Theory assists psychologists in better understanding human behavior

Theory assists psychologists in better understanding human behavior, emotion, social skills, and overall mental health. In essence, theory helps us to better understand human psychological functioning, which embodies how a person achieves one’s goals that are reflected within the self in conjunction with the environment and their relationships. Thus, understanding how researchers go about formulating theories is an important foundation in the science of psychology. In this discussion, you will be exploring this process by researching a psychologist, learning about him/her, and completing the following:

  • Select one noted psychologist from any of the included lists in “The 100 Most Eminent Psychologists of the 20th Century”. Haggbloom et al. (2002).  Locate information about this person to learn more about him/her and his/her work.
  • Locate a scholarly article (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. written by the individual you chose from the Ashford Library (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site..
    • Upon entering the library, click on the Advanced Search option in the Search box.   Enter the name of your selected psychologist in the search field.  Then, select AU Author in the drop down menu to the right of the search box.  In the second search box, enter the word psychology (no need to click on the drop down menu to select a field).
    • Below the search boxes, look for the Limit your results section and select Limit to Full Text and Limit to Scholarly/Peer Reviewed.
    • Then, click Search.

    Alternatively, you may choose a source that is identified in “

Classic Articles as Primary Source Reading in Introductory Psychology

” and then search by “TI Title”.  The library will not have every source, so if you choose a book or an article that is unavailable, try another option.

  • Summarize (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. the contributions of the influential figure you selected to the field of psychology.  In your discussion, include the following:
    • Describe your selected psychologist and his or her main contributions to the field.
    • Next, summarize (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. the scholarly article you read.  Your summary should provide an overview of the theoretical perspective and describe any empirical work (i.e., research study) that is presented in the article. For additional assistance on how to summarize an article read How to Read a Scholarly Article (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site..
    • Examine how this theory/research provides insight into differences in psychological functioning.
      • In layman’s terms, what does the theoretical perspective, that you explain, tell us about the differences between people and how they behave, think, and feel?  How might it explain why they do what they do?
    • Illustrate with an example from your own observation or experience.
      • What personal experiences or observations of these types of behaviors might be able to be explained by this perspective?
      • Example: If I experienced a trauma, how might this trauma affect how I behave in certain situations?

Post your initial response of 250 words or more by Day 3 (Thursday).  Respond to at least two of your peers by Day 7 (Monday).  You are encouraged to post one or more of your required replies early each week (e.g., by Saturday) to stimulate more meaningful and interactive discourse in the discussion forum.   In addition, strive to provide a response to classmates who replied to your initial post and/or the Instructor (if applicable).  Peer responses may vary in length but should be carefully crafted and insightful.  Below are some suggestions to assist your thinking.

Guided Response:  Reply to at least one peer who chose a psychologist other than the one you selected and two or more peers overall.  The goal of the discussion forum is to foster continual dialogue, similar to what might occur in a verbal face-to-face exchange.  Consider the following questions in your responses:

  • What additional questions do you have about the psychologist that your peer summarized?  For example, you could ask about his/her contributions to theory and/or research.
  • Are there relevant connections between the work of the influential figure you selected and the individual selected by your peer?
  • Share examples from your own life that illustrate your peer’s chosen theoretical perspective.


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