As the concept of a direct, simple linkage between environment and behavior became unsatisfactory in the late twentieth century, the interest in altered states of consciousness helped spark new interest in consciousness. People are actively involved in their own behavior, not passive puppets of external forces. Environments, rewards, and punishments are not simply defined by their physical character. There are mental constructs involved in each of these. People organize their memories. They do not merely store them. Cognitive psychology, a new division of the field, has emerged to deal with these interests.
Thanks to the work of developmental psychologists such as Piaget, great attention is being given to the manner in which people understand or perceive the world at different ages. There are advances in the area of animal behavior, stressing the importance of inherent characteristics that arise from the way in which a species has been shaped to respond adaptively to the environment. There has also been the emergence of humanistic psychologists, concerned with the importance of self-actualization and growth. Clinical and industrial psychology have demonstrated that a person's state of consciousness in terms of current feelings and thoughts is of obvious importance. Although the role of consciousness was often neglected in favor of unconscious needs and motivations, there are clear signs that researchers are interested in emphasizing once more the nature of states of consciousness.
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