Reductionism and determinism theories of psychology






Reductionism and determinism theories of psychology

During 1950s, psychologists such as Abraham Maslow and others argued that traditional approaches of psychoanalysis and behaviorism were very narrow and did not exhaust the concept of free will in human behavior. This led to the creation of humanistic psychology as a new movement which lay emphasis on the unique qualities of a person and his ability to self-determine and be responsible (Phemister, 2001, 13). One of these concepts is self-actualization where an individual tends to be more autonomous.

Determinism doctrine states that all events, as well as human actions, are entirely determined by causes that existed previously. A concept of determinism which applies in different concepts is the act of being determined. In healthcare, an individual is responsible for his health and he can avoid sicknesses by leading a healthy lifestyle. Nutritionists say that a healthy livelihood can only be achieved by eating a balanced diet and avoiding behaviors that are risky such as smoking and drug abuse (Stroham, 2003, 24). Reductionism is the breakdown complex phenomena into smaller components. In psychology, reductionism reduces variables which are complex into individual variables making it an important strategy during research (Flanagan & Cardwell, 2003, 256). During psychological reductionism, psychologists attribute behavior to individual functions of hormones and transmitters. Both doctrines can be used to explain mental illness such as schizophphrenia, which is attributed to neurotransmitter dopamine. Lastly, determinism argues that genetic factors and bodily malfunctions are the main cause of mental disorders. Therefore, cure can be achieved by removing the sick parts or treating the available symptoms.

In conclusion, the modern nature of humanistic psychology tends determine a whole situation by analyzing the individual components that are concern. When a psychologist is approached by a patient, he first separates all the available symptoms before recommending a specific action.



Flanagan, C & Cardwell, M 2003, Psychology A2: the complete companion. 253-261. Viewed, august 23, 2010 from,+determinism&source=bl&ots=ngvEYF0vFn&sig=-oXSpWXQXri1qxTuBIBP40FChcg&hl=en&ei=c05yTLyTKNWUOMv25aAL&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=7&ved=0CDIQ6AEwBg#v=onepage&q=theories%20of%20psychology%20and%20human%20development.%20reductionism%2C%20determinism&f=false

Phemister, A 2001, Revisiting the Principles of Freewill and Determinism: Exploring conceptions of Disability and Counseling theory, The Journal of Rehabilitation, Vol. 67. P. 12-15

Stroham, R 2003, Genetic Determinism as a Failing Paradigm in Biology and Medicine: Implications for Health and Wellness. Journal of Social Work Education. Vol. 39, p. 23-25