The Six Grand Theories of Psychology

Assignment from Feb. 12.

Learn all about Psychology on my cool teachers blog! 


a. Sigmund Freud (1856-1939)

Id Ego and SuperegoSigmund Freud was a physiologist, medical doctor, psychologist and influential thinker of the early twentieth century. He said that the mind is a complex energy-system and must be analyzed with psychology. Sigmund Freud’s theory is that humans are heavily influenced by unconscious acts which determines ones behaviour and personality. His theory is based off of the Id, the Ego, and the Superego. Freud refers to the Ego as reality and the persons life. He refers to the Id as a persons natural instincts which may be things that you do to pleasure yourself. The Superego is responsible for ensuring moral standards are followed. The Superego may be referred to as the angel on your shoulder and the Id can represent the devil on your shoulder. Overall, Freud believes that a person must balance their Id and Superego by using their Ego. The Ego must create a balance between the thoughts of you Id and Superego. Once this is achieved, it is possible for a person to demonstrate a balanced life.

b. Erik Erikson (1902-1994)

EThe-Eight-Stages-of-Human-Development-NurseWithMe.com_rik Erikson was a ego psychologist. Erikson primarily analyzed people’s behaviors and the stages they went through though out their life. He started this phenomenon by wandering Europe and documenting his experiences. By 1933 he had moved to USA and became one of the first children analyzers. He continued to publish books about his theory and education that he has. Erikson’s theory is that every person, from birth to death, goes through eight stages. He proposes that each stage has a battle between two different concepts. The stages get increasingly more complex as you get older (the stages are described on the photo below). In each stage, the person goes through a struggle. Each stage has a different stage and battle. Once the stage is overcome, a person will move on from it and continue onto the next. Erikson emphasizes the role of culture/society and the conflicts that take place in a persons Ego.



a. John B. Watson (1878–1958) and B.F. Skinner (1904–1990)

John B. Watson and B.F. Skinner were both psychologists that studied the mind, brain, and why/how we do certain things the way we do. Together, Watson and Skinner developed a psychology theory that is known as classical and operant conditioning. Their theory’s proposed that all behaviors are learned from a reaction to an external stimulant. Behaviorism refers to behaviors that can be measured, trained, and changed. Simply put, any individual regardless of there background, can be trained to act in a certain manner given the right conditioning.

b. Albert Bandura (1925)

quote-in-order-to-succeed-people-need-a-sense-of-self-efficacy-to-struggle-together-with-resilience-albert-bandura-1-74-00.jpgAlbert Bandura is a influential social cognitive psychologist. He has lead many studies that involve observational learning and modeling. He believes that when a person models a good behavior and they are rewarded for their good deed, they will continue to do that good action. This theory has four steps; attention, retention, reproduction and motivation. Once a person pays attention to the model behavior, they will be aware of it. Then they must recall the action in order to produce it in the future. As soon as they understand it, they will reproduce that same action and will continue to reproduce it as long as they are motivated by something (ie. they might earn a reward for their good deed).


a. Jean Piaget (1896-1980)

Jean Piaget is responsible for the creation of the cognitive development theory. He was the first psychologist to make a study based on the cognitive development. Piaget was intrigued by the reasons children gave wrong answers to questions that required logical thinking. This inspired him to understand the difference between adults and children, and how their brains are different. This understanding led Piaget to think of his cognitive development theory. He said that every person will go through a series of stages of cognitive development. Though out each stage, the quality of information, knowledge, and understanding will increase.intellectual-growth

b. Lev Vygotsky (1896-1934)

Lev.jpgLev Vygotsky developed the Social Development Theory. The Social Development Theory is about how social learning tends to come before development. This means that when children are exposed to their surroundings, they are most likely to adapt and learn from that atmosphere. The full development of a child is impossible without incorporating culture and the social environment that the child is regularly being exposed to. Lev Vygotsky discribes his theory by exclaiming that: “learning is a necessary and universal aspect of the process of developing culturally organized, specifically human psychological function” (1978).


a. Urie Bronfenbrenner (1917-2005)ecological-systems-theory.png

Urie Bronfenbrenner developed the Ecological System theory model. The model states that human development is influenced by the different types of environmental systems that are in their life. The most influential being yourself. Then each section around you contains things that also influence you. The closer the circle is to you, the more influence it has on your life. These systems include the micro system, the mesosystem, the exosystem, the macro system, and the chronosystem. Bronfenbrenner’s theory helps us comprehend why we may act differently when we compare our behavior in the presence of our family to when we are at school or work.

Take a look at my Ecological Theory System!



a. Carl Rogers (1902–1987)

Rogers-model.jpgCarl Rogers was a humanistic psychologist. He suggested that all people have a need for being loved and respected. His theory discribes how people need an environment that provides them with openness, self-disclosure, acceptance , and empathy. Rogers suggests that “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). His self-concept idea has three main components; self worth, self-image, and ideal self.

b. Abraham Maslow (1908-1970)

hierarchy of needsAbraham Maslow came up with the hierarchy of needs theory. This concept believes that people possess a set of motivation systems unrelated to desires or rewards. This theory is modelled in a triangle shape. At the bottom of the triangle are the most basic things that you absolutely need in your life. Maslow says that in order to be on top of the triangle, first, you must achieve and earn the things that are on the bottom (start from the bottom and build your self up to the top). The theory includes five levels: Physiological (air, food, drink, shelter, warmth, sex, sleep), Safety (protection, security, order, law, stability), Love and belongingness (friendship, intimacy, affection), Esteem (achievement, mastery, independence, status) and Self-Actualization (realizing personal potential, self-fulfillment, seeking personal growth).


a.Konrad Lorenz (1903-1989)

KonradAs a child Konrad Lorenz was highly interested in animal behaviour. As an adult Lorenz studied paleontology, medicine and zoology in university. He later developed a theory that is similar to the theory of evolution. The Evolutionary Theory stresses that behaviour is strongly influenced by biology, is tied to evolution, and is characterized by critical or sensitive periods (Santrock, 1999). Lorenz found out that new born species will attach to the first moving object they see after their birth. This concept can be related to the attachment theory. The attachment theory exclaims that kids come into the world biologically pre-programmed to form attachments with others, because this will help them to survive. Babies will do certain things to get the attention of an adult (ie. cry if they are hungry). The determinant of attachment is not food, but care and responsiveness. Lorenz’s work led developmentalists to understand the ways human behaviour might reflect inborn genetic patterns. 


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