3
$\begingroup$

I was recently reading through a textbook and was unable to clearly identify the differences between the two due to a vague definition of both. Can someone provide an in-depth explanation of the two and perhaps provide examples?

$\endgroup$
3
$\begingroup$

Behaviorism is the idea that psychology should be limited to what it can directly observe: behavior and the stimuli that drive behavior. A behaviorist approach to studying a psychological phenomenon would be based on studying observable behaviors and the observable things that cause those behaviors. Behaviorist explanations of the phenomenon would not rely on descriptions of internal processes, like thinking, since those are not directly observable.

Biological psychology takes the perspective that pyschological processes (e.g. thinking) are rooted in biology, and focuses on how biological processes cause and interact with psychological processes. Techniques like measuring neural activity through EEG or fMRI are common, as are (non-human animal) studies that involve more invasive manipulation of neural tissues. A biological psychology approach to studying a psychological phenomenon might identify particular patterns of brain activity that are related to the phenomenon, genetic correlates, or neural mechanisms that give rise to the phenomenon.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the enlightening answer +1. Could we place Freud and Jung among the behaviorists then? Is there a divide in Psychology? Or do these ideas go hand-in-hand and are they representative of different approaches to the same goal? $\endgroup$ – AliceD Jan 22 '15 at 12:29
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Freud and Jung were not behaviorists, since their theories relied almost entirely on hidden constructs. They both emphasized different (elaborate) roles of the unconscious mind in driving behavior, which is exactly what a behaviorist perspective would avoid. $\endgroup$ – Josh de Leeuw Jan 22 '15 at 13:31
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ It should be pointed out that behaviorism and biopsychology are not an exhaustive list of the approaches in psychological science. For example cognitive psychology is interested in internal processes, but not necessarily their neural underpinnings. $\endgroup$ – Josh de Leeuw Jan 22 '15 at 13:33
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Thanks Josh. Interesting stuff and excuse me for devouring this (for-you-probably-textbook stuff) like apple pie $\endgroup$ – AliceD Jan 22 '15 at 13:34

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.