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The Main Four Goals of Psychology

Examine the situation presented in the case study by using the four goals of psychology.

The main four goals of psychology are to describe, explain, predict and influence behaviour (Weiten & Dunn & Hammer, 2011). Describing Jane’s behaviour and mental processes is the first step of this analysis. Her key behavioral patterns include manipulation based on guilt, association of love with fear and guilt, and the lack of belief that she can be praised and can be worth of something good. The second step is to propose the reasons of these behaviors. Different psychological theories might yield different results for Jane’s problems, but it is evident that her troubles are associated with the patterns of father derived from her childhood (it might be the Electra complex, for example) (Coon & Mitterer, 2008).

Third goal is predicting the conditions affecting mental processes and behaviors. Currently Jane is in the relationship which resembles her childhood, and it is likely that episodes with manipulation will continue. Moreover, her husband might also repeat hitting Jane, because she unconsciously stimulates such attitudes. The same patterns might also be inherited by the child. Finally, fifth goal of psychology is to influence the behaviour and to solve practical problems related to it. In this case, it is necessary to help Jane to withdraw from her father’s image in this relationship, and to perceive her husband as an individual with different attitude and personality.Choose three of the modern perspectives of psychology and address how each would study the behaviors found in the case study.

There are seven major perspectives of psychology nowadays; they are biological, evolutionary, cognitive, psychodynamic, behavioral, sociocultural and humanistic perspective (Pastorino & Doyle-Portillo, 2011). Let us analyze how Jane’s case might be viewed from the perspectives of psychodynamic, behavioral and evolutionary approaches.

According to evolutionary approach, Jane’s behavioral patterns evolved in her childhood as the best survival system in those circumstances, and since this method appeared to be effective for Jane’s father, it was accepted by her mind as a functionally efficient system, and now is using the same pattern. From behavioral perspective, the system of rewards and punishments established between Jane and her father has encouraged manipulation as the means of feelings praised and loved; basing on this perspective, Jane can learn other methods of interaction and she can be trained to overcome existing patterns using more effective and rewarding methods of interacting with people. Finally, from a psychodynamic perspective, Jane is driven by unconscious processes and desires of her childhood in her adult life, and the frustrations which happened in her early age are now affecting her relationships with her husband.

Coon, D.& Mitterer, J.O. (2008). Introduction to Psychology: Gateways to Mind and Behavior. Cengage Learning.
Pastorino, E.E. & Doyle-Portillo, S.M. (2011). What Is Psychology? Cengage Learning.
Weiten, W. & Dunn, D.S. & Hammer, E.Y. (2011). Psychology Applied to Modern Life: Adjustment in the 21st Century. Cengage Learning.