Essay Writing Guide Struggling with an assignment? The essay will begin with an introduction to each approach, giving main assumptions and supporting evidence. Following this, the two theories will be compared and contrasted, looking at behaviourism in psychology pdf and weaknesses.
In conclusion there will be a short explanation of the main areas of similarity, and differences. Psychology and its many definitions has changed radically and frequently over time, as an independent area of study. There are many different theoretical views, some conflicting, regarding the most appropriate methods for investigating human nature. Behaviourism is the study of the relationship between a person’s environment and their behaviour. Following Thorndike was Ivan Pavlov, a Russian who trained dogs to salivate at the sound of a bell. Watson, a behaviourist, believed psychology was a natural science, restricted to observable behaviour and regarded humans as complex animals with no inner processes or unconscious – only responses to stimulus. After Watson came another key figure in behaviourism- B F Skinner.
Skinners approach was more radical than his predecessors. He developed an experiment using a box similar to Thorndike’s. In both cases, success or failure of treatment is based on specific and observable changes in behaviour. The psychodynamic approach is largely based on internal and unconscious drives, early childhood development and making the unconscious, conscious. It studies the relationship between mind and personality, and the theory that behaviour is driven by emotions, mental aspects and subconscious forces. This was pretty much the life’s work of Sigmund Freud, whose studies formed the basis of the psychodynamic approach.
The tip of the iceberg, represents conscious mind, the larger part, hidden below the water, represents unconscious – where inaccessible memories, impulses and passions are stored. ID, EGO and SUPEREGO, each with its own function, but together they govern behaviour. ID, the most primitive of drives and, as it is present in a newborn, is first to develop. Ego and superego develop from the id. Basically, id seeks pleasure, ego mediates and tests reality and superego strives for perfection and constrains. Not surprisingly, there is always conflict between id and superego.
Conflict is inevitable and if the primary cause of anxiety and unhappiness, these defence mechanisms are a way in which people can deal with inner conflict. During each stage the impulses of id, focus on and derive pleasure from, an area of the body and activities connected with that area. The anal stage follows, during this phase the child learns control in the form of toilet training. The third stage, between the ages of three and six, is the phallic stage – the child focuses on their genitals and is aware of differences between the sexes.
They may focus this awareness on the parent of the opposite sex – the Oedipus and Electra complexes need to be resolved at his stage. A latency period follows, during which the child is less focused on their bodies and instead turns attention to gaining skills for life. The final genital stage occurs during adolescence – the young adult turns their sexual interest towards others in a more mature way. Freud believed that if problems occurred during any stage, it could be detrimental to development e. As an adult they may be fixated with oral pleasures such as eating, drinking, perhaps smoking or nail biting.
Later psychoanalysts felt Freud emphasised too much on instinctive and biological aspects of personality and didn’t recognise that society played a part. More recently it is viewed that society, environment and people in general have a greater impact on shaping personality than biological needs, considering people to be better decision makers and planners that Freud gave credit for. A more modern approach to therapy would include physical cues such as, blushing, posture, change in voice and expressions of the unconscious. Whilst Psychodynamic theories had a huge impact on psychology, they aren’t without weaknesses. When Freud conducted studies into psychosexual development, it was at a time when sex was taboo and standards were strict, therefore many of his patient’s conflicts, centred round sexual desire. There was criticism of the type of patients Freud helped, in that most had serious emotional problems and if observations where based purely on those patients, his theories may not be appropriate to a normal healthy personality. When compared, psychodynamic and behaviourist approaches share many aspects, one of which is Darwin’s evolutionary theory.
Freud believed in the importance of biological instincts on behaviour, his theory of psychosexual motivation is clearly linked to the fact, sex and reproduction, are foundations of evolution. Behaviourists also believe that fundamental similarities between species allow for general rules of behaviour to be adapted from animals. They are both deterministic – they consider that people are driven by forces out of their control, i. Freud with hidden, unconscious forces and Skinner his with external forces, neither having any association with the concept of free will. Freud based his theories on live subjects with no scientific involvement. Freud was criticised for the limited number of studies he relied upon, making many of his claims unfalsifiable.
Because he used techniques like free association and dream analysis, which are unobservable, his ideas were impossible to validate scientifically. Consider how both approaches might view the same psychological illness, e. The psychoanalyst on the other hand, would treat the disorder by identifying underlying conflicts that have been displaced, using free association and persuading the patient to recognise the origin of the anxiety. The problem with this therapy is that it can take years to root out the source and undo the repression. In conclusion both have fundamental differences and share many attributes, behaviourists believe the unconscious has no bearing on behaviour, opposed to psychodynamic belief that unconscious drives are the reason we behave as we do, one is scientific, the other isn’t and they both use very different therapies to treat patients. Behaviourism gave psychology an empirical scientific status and continues to evolve and contribute to modern psychology but has largely been taken over by cognitivism. This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Developmental Psychology section.