WHAT CAN PSYCHOLOGY TEACH US ABOUT HUMAN DEVELOPMENT?
Psychology evolved out of both philosophy and biology. Discussions on the two
subjects date as far back as the early Greek thinkers such as Aristotle and Socrates.
The word psychology is derived from the Greek word ‘psyche’ meaning ‘soul’ or
‘mind’. Psychology is both an applied and academic field, that is the scientific study
Of behaviour and experience. Research into psychology helps us to understand and
explain out thoughts, emotions and behaviour. It can be applied to both living
organisms animal and human-life. Psychology is massive topic, and has many theories
This essay just looks at one of these theories, which is the theory of Sigmund Freud’s
on the elements that compose an individual’s personality and development. Human
development is also known as developmental psychology, it is the scientific study of
Systematic psychological changes that occur in human beings over the course of their
life span. Human development includes issues as to the extent to which development
Occurs through the gradual accumulation of knowledge versus stage- like
Development. There are many theories in this school of thought and the study of
psychology can teach us about development, and help explore the developing and
sometimes troubled ‘mind’, “one of life’s greatest mysteries“.
At the end of the last century the idea of psychoanalysis was developed by Sigmund
Freud. By using the “free-association” technique. He was able to uncover memories
Of his patients’ childhood, and he went on to use these as a basis for his theory of
Development(Nicky Hayes 1993 p.103). He also stated that children went through
three stages in the first five years; the oral stage, the anal stage and the phallic stage.
Each stage could have lasting effects on adult personality(Nicky Hayes 1993 p.104).
Sigmund Freud went on to say we have three aspects to our personality, in this theory 1
he saw as being a dynamic balance in adults, his theory is often called a psycho-
dynamic theory. Freud described the most instinctive part of our mind as “id”, and
“ego” to explain part of our mind and personality, and the term “superego” developed
by Freud which means above the ego(Nicky Hayes 1993 p.107). All these elements
are not physical structures found in the brain, instead they represent a general model
of personality that describes the interaction of various behaviours and forces that
motivate us. The “id” resides in the unconscious and conscious part of our mind. The
“id” part of us holds our instincts, it’s where our drive for survival and pleasure exist.
It also drives our basic need for warmth, food, sex and pleasure. It’s the part that
won’t take no for an answer(Nicky Hayes 1993 p.106). New born babies are
essentially all “id”, and their ego doesn’t develop till age three or over. The “id” part
of our mind is disorganised, it’s without a frame of reference, it’s a psychic energy
source that drives the rest of our mind to get what we want. The “ego” is latin for “I
myself”, Freud used the term “ego” to explain part of the mind and personality, the
part that we know as I or me, That is in touch with reality(Nicky Hayes 1993 p.106).
Our “ego” exists through our conscious mind and creates individuality of thought, it
also manages our internal drives and impulses, aggression, libido and our perceived
need for food and safety. Our “ego” makes sense of the external world and informs
our perception of reality(Nicky Hayes 1993 p.107). It is in charge of how we see
things and how we adapt to the world as we experience it. It sits between our “id” and
“superego”. Our “superego” applies values and opinions, either those we were taught
or one’s we have developed. A healthy “ego” means a healthy mind, if our...