Images of Human Nature Underlying Psychoanalysis, Behaviorism and Existentialism

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Discuss Images of human nature underlying psychoanalysis, behaviorism and existentialism with specific reference to particular theorists exposing these positions. On what basis can one decide between those positions? Which theory does such an evaluation lead your regard as preferable?

Different images of human nature have been the topic of interest for many personality theorists. Different perspectives and viewpoints have arisen through the ages. Three main movements which will be discussed are psychoanalysis, behaviorism and existentialism. Three personality theorists which have contributed to each of the movements are Sigmund Freud, B.F Skinner and Rollo May. Human nature can be described as the shared psychological attributes of human kind that are shared by all beings.

The Psychoanalytical theory developed by Sigmund Freud attempts to explain human nature or personality as focusing on unconscious determinants of behavior. Freud’s theories were built around how the human mind works and how human behavior results from his understanding.

Freud places emphasis on the unconscious mind in understanding conscious thought and behavior. Freud’s understand was that dreams were the royal road to the unconscious understanding. The unconscious being feelings, thoughts and emotions which the conscious has hidden.

Freud divided the individual psych into three parts. The first part he named the ID. The Id is the child like portion of the psych. It is very impulsive and aims to fulfill pleasures. The ID does not regard consequences. The super-ego is the moral backbone of the psych. It allows the psych to choose between right or wrong. The ego is the balance between the two. The ego is portrayed through the individual’s behavior.

Freud places emphasis on anxiety an attribute which all humans’ experience. Freud proposes the existence of defense mechanisms in the unconscious to protect the individual from experiencing anxiety or guilt. An example of a defense...
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