Month: August 2016

Example blog post – approaches

One area of interest to psychologists is body language. Why and how do people communicate using their body rather than words? Examples of this include facial expressions, posture, and gestures such as clapping or sticking fingers up at people. [here I have briefly explained a topic – body language].

There are at least three approaches to psychology that can help to explain body language. The evolutionary approach explains that human behavior evolved over many thousands of years, and characteristics that we see today helped our ancestors to survive. The behaviourist approach is very different – it explains behavior in terms of conditioning and social learning, stating that anything can be learned. It doesn’t take genes into account. Finally the cognitive approach explains behavior in terms of beliefs and thinking. It treats people as all being similar, and states that we need to study thought processes in order to understand behavior. [here I have briefly explained/contrasted 3 approaches]

I think that the behaviourist approach might help to explain gestures. We learn/imitate gestures from others (social learning) and get rewarded or punished (e.g. by being told off) when we use them. On the other hand, facial expressions like smiling are the same in all cultures, and babies smile from a very early age. Therefore facial expression is probably best explained by the evolutionary approach – smiles may have helped our ancestors to survive, for example, helping them to build alliances in their tribe by showing when they were friendly  and when they were not. Finally, the cognitive approach explains body language in terms of thoughts and beliefs; one example would be choosing a certain posture because you think it makes you look attractive. This is probably true for some body language but not for all.[here I have tried to explain the behavior using the three approaches]