While studying psychology at a college or university, you will be required to learn a variety of different theories relating to this field. So much of the current knowledge on the way humans think and behave came about as a result of psychology theories. Even if you are studying for a different type of college degree such as women’s studies, social work and even business or economics, psychology theories will probably come up in your studies from time to time. Learning about these theories can greatly enrich your understanding of human behavior and thought processes.
The main psychology theories can be categorized into the following categories:
Social Psychology Theories
There have been many different psychology theories throughout the generations, and some are no longer considered valid. Many of these theories that have fallen out of favor are still taught in school courses, however, just to give students a better understanding of the past, present and future of the psychology field. One popular developmental theory, for example, is Freud’s Theory on Psychosexual Development.
Sigmund Freud believed that there were a series of stages during childhood where a person’s pleasure-seeking energies developed, which also affected how the person’s personality developed. He believed that by the age of five, most of a person’s personality was already developed, and that the libido was the driving force behind human behavior. These five stages, according to Freud, were the oral, anal, phallic, latent and genital stages. This psychology theory has largely fallen out of favor because it focuses almost entirely on male behavior; it is difficult to test scientifically; many of his predictions were vague, and there was little empirical research involved in any of his work.
Other important theories you will learn while getting your psychology degree or while taking any number of college courses include Pavlov’s Dog Theory (behavioral conditioning), Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (humanist theory), and the Bystander Effect Theory (social psychology). These are just a few of the most well-known theories that help us better understand why and how people think and behave as they do.
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