Different theories of psychology

List of Popular Theories of Psychology


List of popular theories of psychology: 1. Piaget Theory of Development 2. Kohlberg’s Theory of Moral Development 3. Spearman’s Two-Factor Theory 4. Thurstone’s Multiple Factor Theory 5. Cannon’s Theory 6. The Psycho-Analytic Theory (Freud) 7. The Constitutional Theory (Sheldon).

1. Piaget Theory of Development:

Stages of Intellectual Development:

Piaget may be best known for his stages of cognitive development. Piaget discovered that children think and reason differently at different periods in their lives. He believed that everyone passed through an invariant sequence of four qualitatively distinct stages. Invariant means that a person cannot skip stages or reorder them. Although every normal child passes through the stages in exactly the same order, there is some variability in the ages at which children attain each stage.


The four stages are- sensorimotor—birth to 2 years; preoperational—2 years to 7 years; concrete operational—7 years to 11 years; and formal operational (abstract thinking)—11 years and up. Each stage has major cognitive tasks which must be accomplished. In the sensorimotor stage, the mental structures are mainly concerned with the mastery of concrete objects. The mastery of symbols takes place in the preoperational stage. In the concrete stage, children learn mastery of classes, relations, and numbers and how to reason. The last stage deals with the mastery of thought.

How Children Learn:

We discovered that education is not something which the teacher does, but that it is a natural process which develops spontaneously in the human being. It is not acquired by listening to words, but in virtue of experiences in which the child acts on his environment. The teacher’s task is not to task, but to prepare and arrange a series of motives for cultural activity in a special environment made for the child.

Dr. Maria Montessori:


A central component of Piaget’s developmental theory of learning and thinking is that both involve the participation of the learner. Knowledge is not merely transmitted verbally but must be constructed and reconstructed by the learner. Piaget asserted that for a child to know and construct knowledge of the world, the child must act on objects and it is this action which provides knowledge of those objects; the mind organizes reality and acts upon it.

The learner must be active; he is not a vessel to be filled with facts. Piaget’s approach to learning is a readiness approach. Readiness approaches in developmental psychology emphasize that children cannot learn something until maturation gives them certain prerequisites. The ability to learn any cognitive content is always related to their stage of intellectual development. Children who are at a certain stage cannot be taught the concepts of a higher stage.

Intellectual growth involves three fundamental processes- assimilation, accommodation and equilibration. Assimilation involves the incorporation of new events into pre-existing cognitive structures. Accommodation means existing structures change to accommodate to the new information. This dual process, assimilation-accommodation, enables the child to form schema. Equilibration involves the person striking a balance between himself and the environment, between assimilation and accommodation.

When a child experiences a new event, disequilibrium sets in until he is able to assimilate and accommodate the new information and thus attain equilibrium. There are many types of equilibrium between assimilation and accommodation that vary with the levels of development and the problems to be solved. For Piaget, equilibration is the major factor in explaining why some children advance more quickly in the development of logical intelligence than do others.

Implications for Education:

A Piagetian-inspired curricula emphasizes a learner-centred educational philosophy. The teaching methods which most American school children are familiar with teacher lectures, demonstrations, audio-visual presentations, teaching machines, and programmed instruction do not fit in with Piaget’s ideas on the acquisition of knowledge. Piaget exposed active discovery learning environments in our schools.

Intelligence grows through the twin processes of assimilation and accommodation; therefore, experiences should be planned to allow opportunities for assimilation and accommodation. Children need to explore, to manipulate, to experiment, to question, and to search out answers’ for themselves—activity is essential.

However, this does not mean that children should be allowed to do whatever they want. So what is the role of the teacher? Teachers should be able to assess the child’s present cognitive level; their strengths and weaknesses. Instruction should be individualized as much as possible and children should have opportunities to communicate with one another, to argue and debate issues. He saw teachers as facilitators of knowledge—they are there to guide and stimulate the students.

Allow children to make mistakes and learn from them. Learning is much more meaningful if the child is allowed to experiment on his own rather than listening to the teacher lecture. The teacher should present students with materials and situations and occasions that allow them to discover new learning.

In his book to understand is to Invent Piaget said the basic principle of active methods can be expressed as follows:

“To understand is to discover, to reconstruct by rediscovery, and such conditions must be complied with if in the future individuals are to be formed who are capable of production and creativity and not simply repetition”. In active learning, the teacher must have confidence in the child’s ability to learn on his own.

Critique of Piaget’s Theory of Intellectual Development:

Erikson’s theory may be questioned as to whether his stages must be regarded as sequential, and only occurring within the age ranges he suggests. There is debates as to whether people only search for identity during the adolescent years or if one stage needs to happen before other stages can be completed. However, Erikson states that each of these processes occur throughout the lifetime in one form or another, and he emphasizes these “phases” only because it is at these times that the conflicts become most prominent.

Most empirical research into Erikson has related to his views on adolescence and attempts to establish identity. His theoretical approach was studied and supported, particularly regarding adolescence, by James E. Marica. Marica’s work has distinguished different forms of identity, and there is some empirical evidence that those people who form the most coherent self-concept in adolescence are those who are most able to make intimate attachments in early adulthood. This supports Eriksonian theory, in that it suggests that those best equipped to resolve the crisis of early adulthood are those who have most successfully resolved the crisis of adolescence.

2. Kohlberg’s Theory of Moral Development:

Lawrence Kohlberg’s stages of moral development constitute an adaptation of a psychological theory originally conceived by the Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget. Kohlberg began work on this topic while a psychology graduate student at the University of Chicago in 1958, and expanded and developed this theory throughout his life.

The theory holds that moral reasoning, the basis for ethical behaviour, has six identifiable developmental stages, each more adequate at responding to moral dilemmas than its predecessor. Kohlberg followed the development of moral judgement for beyond the ages studied earlier by Piaget, who also claimed that logic and morality develop through constructive stages. Expanding on Piaget’s work, Kohlberg determined that the process of moral development was principally concerned with justice, and that it continued throughout the knowledge’s lifetime, a notion that spawned dialogue on the philosophical implications of such research.

The six stages of moral development are grouped into three levels- pre-conventional morality, conventional morality, and post-conventional morality.

For his studies, Kohlberg relied on stories such as the Heinz dilemma, and was interested in how individuals would justify their actions if placed in similar more dilemmas. He then analyzed the form of moral reasoning displayed, rather than its conclusion, and classified it as belonging to one of six distinct stages.

There have been critiques of the theory from several perspectives. Arguments include that it emphasizes justice to the exclusion of other moral values, such as caring; that there is such an overlap between stages that they should more properly be regarded as separate domains; or that evaluations of the reasons for moral choices are mostly post hoc rationalizations (by both decision makers and psychologists studying them) of essentially intuitive decisions.

Nevertheless, an entirely new field within psychology was created as a direct result of Kohlberg’s theory, and according to Haggbloom et al. s study of the most eminent psychologists of the 20th century, Kohlberg was the 16th most frequently cited psychologist in introductory psychology text-books throughout the century, as well as the 30th most eminent overall.

Kohlberg’s scale is about how people justify behaviours and his stages are not a method of ranking how moral someone’s behaviour is. There should however be a correlation between how someone scores on the scale and how they behave, and the general hypotheses is that moral behaviour is more responsible, consistent and predictable from people at higher levels.

3. Spearman’s Two-Factor Theory:

He did not believe in the concept of faculty psychology that mental powers are independent of one another. According to Spearman theory, mental powers are unitary. He did research work at Oxford. He divided students in two groups and gave them tests in many school subjects and then calculated correlation in every two subjects, the correlation thus obtained was always positive. According to Spearman this is because something is common in all tests. This he called general mental ability, every work requires some specific ability which can be denoted by ‘g’ and’s’.

Spearman Gave Two Types of Abilities:

(a) General ability, and

(b) Specific ability.

Spearman’s two factors theory can be explained by his ‘Tetrad Equation’.

For example four tests are given in school subjects, their correlation matrix are arranged in following table:

These equations are always zero, because there is something common, factorial analysis method devised by Spearman (1927). We obtain two factor loadings.

Early in the present century, Spearman found that diverse test of mental abilities usually gave inter-correlations which could be wholly accounted only by a single general factor plus specific factors. Tetrad difference criterion is used.

Spearman was one of the first to attack the factor problem. He worked with groups of four tests.

Spearman’s Famous Tetrad Differences:

Divergence of these differences form zero.

Schematic Representation of Spearman’s Two Factor Theory:

Criticism of the Spearman’s Theory:

The factor analysis approach helped in given full-fledged theory of intelligence.

1. Tetrad equations are not always equal to zero, it means there is no general ability in all tests.

2. It is very difficult to calculate equation suggested by Spearman.

3. According to him each ability consisted of general and specific abilities, while every job has its own specific ability.

4. Thurstone’s Multiple Factor Theory (P.M.A.):

L.L. Thurstone also made a factor analytical study and Sound seven factors on the basis by application of this test on Chicago University students. He found seven factors when applied the test on children.

(a) Spatial Abilities (S)

(b) Perceptual Ability (P)

(c) Numerical Ability (N)

(d) Verbal Comprehension (V)

(e) Memory Ability (M)

(f) Deductive or Inductive Reasoning (R)

(g) Word Fluency (W)

Thurstone called these abilities primary or fundamental mental abilities (P.M.A.).

The loadings of multiple factor pattern is referred as simple structure. It is often used in analyzing tests of abilities. It requires three or four factors.

Multiple Factor Theory L.L. Thurstone:

The loadings of multi-factor pattern are referred to as simple.

Tabular Representation of Multi-Factor Theory by Thurstone:

5. Cannon’s Theory:

Cannon’s Theory regarding emotion also is known as the ‘Emergence Theory’ or the ‘Hypothalamic theory’. According to his view, the major part in emotional reactions is played by the excretion of the hypothalamus. In this view, the cerebral cortex is the centre of emotional experience while the internal brain or diencephalon, which is formed for hypothalamus and thalamus, is the centre of emotional expression, stimulation and effects.

The nervous impulses reach the thalamus through the sensory nerves. The thalamus attaches to this an emotional quality and passes it on the cerebral cortex so that the person experiences a specific emotion. While sending it on the cerebral cortex, the thalamus deflects a part of the nervous impulse to the viscera and the muscles. This results in a change in them which can be observed.

It is undoubtedly true that Cannon’s theory is more appropriate than James-Lange theory. It has been provide that the hypothalamus does have a hand in the control of emotions. The acceptance of this theory makes it possible to understand how the emotions remain unaffected by the spinal cord or by the mild reactions of the viscera.

It also explains the failure of adrenaline injections to arouse emotion. But his point of view is limited and one-sided, as Lashley has shown by his experiment; every aspect of emotion cannot be explained by this theory. In reality, the other parts of nervous system have as much a hand in emotions as the hypothalamus. For example, the cerebral cortex has a greater part in the adjustability of emotions.

6. The Psycho-Analytic Theory (Freud):

There are three aspects of this theory of personality:

(I) The dynamic aspects-

(i) Id

(ii) Ego, and

(iii) Super Ego.

(II) Topographical-

(i) Consciousness,

(ii) Unconscious, and

(iii) Sub-conscious.

(III) Economic aspects-

(i) Defence mechanism.

(I) The Dynamic Aspect of Personality:

The ego, id and superego are the parts of psycho. Freud’s theory made at about the same time as him shift from the ego libido polarity of motive to the life and death insects, had to do with doctrine of the unconscious. As to interpret the personality structure in terms of dynamic aspect of it. It may be studied in terms of ego, id and super ego.

(i) Id:

This has the following components:

a. The Id consists primarily of drives, inherited instincts or urges.

b. Id has no direct access to the environment.

c. Id has no sense organs or muscles.

d. Id is bottomless and blind.

e. Id is unorganized, unstructured, mixed desires libido and destructiveness.

Psycho-analysis helps maladjusted persons to substitute rational control for frightened repression and so to build up the ego at the expenses of the Id.

(ii) Ego:

It includes the following components:

The conscious self is also called the ego and the ego had the task of resisting the unconscious.

a. Ego has the direct access to the environment.

b. It functions through sense organs and muscles.

c. It learns through experience, it gets to know the danger to the environment and the necessity to check the id.

d. Its job is to take over the instincts from the id as far as it can, and make them conform the reality principle.

e. Ego task is to control the id.

f. Ego can be splitted into two:

(a) Execution, ego remains proper, and

(b) Watcher and moral critic or active.

g. The ego remains a somewhat ambiguous concept.

(iii) Super Ego:

It has the following operations:

The super ego corresponds to what we ordinarily call conscience, so far as conscience means a blind feeling of right and wrong rather than knowledge of what is good for us and socially valuable.

It is made up of moral elements. The superego appropriates some of the aggressive tendency for use against the ego.

Formation of Super Ego:

It consists of the following:

a. Interjection into the self of the external moral authority as represented specially by parents and other important persons in early life.

Super ego forms through personal contact or environment. Ideal are assimilated into the person through social personal relationship.

b. Direction on the interjected or individual on reality of some portion of the moralistic libido, so that individual loves himself. Interjected ideals began to act as self-ideals.

c. It cannot explain its command because source of its authority, rudiments of super ego where inherited from primitive man kinds and takes shape Oedipus complex.

The Oedipus complex:

Usually the boy’s libido fastens on the mother, the girls on the father. Oedipus is the here of Greek, the child Oedipus had killed his father to marry his mother.

(II) Topographical Aspects:

The psycho formation can be represented by to biographically as three aspects:

(i) Conscious,

(ii) Sub-conscious, and

(iii) Unconscious.

(i) Conscious:

Conscious is a part of psyche. The individual is fully aware or contingent of different type activity engaged by physic.

a. The individual cognitive conative, and affectively tendency are implied the conscious mind.

b. The ego of the individual is directly linked with conscious sphere.

c. The conscious part of psychic is sufficiently less in dimension as compared to the unconscious part. The 1/8th part of psychic is said to be conscious part.

(ii) Sub-Conscious:

It is directly related to the conscious but by little effort it can be brought to the level of conscious part of mind. The idea appears conscious par of mind, comes mostly from sub-conscious and fore conscious part.

Individual attention, thinking and concentration are directly explainable in terms of sub-conscious. It acts as threshold. The ideas never forget can recollect of recall on the power of conscious mind.

(iii) Unconscious:

It has the following characteristics:

a. The unconscious is more real and permanent aspect of human personality, mere than 3/4th of human psychic consists of the conscious.

b. The unconscious is vast and bottomless its mystery cannot be easily known motives.

c. The evidence for the unconscious part of psychic is the dream analysis, slip of tongue and slip of eye and other human behaviour which cannot be explained by conscious motives.

d. The unconscious is the sheet of instinctual organ of the Id. It is huge area occupied by instinctual forces of the individual.

e. The unconscious part of an individual reflect the true individual compared to his appearance i.e., real personality can be structural to know unconscious, dream analysis.

(III) Economic Aspect of Personality:

The nature exercise economy and follows the principle of test expended on existing total situation.

Law of parsimony (economy). Freud believes making a person try to make ill due to his over work and confine to bed. Similar the case in mental area, we try to live psychologically least expanse of this economy. It reflects different mechanism that used by human psychic.

1. Defence mechanism are those than toes resolve the conflict rather than specific fashion.

2. Minor mechanism are used as supplementary tools by the major mechanism.

Mechanism of Personality:

1. The mechanism is function, ways and means between Id, and super ego.

2. They tend to eliminate or reduce the security of conflict situation.

3. They are economical methods of resolution.

4. Not all conflict can be resolved, there are some conflict which continue and continuation of conflicts is sometimes very harmful for the growth of personality.

(i) Major Mechanism of Consciousness:

1. Repression, and

2. Discriminatory decision.

(ii) Major Mechanism of Unconsciousness:

1. Conversion

2. Regression

3. Sublimation

4. Reaction formation, and

5. Rationalization.

(iii) Major Mechanism of Both (Conscious and Unconscious):

1. Transference

2. Identification

3. Introjection

4. Projection, and

5. Displacements.

(a) Major Mechanism of Consciousness:

(i) Repression:

It is the part of conflict situation which is most unaccented. Unconscious may be forced into conscious by the ego when they occur, the mechanism is called repression. Inhibition where an individual consciously or purposely refrains from an activity.

(ii) Suppression:

Where an individual consciously forces unacceptable idea out of his mind successfully for period of time. Inhibition is deliberately or consciously avoid the situation.

(iii) Discriminatory Decision:

It is found in normal adult quite frequently and less frequently in children. Conflicts are resolved by discriminate decision and renunciation, weighting the pros and cons.

(b) Major Mechanism of Unconsciousness:

(1) Conversion:

It is the mechanism which represses energy, connected with the frustration basic drive is changed (converted) into the functional symptom bodily disease. The conflict is resolved by conscious or unconsciously into sickness. This mechanisms making weak physiologically and psychologically.

Conversion hysteria the disease due to the repression of derive, the energy thwarted and takes the form of disease. It is due to basic urges. Many a time headache may not be due to physical fatigue but due to thwarting the basic desire. The mental disturbance is due to basic urges.

(2) Regression (Means Going Back):

It implies the reversal of the ordinary progressive sequence of development and hence turns into more personality structure. The conflict is solved by flight into childhood.

Two types of regression:

(i) Ego regression, and

(ii) Libido regression.

Ego-regression is to return into earlier activity enacts as he is in the earlier stage may be in ego and libido. These two may occur libido regression without ego-regression. On the other hand, we seldom find ego regression without libido regression.

(3) Sublimation:

It is the solution of basic urges through the substitution a socially acceptable goal, there is redirection of basic urge into socially approved channel, the manifested behaviour are not only socially acceptable, but have definite social values. The unconscious is resolved flight into creative work, e.g., poet is interested in fine art, and many a time shows the tendency of sublimation. Expressing his desires in same forms his urges cannot be satisfied in original form.

(4) Reaction Formation over Compensation:

The development of behaviour which diametrically opposed to the unconscious urges or wishes, the conscious conflict is resolved behaviour denial of it. A person is preaching moral but may not moral man. Actually a people show and possesses more than his real.

(5) Rationalization:

The mechanism by which the individual justify his belief and action by going other reason than those activated along with other regression, sublimation reaction available in normal adult. No agreeable to prove his feeling with his own commands so rationalize his motive with logic for something actual reason is not given rationalization.

(c) Minor Mechanism:

(1) Transference:

It signifies the shifting of feeling of love-egoic cathoxies from one object and person to another. Freud gave an example of patient suffering from neurosis they show the tendency of love to the doctor. The patient derives same type of love feeling exhibit by patient toward the doctor as she exhibit toward her father, mother and husband.

(2) Identification:

It refers to the mechanism through a person attempt to mould his ego, after death of someone else believes himself to have some other person e.g., children make usually identify himself to his teacher at lower stage of education female teachers are proved more effective rather than higher stage. We identify to the person whom we get pleasure.

(3) Introjection:

It refers in corporation of the ego into itself of the outside environment of other individual of object apart of himself, empathy sympathy always with me in letters that sign of in introjection ‘you shall carry one.

(4) Projection:

It may be considered as inverse of introjection in that the ego attitude toward the environmental objects or other person’s characteristics of their own personality which are unexpected to the ego to seek faults in others. Try to look qualities of others, you are also weak you are also late. These are lame excuses.

(5) Displacement:

It refers of transfer of one object to another.

7. The Constitutional Theory (Sheldon):

The theory is developed by Sheldon. He insists on measurement of traits as they are continuous variables.

He has developed a psychology of personality which recognizes the importance of biological constitutional factors. He has emphasized on a continuous variable approach for the measurement of constitutional as opposed to the earlier method of classification on the basis of broad discontinuity. But, it resembles with older topologist.

All earlier topologist of personality assume that behaviour characteristics are related in same fundamental way to underlying biological factors.

Sheldon Thesis:

He postulates that human physique and personality can be adequately described in terms of three fundamental temperamental patterns.

Primary components of human physique are given below:

(1) Endomorphy,

(2) Mesomorphy, and

(3) Ectomorphy.

(1) Endomorphy:

This temperament has three components:

(a) The degree to which an individual shows rotundness.

(b) An under development of muscles and bones.

(c) Over development of fat and viscera especially the latter.

(2) Mesomorphy:

This temperament has the following characteristics:

The degree to which an individual shows:

(a) A predominance of development has bones muscles as opposed to the other bodily components.

(b) Possesses an athletic body which is hard well-proportioned muscular.

(3) Ectomorphy:

It has the following characteristics:

It is the component which determines the relative development of skin and nervous tissue over the other components.

An invalidity physique is related to the pre-ponderance of development of three fundamental embryonic-tissues:

(i) Endoderm:

Innermost layers of embryonic cells.

(ii) Mesoderm:

Middle layer from which muscles and blood survived.

(iii) Ectoderm:

Cellular layer from which skin, hair, central nervous system derived.

An individual is rated on seven point scale on each of the above components. In addition to these primary components, the individual may also be rated on the degree to which he demonstrates.

(1) Dysplasia,

(2) Gyndromorphy and

(3) Texture

(1) Dysplasia:

The extent to which a person shows a lack of harmony or markedly uneven mixture of the basic components in any part of his body. Ex-an otherwise endomorphic individual with the laps of endomorphs delinquencies, mental disease.

(2) Gyndromorphy:

The extent to which an individual has the bodily characteristics commonly identified with numbers of the opposite sex.

(3) Texture:

Texture is the degree to which an individual possesses a fine aesthetically pleasing body as revealed by the texture of his/her skin, hair and perhaps underlying cells.

Primary Dimensions of Temperament:

Temperament of an individual refers to his emotional and motivational nature. Behaviourally it is his reactive disposition.

Three primary clusters of traits could account for 1225 correlations among the traits were studied:

(1) Viscerotionia trait is closely associated with digestive and vishal process.

(2) Somatonia trait is associated with voluntary muscular system (Sematic structure).

(3) Cerabrotonia traits are the activities which have to do chiefly with attentional consciousness.

Relationship between Physique and Temperaments:

Under this study Sheldon selected 200 adults and obtained the following result:

1. Viscerotonia trait is most closely related to endomorphy temperament.

2. Somatonia trait is most closely associated with mesomorphy temperament.

3. Cerebrotonia trait is most closely related to ectomorphy temperaments.

On the basis of the relationship, temperament can be predicted on the basis of physique with a considerable accuracy and concomitantly physique with the help of temperature, but causal relationship cannot be established.

Criticisms of Sheldon Theory:

The following are the advantages and limitations of Sheldon Theory of personality:

1. Most of the studies done by Sheldon are on adult male subjects. Therefore, his findings related to biological traits and temperaments cannot be applied for female subjects, because their physique constitution is different from male. There is also difference between temperament of male and female.

2. Sheldon has used rating scale for measuring these variables; therefore, the observations have the ‘Halo effect’ of the rotors.

3. Somatic type is relatively in variant.

4. It considers, physique and emotional aspects of a person, but does not consider the intellectual and social aspects which are most important for the psychology of personality.

5. It has limited the scope for using this concept of personality in Education.

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The Six Grand Theories of Psychology – Psychology 20

The six Grand Theories in Psychology are: Psychoanalysis, Behaviorism, Cognitivism, Ecological, Humanism, and Evolutionary. The theorists of the well-known theories are (Freud, Erickson), (Watson, Skinner), (Piaget, Vygotsky), (Bronfenbrenner), (Rogers, Maslow), (Lorenz). Keep reading to find out all about the Six Grand Theories.

1. Psychoanalysis

Psychoanalysis is a theory discovered by Sigmund Freud and Eric Erickson. The discipline was established in 1980. Psychoanalysis is a set of theories and therapeutic techniques. The theory created by Freud and Erickson is a study of the unconscious mind, which deals with mental health disorders. Sigmund Freud’s main theories of the psycho sexual stage are as followed:

  • Oral stage (birth to 18 months) between this age ranges the child becomes focused and situated on sucking.
  • Anal stage (18 months to 3 years) Derived from controlling bladder and bowel movements.
  • Phallic stage (3 years to 6 years) the libido (desire) centers upon his or her genitalia as the erogenous zone.
  • Latency stage (6 years to puberty) Sexual urges play a large roll on the child/teen.
  • Genital (puberty on wards) an individual switches interests to the opposite sex.


Erik Erickson expresses that eight different stages are present in the human’s development changes, each and every one of Erickson’s stages express crisis or conflict that must be resolved at some point in time. Erik’s eight stages are:


  • Trust vs. Mistrust (0-1) Babies learn to trust their parents as well as others involved in their lives.
  • Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt (2-3) Toddlers begin to develop independence.
  • Initiative vs. Guilt (4-6) Children learn more independence and start to do things on their own.
  • Industry (competence) vs. Inferiority (7-12) Children begin developing self-confidence.
  • Identity vs. Role Confusion (13-19) Teenagers begin to care about what others think of them.
  • Intimacy vs. Isolation (20-35) Adults tend to fall in love, get married and start a family.
  • Generativity vs. Stagnation (35-65) longest point of a human’s life.
  • Ego Integrity vs. Despair (65+) Begin to look back on there life.

Freud, the wise man that he was, decided that human psychoanalysis is split into three main and organized parts. His three main parts are:

The ID: instincts: devil: your wants in life.

The Ego: reality: human: your reality in life.

The Super Ego: morality: angel: you doing the right thing in life.

2. Behaviorism


Behaviorism is a theory created by John B. Watson, Ivan Pavlov and B. F Skinner the theory focuses on the brain/mind. As well as the actions we follow through with in life, the way we learn and accomplish things. Any one person can easily be taught/ trained to act in a dependent manner given the proper amount of conditioning.

Operant conditioning is a theory created by B.F Skinner. The theory is based upon learning being a function of change in one’s behavior. The theorist’s idea is to teach punishment at a young to improve on a consistent behavior.

Classical conditioning is a theory discovered and studied by Ivan Pavlov. He studied the behavior of his dog. He set the dog up for a test to see if it could become routined. Pavlov’s test went like this, for several days he first rang a bell, secondly put food down for the dog, the dog came running. After some time the dog becomes trained and responds to the ringing of the bell with no meat present. The dog learned an association, there you have a new behavior learned within a few simple steps.

3. Cognitivism


Cognitivism is a category of psychology which focuses on the human mind and intelligence. Jean Piaget was the theorist behind cognitivism. Cognitivism is similar to behaviorism in some ways. Cognitivists think that the way people think impacts a person’s behavior. The goal of cognitive theorists is to understand how the mind learns, remembers and works. Jean Piaget thought of the four stages of cognitive development. They consist of the sensory motor stage, the preoperational stage, the concrete operational stage and the formal operational stage. Another cognitive theorist was Lev Vygotsky he believed that learning was a result of social interactions and the person’s environment.

Lev Vygotsky Created a theory of learning called “zone of proximal development” (1896–1934). You will often see the theory written as ZPD for short. Vygotsky’s theory is the difference between what a person can learn with help and without help. The theory is often taught and learned in schools. Teachers teach the students to be independent and help themselves for the future.

4. Ecological


The ecological theory is a theory discovered by Urie Bronfenbrenner. Urie divided the environment into different levels. The largest most uninvolved system is the Chronosystem in this system you may find things that change over time. Then comes the Macro system were you may find social and cultural values. Exo system includes the indirect environment. Meso system is closer to you personally. And lastly the Micro system is your immediate environment. Humans classify their lives into the five stages. The closer the circle to you the more influence it has on your life. Click here








To the right is a copy of my personal Ecological Theory!





5. Humanism


Humanism is a theory studied by Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow. The theory considers the study of a person as a whole. Rogers and Maslow view the behavior of a human in two different ways. Through their eyes as well as the person they are observing’s eyes. Humans are responsible for their own way of life, the way they chose to do and see things around them. Each and every human has control over ones actions, freedom, attitude as well as behavior.  At the top of Abraham Maslow’s theory (Hierarchy of needs) he has self- actualization. Where humans strive to meet there full potential and become better. Here are a few characteristics of people who self-actualize:

  • Awareness as well as acceptance of their self
  • Strong sense of humor
  • High peaks within experienceHere is a picture of the Hierarchy of needs pyramid.


Carl Rogers, another psychologist that is a part of the humanism theory proposed a theory himself. He called his theory the “person-centered therapy”. Rogers believes that self-concept is very important to an individual. Self-concept carries a person’s thought, feeling and beliefs. “We want to feel, experience and behave in ways which are consistent with our self-image and which reflect what we would like to be like, our ideal-self.  The closer our self-image and ideal-self are to each other, the more consistent or congruent we are and the higher our sense of self-worth” (Rogers, 1959).

6. Evolutionary


Konrad Lorenz was the theorist behind the evolutionary theory. As a young boy Lorenz always showed a passion for animals of any kind. Konrad had fish, dogs, monkeys, insects, ducks and geese. When Konrad was only ten years old he discovered evolution. Lorenz carried that trait into adulthood. In university Lorenz studied zoology, medicine and paleontology. Giving you a wide insight on his broad passion for animals. Lorenz is largely recognized for his discovery of the principle of attachment, imprinting where in some species a strong bond is formed between a new born animal and care giver. Konrad Lorenz created/ developed a theory that was patterns in behavior within animals. He created the hawk/geese effect. Lorenz discovered that newborn baby geese are “preprogrammed” to become attached to the very first moving object they see at first. Lorenz’s idea proves the strong influence of behavioral patterns at a young age.

Konrad Lorenz hatched the ducklings himself. Being the first thing near them after they hatched. Konrad taught them trust and acted as if he was their care giver.

Here is a quick video of Konrad Lorenz geese theory! Enjoy.


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McLeod, S. (1970, January 01). Erikson’s Psychosocial Stages of Development. Retrieved October 03, 2017, from https://www.simplypsychology.org/Erik-Erikson.html

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9 psychological theories that changed the world

All the facts about society, relationships between people, motivation and emotions that we know are the result of many years of work of social scientists, psychologists and sometimes even marketers.

All of them have changed the world and the way we perceive it in one way or another. Re-read the book by Sandy Mann "Hacking psychology. All psychological theories in one book" and talked about the 9 most famous psychological theories.

Sandy Mann
nine0005 Alpina Publisher, 2020

Theory of Perception

We have hearing, smell, sight and taste - the channels through which information from the world enters us. But this is not enough, this information still needs to be realized; the process of awareness is perception. Thanks to him, we know exactly how an orange smells, and we can distinguish it from a lemon, and we also correlate a person’s face with his other parts of the body in order to see him as a whole, and not in pieces. Several theories of perception have been developed throughout the history of mankind. nine0009

Gestalt theory of perception. The brain is constantly looking for understandable forms and images in the environment. Therefore, we can easily find a rectangle in the phone screen, and an elephant figure in the cloud. Gestalt theory has three principles: according to the principle of proximity, objects located close to each other are perceived as one; according to the principle of similarity, objects that are similar in shape or weight are perceived as connected. And unfinished figures cause us discomfort. Therefore, we see the letter "X" as a letter, and not as separate lines - this is the principle of closure. nine0009

The theory of direct perception by J. Gibson, one of the most famous psychologists of the 20th century, says that we perceive the world through affordances - the qualities and functions of objects that help us evaluate the possibilities offered by these objects. For example, a pen is needed in order to write, and the shadow of an object allows us to hide from the sun in the heat. And only by being aware of these properties, we can perceive the object.

The descending theory of perception by R. Gregory appeared in opposition to the "ascending" theory of J. Gibson, and, according to it, we do not have to analyze the incoming information. Perception is just a hypothesis that we build on the basis of what we see, hear or feel, but we can also be wrong, although most often we turn out to be right. nine0009

Theory of pain perception. According to this theory, the perception of pain is not only affected by the senses, because the same injury can be felt differently in people. For example, according to the theory of patterns, the brain has its own typology of pain, thanks to which it identifies this or that signal. Because of this, the minimum level of discomfort can be just a sensation, but there is a certain threshold of activation, after which the sensation is already interpreted as pain. Thresholds are individual for each person. nine0009

Theories of attention

According to the general theory of attention, our perception only works when we pay attention to a particular stimulus. It can be both pain and events taking place around. Accordingly, if we believe that something deserves our attention, then we feel it to the fullest, while insignificant things rather elude the senses, we do not realize them and, as a result, do not perceive.

Broadbent Attention Model. A person has selective, that is, selective, attention - this is the so-called sensory buffer installed in our head and filtering information entering the brain. He misses some stimuli, and we react, and some do not, and nothing disturbs us. nine0009

In opposition to this concept, the attenuation theory was put forward by Anne Marie Triesman, a psychologist who studied selective attention. She sticks to the idea that Broadbent's sensory buffer doesn't remove some signals, but attenuates them. Therefore, from several sounds, we can isolate the main one and concentrate on it, while the rest will be muffled.

Theories of memory

Memory is what allows us to remember every morning how to move, talk, type on the phone, or prepare breakfast. This process includes 3 steps:

All existing theories of memory are designed to explain how we store and use information. Here are the main three:

According to the Atkinson-Shiffrin multi-level memory model, a person has three main memory systems: sensory (primary information that is not stored for a long time), short-term (active information processing for 20-30 seconds) and long-term (information that is not stored for a long time). we remember almost always).

Baddeley and Hitch's model of working memory arose in opposition to the shortcomings identified in the previous theory. The authors of the concept divided short-term memory into three parts - the central control element, the phonological loop, and the visual-spatial sketch. The central control element is needed in order to receive and store sensory information, and then distribute it along two other channels: audio into a phonological loop, visual into a visual-spatial sketch. They also introduced the concept of an episodic buffer, which links all information into a single whole. With the help of it, the object is perceived not in parts, but as a combination of visual, sound and verbal information. nine0009

Craik and Lockhart's processing-level model focuses more on long-term memory. According to the multi-story model, information from short-term memory to long-term memory passes through repeated repetition. Scientists Craik and Lockhart believe that this is not necessary. If we encounter a problem related to some decision or event, then through careful and multilateral processing we will remember this information - even without memorization.

Theories of learning

Learning is a long-known process, which is defined as a constant change in behavior as a result of gaining knowledge and experience. There are also three main theories here. nine0009

Theory of classical reflexes. Its principle of operation is perfectly illustrated by the well-known experiment with Pavlov's dog. If a dog is regularly given some kind of signal before eating, then it will react with profuse salivation not to the fact of food itself, but to the signal - it will be associated with food at the level of reflexes.

Theory of operant conditioned reflexes. It is based on the use of not some kind of signal, but a system of rewards or punishments. If, for example, you set yourself a task for the day and were able to complete it, then in order to consolidate the result and repeat positive behavior, you need to praise yourself. For example, rest, delicious food or something else that will make you happy. nine0009

Social learning theory implies learning in a team. That is, a person masters skills through observation or imitation (also called modeling). This theory differs from the other two in that it refers not only to reflexes, but also to cognitive processes occurring in the head.

Theory of Emotions

For many years, scientists have studied emotions, where they come from and how they manifest themselves, but, most importantly, researchers have always been interested in the question of what happens in a person’s head when he experiences emotions. The most famous concept is the two-factor theory of emotions by Schechter and Singer. According to their idea, the experience of emotions is based on two factors: physiological arousal and cognitive interpretation. nine0009

Previously, that is, before 1962, the year when this theory appeared, it was believed that emotions were based solely on physiology, and mental processing had nothing to do with them. The two-factor theory says that first, when we experience any emotion, physiological arousal occurs, after which we begin to look for clues in the world around us in order to correctly interpret it. If, for example, we sweat because we ran to the bus, then this will not be perceived as an emotion. And if we don’t find an objective explanation for what is happening (because we didn’t run anywhere), then we begin to interpret it as excitement, fear, or something else. And only then do we realize a specific physiological manifestation as an emotion. nine0009

Theories of intelligence

In addition to what emotions are and how they appear, scientists were no less interested in the question of intelligence. The researchers tried to decide how to measure it, whether the intelligence of one person differs from the intelligence of another, and what influences this. There are two major theories here.

Spearman's two-factor theory. Intelligence is influenced by two types of factors: general and specific. The general factor is an innate and universal ability inherent in everyone, and the specific one is the acquired skills that people may differ depending on their experience, knowledge and interests. That is, for example, a violinist is most likely able to walk and talk, but, in addition, he also has musical skills. nine0009

Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences. According to this theory, a person has 9 types of intelligence, each of which is responsible for a certain area of ​​human activity. These include verbal, musical, logical and mathematical, figurative, bodily, social, intrapersonal, natural and philosophical intellects.

Theories of motivation

Motivation is an internal or external stimulus that inspires us to perform a certain action. All theories of motivation are divided into substantive and procedural. Content theories focus on identifying human needs that drive us in decision making. Process theories study motivation in principle, where it comes from and how it is stored. nine0009

Maslow's hierarchy of needs theory. The triangle, or pyramid, of Maslow has been known to us since the days of social science school lessons. All needs are divided into: physiological, the need for security, social needs, the need for self-esteem and the need for self-actualization. The first four needs are considered basic needs, without the satisfaction of which a person will not be able to satisfy the need of the "highest level", i.e. the need for self-actualization.

Herzberg's two-factor theory. It is also called motivational hygiene. According to this concept, there are two sets of characteristics that affect satisfaction. The first set are factors whose presence increases satisfaction, the second set are factors whose absence increases satisfaction. nine0009

Vroom's expectancy theory, unlike the previous two, is a process concept. According to Victor Harold Vroom, a person is motivated to take action by 3 factors: expectation (if I try, then everything will work out), assistance (if I try, I will be rewarded) and valency (I really want to receive a reward).

Theories of social psychology

Human beings are social beings who prefer group work to individual work. It is important for us to be part of something bigger - a family, a work team or an interest group. And one way or another, people within their team influence each other, which is what many socio-psychological theories try to explain. nine0009

Hawthorne effect. Named after an experiment at a Hawthorne facility where a group of researchers monitored workers over the course of several years to find out how lighting affects work efficiency. The Hawthorne effect was an indirect result of the study, which revealed that it was not the working conditions that affected the result, but the fact that there was an observer who monitored their work.

Minority influence theory. It is common to think that the majority usually influences the minority, but experiments have proven absolutely the opposite. If a minority behaves logically, consistently, confidently and convincingly, then it can have an impact on society. Therefore, a single person can lead a nation or, for example, become a catalyst for a revolution. nine0009

Social comparison theory. Initially, it seems to each person that he is braver, kinder or more correct than the rest of the majority. However, many experiments have shown that in the course of a group discussion, participants found that other people were somehow stronger or kinder than them, adhered to better ideals and values ​​in some ways. And then all the participants began to try to show themselves in a favorable light in order to keep up with the group.

Relationship theories

Psychologists have been studying the question of how one person forms an attitude towards another person, event or opinion for many years. According to them, attitude consists of three components: emotional, behavioral and cognitive. And any attitude can cause a certain action, so it was important for scientists to find out if this attitude can be influenced, thereby changing subsequent behavior. There are three main theories. nine0009

Theory of reasonable actions. According to this theory, our behavior is influenced by the attitude towards this behavior (positive or negative) and social norms (the views of people around us on such behavior). For example, if a person is positive about smoking, but his family is against it, then these two factors will influence the decision whether to smoke or not.

Theory of planned behavior. It is assumed that there is a cognitive explanation for every behavior. For example, you decide to go on a diet because you think it will be good for your health. Or you decide to stay at home and not go anywhere because it's raining outside. nine0009

Probability model for conscious information processing. This theory explains how a person forms or changes his attitude. There are two ways: central and peripheral. The central method is the conscious processing of information, comparing the advantages and disadvantages of a certain action. It is characteristic of those people who are motivated for any changes and are looking for ways to implement them. The peripheral method does not involve deep processing of information, but the feelings and emotions of people. That is, a person is more likely to change his mind if the arguments are given by the one he likes, regardless of the quality of the arguments. nine0009

6 unusual theories from psychology

Contents of the article

Personality psychology has not yet been fully studied, various studies and experiments are constantly being carried out. We invite you to explore new and interesting psychological theories that you can apply in your life.

Stop button or mood freeze

It is believed that holding back any emotions is bad for the psyche. Over time, a little irritation can turn into a storm of negativity, which will become the basis for a mental disorder. But an experiment called "freezing emotions" was conducted. The essence of the experiment was as follows: the subjects were offered to take a magic pill, which allegedly froze all emotions. They were specially brought to the boiling point and then given a placebo. Most people felt much better and the negativity seemed to disappear on its own. It can be concluded that a person does not have to take out his anger on others or break dishes, it is enough to realize the cause of irritation and come to an agreement with himself. nine0009

Affirmations. I am the smartest and most beautiful!

You have probably heard that our attitudes affect our self-esteem, so we have more motivation and opportunities to succeed. But there is another side of the coin. A study by psychologists has proven that people with high self-esteem are more vulnerable in case of failure, it is quite difficult for them to return to the starting point and start over.

Walking in the clouds

Walking in the clouds is associated with laziness, impracticality, something bad. But scientists have proven that sometimes it is useful to disconnect from real life and daydream. So you can better plan for the future, solve complex problems, if you sometimes allow yourself to let go of reality. Often in these moments comes insight. nine0009

A small favor equals three big tasks

This is a simple subconscious trick to manipulate a person into doing the most difficult task for you. How it works: You ask the person to complete one small request, then a medium task, and then a complex task. Such a long process helps to make the last request less intimidating and smoothly lead the person to fulfillment.

Games are the best simulators

When we face difficult situations and try to find a way out of them, for example, to cross a road with heavy traffic. This is where the “target template” helps us. To develop this pattern, computer games are best suited. We are used to seeing only cons in games, but in limited access, games have a positive impact. For example, they develop the ability to identify and seek solutions to dangerous situations. nine0009

Fear of happiness

We all strive to be happy and put a lot of effort into it, but when the moment is almost reached, we frankly begin to fear it.

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