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The influences of modern psychology can be seen throughout American society and culture. Whether you are watching a comedy show like “Family Guy” or a episode of the trivia show “Jeopardy,” you will likely see a reference to modern psychology theories. Modern psychology theories do not only intrigue college students at the nation’s top universities. Even those who are not studying at Harvard or the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor can appreciate the way in which these modern theories of psychology help us probe into our innermost motivations to determine why we behave the way that we do. Here are the top four influential modern theories of psychology, and the psychology experts who brought these theories to life.
1. Carl Jung’s “Nurturance” Theory
Carl Jung was born in Switzerland and developed a fascination with psychology at a young age. In fact, this legendary psychologist had a belief that he had two distinct personalities at the age of five. Carl Jung is renowned for developing the belief that all of our acts are motivated by a desire for nurturance. He believed that every act has a ritualistic significant for the way in which we desire to return to our youth and be taken care of by our parents. An example of this would be if a man acts repeatedly childish around a woman and “teases” her for attention. The reason the man would be acting in this way, according to Carl Jung, would be because he has an underlying desire for the attention and discipline of his mother.
2. Sigmeund Freud’s “Sexual Motivations” Theory
Sigmeund Freud perpetuated many psychological theories throughout his lifetime, but his “sexual motivations” theory is one of the most well-remembered in American consciousness. He was one of the first psychologists to seriously further the notion of a collective conscious, and he is credited with exposing the ways in which media tends to infiltrate into this collective conscious in order to influence it. His most popular theory was the belief that all of our actions are based by sexual desire. This means that no act is truly accident in the eyes of Freud. The Freudian slip was a term coined to show that when a person accidentally says a word with a sexual connotation, this means that he or she has a true desire for the subject.
3. Albert Bandura’s “Social Learning” Theory
Albert Bandura’s “social learning” theory was that social institutions are necessary for regulating behavior in order to promote the learning and growth of the individual. Without these regulatory models, individuals can not grow and learn, according to Albert Bandura. His theory also placed importance on the role of social cognitive abilities. He posited that individuals should learn in an environment where they feel safe and nurtured. If an individual was presented with an image that aroused his or her anger, then this would tend to negate any learning impact that the image could have on him or her.
4. Noam Chomsky’s “Ambiguity” Theory
Noam Chomsky is a famous 20th-century linguist who has been accredited with furthering the theory that language contains inherent ambiguities. He is the author of “On Nature, Use and Acquisition of Language,” and he has had a tremendous impact on communities outside of the world of psychology. The legal profession, for example, has actually referred to the works of Noam Chomsky in creating judicial opinions where the issue is over the meaning of a single word.
These psychologists and linguists have all had a significant impact on American consciousness for the ways that they have made us reconsider the motivations that we have for acting on a daily basis.
- University of Michigan-Ann Arbor Psychology Department
- Purdue University Psychology Course
Margie Cooke is a clinical psychologist and guest author at Best Psychology Degrees, a site with ratings and rankings of the top psychology degree programs.