Much of what we know about human thought and behavior has emerged thanks to various psychology theories. For example, behavioral theories demonstrated how conditioning can be used to learn new information and behaviors. Psychology students typically spend a great deal of time studying these different theories. Some theories have fallen out of favor, while others remain widely accepted, but all have contributed tremendously to our understanding of human thought and behavior. By learning more about these theories, you can gain a deeper and richer understanding of psychology's past, present and future.
PBehavioral Theories | Cognitive Theories | Developmental Theories | Humanist Theories | Personality Theories | Social Psychology Theories | Learning Theories
Behavioral psychology, also known as behaviorism, is a theory of learning based upon the idea that all behaviors are acquired through conditioning. Advocated by famous psychologists such as John B. Watson and B.F. Skinner, behavioral theories dominated psychology during the early half of the twentieth century. Today, behavioral techniques are still widely used in therapeutic settings to help clients learn new skills and behaviors.
Cognitive theories of psychology are focused on internal states, such as motivation, problem solving, decision-making, thinking, and attention.
Theories of development provide a framework for thinking about human growth, development, and learning. If you have ever wondered about what motivates human thought and behavior, understanding these theories can provide useful insight into individuals and society.
Humanistic psychology theories began to grow in popularity during the 1950s. While earlier theories often focused on abnormal behavior and psychological problems, humanist theories instead emphasized the basic goodness of human beings. Some of the major humanist theorists include Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow.
Almost everyday we describe and assess the personalities of the people around us. Whether we realize it or not, these daily musings on how and why people behave as they do are similar to what personality psychologists do. Personality psychology looks at the patterns of thoughts, feelings, and behavior that make a person unique. Some of the best known theories in psychology are devoted to the subject of personality.
Social psychology is focused on helping us understand and explain social behavior. Social theories are generally centered on specific social phenomena, including group behavior, prosocial behavior, social influence, love and much more.
Learning theories focus on how people learning and acquire new knowledge. This is an interdisciplinary topic of interest that often draws upon information from psychology, education, instructional design, and other areas.