The crux behind the behavior perspective is that external forces or events drive the behavior of the individual. In the argument of nature versus nurture, behaviorism suggests that the environment shapes a person through a series of experiences (Feldman, 2013). Said experiences mold the perspective of the individual later in life, and thus making them react in certain ways to certain future events.
A poor childhood, for example, could result in a prolonged, or yearning for a childhood, or childlike things later in life. Also, a tragically spent youth could potentially result in empathy toward young people, or a desire to help specific demographics that resonate with similar experiences. Ultimately, the behavior perspective reveals specific values of the individual and he, or she realistically copes with problems and obstacles.
The inherent, and problematic caveat with the behavior perspective, is the lack of consistency in a person’s outcome. An unpleasant childhood, for example, could be a motivating factor for some, and for others a crippling burden even though the environment was similar for all intents and purposes. The behavior perspective can generate correlations, but not causations, and as a result, should be taken with a grain of salt. In the 21st Century, many unknowingly adhere to the behaviorist perspective and simply ignore people/ events that do not fit their assigned theory.
The cognitive perspective attempts to fill in the gaps of the scientific method that behaviorism lacks by creating processes through which decisions by people are made. In a valiant attempt to quantify human behavior, decisions and motivations are whittled down to a series of decisions and outcomes and amalgamated with personal ethics to reveal the inner persona (Feldman, 2013). Again, the cognitive approach lacks a comprehensive explanation of random actions, more likening people to reactionary beings.
The cognitive approach operates from aspects of reason and rationale and desired outcomes. A person has a limited set of options and a reason percentage of realistic conclusions based on those options. Cognitive theory suggests that a person makes decisions off of the best desired outcome.
The humanist perspective attempts to align abstract, emotional value to peoples’ actions (Feldman, 2013). The reason people follow certain social mores, and behaviors is not due to them being reactionary, or mechanized, but rather a desire to be a positive addition to the human experience. The humanistic perspective most adequately explains 21st Century behavior.
Cognitive and behaviorist perspective explains immediate, or superficial actions. There is no reason to assume that people willingly engage in illogical, or destructive behavior on a consistent basis, or that each action is the result of emotional residue, or baggage. But, what can be distinguished is that people can be coerced into behavior they would not normally engage in, if they believe there is an altruistic purpose; this demonstrates that even at superficial levels, there is an emotional drive- this is the basis for most advertisements.
Boundaries of Competence
Professional boundaries of competence imply that not everyone is an expert on everything (Feldman, 2013). A child psychologist, or a cardiologist respectively, should not be asked to speak to a professional athlete, or treat athlete’s foot. To have the weight of an expert, one should understand that the title is not ubiquitously transferable.
Certain situations, however, present a challenge. A child, for example, could also be a victim of a violent crime and cope with traumatic stress, so certain demographics create on overlap in boundaries of expertise.
Feldman, R. (2013). Essentials of understanding psychology (10th ed). New York, NY.:McGraw- Hill.