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5 General Perspectives

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Ester1 James Ester Dr. Jordan Alexander Psyc 101 25 April 2011 There are five general perspectives on human behavior: biological, learned, social and cultural, cognitive and psychodynamic. These perspectives aid in revealing how relationships begin, develop, and are maintained through the course of a loving relationship. All five behaviors, when studied, play a role in how a healthy relationship works which can maintain itself and stand the course of time. Of course for every positive there is always a negative, thus if some of the five general perspectives are lacking this can also lead to a toxic or negative relationship. As I look back over the past thirteen years of marriage between my wife and myself I can see clearly how each perspective can help to maintain, or lack there of, destroy a relationship. I remember the first time I met my wife. It was in the sixth grade, english class, we shared our first words. As any typical sixth grade boy I poked and made fun of her to hide the awkwardness of situation. You see, I thought she was cute but at such a young age I was only able to express this feeling with four eye jokes. As the year went by the feelings subsided and my parents bought a new house which resided outside the school district. At the end of the year we moved away and I thought I would never see her again but life had other plans for us. “The biological perspective approach focuses on how bodily events affect behavior, feelings, and thoughts” (Wade and Travis, p. 19). Some of these biological effects can be as Ester2 simple as shortness of breath or as extreme as increased heart rate, body warmth, or even the buttery fly effect from such actions such as flirting or hand holding. “Biological psychologists study how these physical events interact with events in the external environment to produce perceptions, memories, and behavior” (Wade and Travis, p. 19). The simple attraction I had for her at that time effected me on a biological level which in turn generated a biological change within my own body. As unromantic as the biological perspective is it still plays a vital role in relationships, without the effects we feel when that initial attraction occurs we may not realize that we found that special someone. Probably the most important factor of the five general perspectives is the learned perspective. “The learning perspective is concerned with how the environment and experience effect a person’s actions” (Wade and Travis, p. 19). So what does that mean in terms of relationships you may ask? Well, simply put, the environment in which an individual is raised teaches that individual what actions are rewarded and what actions are punished. If an individual is raised in an abusive or non-loving environment than perhaps they themselves will grow up to be abusive or not positively enforce a loving attitude towards their partner. This learned behavior also rings true for positive and loving environments as well. If an individual is raised in a loving and positive environment than a positive and loving attitude may be present in the relationship. We, as a species, learn and are directly effected from the environment in which we are raised in. I can relate the learning perspective to my own relationship with my wife. Raised in a family that assumed you knew love was always present but unsaid, and hugs were far and few between. Instead of the spoken word or soft touch I learned from the environment that I was Ester3 raised in that hard work and providing material needs is the appropriate way to show how much you loved someone. I applied this learned behavior to my relationship at an unconscious level and this was not the same learned behavior or environment that my wife grew up in. This learned behavior has led me down a predetermined path which has caused more heartache than actual happiness over the past couple of years. Of course this learned behavior did not mean that I did not love my wife it simply was the way I knew how to express love to my spouse at the time. “Sociocultural perspective focuses on social and cultural forces outside the individual, forces that shape every aspect of behavior, from how we kiss to what and where we eat” (Wade and Travis, p. 20). Is it true that love makes the world go round? If that is true can it be possible that its the same type or kind of love felt from different parts of the world? One culture may find it necessary for both partners to say I love you every-time they part for the day. Other cultures may find the need to say I love you after parting not necessary. The love can be spoken or not spoken, both give different perceptions on the reality of love between partners. For someone looking at the relationship from the outside, the absence of the spoken words of love may lead the individual to believe that there is no love present in the relationship. Perception is only half the reality. Love is still present and felt by both however culturally its ok for both partners to not say it. In my relationship with my wife sometimes we say I love you and sometimes we don’t. Love is complex so the ways we, as a complex species, express it is equally complex. Cognitive perspective examines the mental processes to include thinking, problem solving, perception, memory and even language. As I look at my own relationship I can see how the cognitive perspective can play a key role in a loving relationship. As we go through life we Ester4 search for love and happiness. When we find love with that special someone we try to hold onto as many happy memories as we can make. In the beginning of our relationship I can honestly say making happy memories of just the two of us was easy. Now that life has fast forwarded and kids are in the picture there are still happy memories being made but they involve the family perspective now. The idea of “just the two of us” memories are far ad few between but that is because family has taken over. Problem solving and communication also play a key role in a loving and lasting relationship. Without coping and problem solving skills the loving relationship can easily turn sour. In an equal and loving relationship there has to be compromise, without it, all you have is a one sided relationship. “The Psychodynamic Perspectives are based on inner conflicts and how these conflicts affect our development” (Psychodynamic Perspective). Events in our early life are stored away in our subconscious and play a direct role in our daily behaviors. This subconscious decision making directly effects what we are attracted to, how we act, and even how we treat our significant other. “Any psychodynamic formulation of human behavior must include the notion that human lives are governed by internal forces of which they are unaware and that these forces, which may be images, thoughts, or feelings, are the primary determinants of who they are and what they do” (Zeldow, p. 135). How does this all pertain to a healthy, loving relationship? Well, on a subconscious level we behave a certain way because of events, that occurred in the past, have shaped our thought process at the subconscious level. This behind the scenes decision making may make us prefer blonds to brunettes or skinny to curvy women. I can look at my own Ester5 relationship with my wife and say, subconsciously I am attracted to brunettes or darker hair. How does this effect a loving relationship in the beginning, and maintain it you may ask? Our behavior, or personality, attracts our mate. If this behavior begins from the subconscious level than the events which shaped us and make us who we are has a direct role in attracting our mate in the beginning of a relationship as well as sustaining attraction throughout the entire time they are together. In conclusion, there are many psychological factors that play key roles in building and maintaining a loving, healthy relationship. It is my opinion that not one perspective is more important to the next.

Ester6 Works Cited Wade, Carol. Psychology: Tenth Edition. Boston: Prentice Hall, 2011. Print Zeldow, Peter B. 10 Psychodynamic Approaches to Human Behavior. http://www.mimh.edu/Portals/0/BAM4_SampleCHap10.pdf, n.d. Web. 27 April 2010 Psychodynamic Perspective http://www.mesac.edu/dept/d46/psy/dev/Fall98/Theories/Psycho. html. n.d. Web. 27 April 2010…...

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