Chapter 2: Theoretical Perspectives On Human Behavior Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Chapter 2: Theoretical Perspectives On Human Behavior Deck (25)
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Systems perspective

Sees human behavior as the outcome of reciprocal interactions of persons operating within linked social systems.

Part of something larger. Multiple moving parts. One effects other parts.


Feedback mechanisms

The process by which information about last behaviors in a system are fed back into the system in a circular manner.



Refers to the usual behavior of persons occupying a particular social position.


Chaos theory

Emphasize systems processes that produce change, even sudden, rapid, radical change.

Recognized negative feedback looks as important process in systems and recognizes their role in promoting system stability. In addition, it proposes that complex systems produce positive feedback loops that that feed back information about deviation into the stead state in such a way that the deviation reverberates throughout the system and produces chance, sometimes rapid change. This feedback may come from within our system or other systems in environment.


Closed system

No exchange with external systems.


Open system

Exchange of resources with external systems.


Conflict perspective

Looks for sources of conflict, and causes of human behavior, in the same economic and political arenas, and more recently in the cultural arena.

Group and individuals try to advance their own interests.

Lack of open conflict is a sign of exploitation.

Social change is driven by conflict, with periods of change interrupting long periods of stability.


Critical theorists

Believes that the driving force of human behavior is controlled by culture.


Pluralistic theory of social conflict

Recognizes that more than one social conflict is going on at all times, and that individuals hold crosscutting and overlapping members in status groups.


Empowerment theories

Focus on process by which individuals and collectives can recognize patterns of inequality and injustice and take action to increase their own power.


Feminist theories

Focus on make domination of the major social institutions and present a vision of a just world based on gender equity.


Rational choice perspective

Sees human behavior as based on self-interest and rational choices about effective ways to accomplish goals.


Social exchange theory

Starts with the premise that social behavior is based on the desire to maximize benefits and minimize cost.


Social constructivist perception

Focuses on how people can learn through their interactions with each other, to classify the world and their place in the world.


Narrative therapy

Starts with assumption that we all tell ourselves stories about our lives, develops dominate story lines and forgetting material that does not fit the dominant story line.


Psychodynamic perspective

Concerned with how internal process such as needs, drives, and emotions motivate human behavior.


Developmental perspective

How human behavior unfolds across the life course.


Social behavior perspective

Suggests that human behavior is learned as individuals interact with their environments.


Social behavioral perspective:

Classical conditioning theory

Behavior is learned through association, when a naturally satisfying stimulus is later with a natural stimulus.

(Pavlov experiment)


Social behavioral perspective:

Operant conditioning theory

Behavior is learned as it is strengthened or weakened by the reinforcement (punishments and rewards) that it receives.


Social behavioral perspective:

Cognitive social learning theory

Behavior is also learned by intimidation, observation, beliefs, and expectations.


Humanistic perspective

Emphasizes the individuals freedom of action and search for meaning. Expands to the spiritual aspects of human experience.


Hierarchy of needs

Higher needs cannot emerge until lower needs have been satisfied.

1) physiological needs: hunger, thirst, sex
2) safety needs: avoidance of pain and anxiety; desire for security
3) belongingness and love needs: affection, intimacy
4) esteem needs: self-respect, adequacy, mastery
5) self-actualization: to be fully what one can be; altruism, creativity, justice


Phenomenal self

Individuals subjective felt and interpreted experience of “who I am”


Positive psychology

Focus on people’s strengths