannot be experimented in certain conditions. According to the learning perspective theories, everything is learned through experimenting. Cognitive perspective theories are based more on informal observations rather than experiments.
Interaction of cognitive, physical, and emotional development in the overall development of the child
There are several elements that are required for the development of a child. Several forces and factors work together in the building of personality of a child. According to developmental theories there can be different objects that can influence the development process of a child. It is observed that three forces work together in the development of child. Cognitive development theory says that a child uses his thought process to understand the things around him. Physical development has its own importance as it affects the children psychology and in this way it relates to emotional development.
 A Child keenly observes the behavior of other children around him and they compare themselves with their fellows. At this place any problem in physical development will surely affects the child emotionally which causes the damage in personality. Cognitive development is also related to emotional development because deficiency in mental growth disturbs his personality. Emotional development occurs when the surroundings of the child are supportive. This makes him emotionally strong and also in other areas of life. In order to develop a successful personality of a child, emotional, physical and cognitive development is necessary. This mutual working of the developments at different levels makes it easy for the overall development to take place in correct manner.
Importance of normal child and adolescent development
In order to make a child a useful personality for the society, it is important to understand his problems and provide moral learning’s so that he would be able to solve them ethically. Grumbling can make a spoil the child’s mind. In the initial stages of childhood it is an important thing to understand the behavior of a child. Parental guidance is the essential thing that builds the child personality and makes him able to reach his goals. Education and play are those factors, if provided to a child, would play a great role in the development of skill and personality. If the proper guidance is not supplied to the child or adolescent for the improvement of his behavior and personality then personality disturbance may occur which could lead him towards the wrong path.

Bandura. (1973). Aggression: A social learning analysis
Davis and Clifton. (1995) Identity vs. Role Confusion
Erikson’s development stages, 1990
Freud, S. (1949). An outline of psychoanalysis. New York: Norton
Piaget & Inhelder. (1973). Memory and intelligence.
Stevens, Richard. (1983). Eric Erikson: An Introduction. New York: St. Martins.


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