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Someone’s cultural background can have a big influence on how they use and read body language. In many Western cultures, eye contact while speaking suggests openness and interest. People of other cultures, including many Eastern cultures, may avoid prolonged eye contact, as looking slightly down or to the side may seem more respectful. Nodding indicates agreement in many cultures. In others, it might just mean the other person acknowledges your words.
Neurodiverse people may also use and interpret body language differently than neurotypical people do. For example, you might fidget when you’re bored, but neurodiverse people might fidget in order to increase focus, calm nervousness, or self-soothe in other ways. Autistic people may also have trouble reading body language.
Certain mental health conditions can also impact someone’s body language. Someone with social anxiety might find it extremely hard to meet and hold someone’s gaze, for example. People who prefer to avoid touching others may not shake hands or embrace when greeting someone. Being aware of boundaries some people may have around casual touch can help you avoid assuming someone dislikes you.
Bruce Lipton explains what he calls the “shocking truth about the pharmaceutical industry” – the science called epigenetics. Loosely defined, epigenetics is the belief that you can alter your genetics by modifying your behavior – not by taking medications.
“It is impossible to understand addiction without asking what relief the addict finds, or hopes to find, in the drug or the addictive behaviour.” ~ Gabor Mate, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction
Behaviorism, also known as behavioral psychology, is a theory of learning which states all behaviors are learned through interaction with the environment through a process called conditioning. Thus, behavior is simply a response to environmental stimuli.
Behaviorism is only concerned with observable stimulus-response behaviors, as they can be studied in a systematic and observable manner.
The behaviorist movement began in 1913 when John Watson wrote an article entitled ‘Psychology as the behaviorist views it,’ which set out a number of underlying assumptions regarding methodology and behavioral analysis.
The four main goals of psychology are to describe, explain, predict and change the behavior and mental processes of others.
Describing a behavior or cognition is the first goal of psychology. This can enable researchers to develop general laws of human behavior.
For example, through describing the response of dogs to various stimuli, Ivan Pavlov helped develop laws of learning known as classical conditioning theory.
Once researchers have described general laws behavior, the next step is to explain how or why this trend occurs. Psychologists will propose theories which can explain a behavior.
Psychology aims to be able to predict future behavior from the findings of empirical research. If a prediction is not confirmed, then the explanation it is based on might need to be revised.
For example, classical conditioning predicts that if a person associates a negative outcome with a stimuli they may develop a phobia or aversion of the stimuli.
Once psychology has described, explained and made predictions about behavior, changing or controlling a behavior can be attempted.
For example, interventions based on classical conditioning, such as systematic desensitization, have been used to treat people with anxiety disorders including phobias.
Structuralism and functionalism have since been replaced by several dominant and influential approaches to psychology, each one underpinned by a shared set of assumptions of what people are like, what is important to study and how to study it.
Psychoanalysis, founded by Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) was the dominant paradigm in psychology during the early twentieth century. Freud believed that people could be cured by making conscious their unconscious thoughts and motivations, thus gaining insight.
Freud’s psychoanalysis was the original psychodynamic theory, but the psychodynamic approach as a whole includes all theories that were based on his ideas, e.g., Jung (1964), Adler (1927) and Erikson (1950).
The classic contemporary perspectives in psychology to adopt scientific strategies were the behaviorists, who were renowned for their reliance on controlled laboratory experiments and rejection of any unseen or unconscious forces as causes of behavior.
Later, the humanistic approach became the ‘third force’ in psychology and proposed the importance of subjective experience and personal growth.
During the 1960s and 1970s, psychology began a cognitive revolution, adopting a rigorous, scientific, lab-based scientific approach with application to memory, perception, cognitive development, mental illness, and much more.
Psychology is the scientific study of the mind and behaviour. Psychology is a multifaceted discipline and includes many sub-fields of study such as areas in human development, sports, health, clinical, social behavior and cognitive processes.