Compare & Contrast Two Approaches to Psychology

Topics: Psychology, Classical conditioning, Sigmund Freud Pages: 5 (1534 words) Published: October 2, 2008
Psychology is a discipline that involves monitoring mental processes and behaviour scientifically. Psychologists try to delve into the basic functions of a person and animals cerebral activity. This usually involves studying relationships, emotions, personality and many more areas of a person or animals day to day life. Psychology tends to steer towards finding reasons for a person or animals actions in an attempt to resolve them.

There are many different sub - fields of psychology, however it is possible to draw similarities and differences to all aspects of these fields. The main fields deal with the different approaches used by various psychologists throughout history. Whilst there are no 100% correct theories in Psychology to help to understand a person, we do need to compare and contrast the advantages and disadvantages of each theory in order to work out which is more beneficial for the subject. In this instance, it is possible for me to discuss Behaviourism and Psychodynamic approaches.

One of the main psychologists in recent history is John B. Watson (1878 - 1958). Watson was responsible for creating Behaviourism by developing on theories discovered by earlier psychologist Pavlov (1849 - 1936). This phenomenon had a profound effect on how psychology developed. The General assumptions of the Behaviourist approach show that it relies on the study of objective and observable behaviours and does not take into consideration any internal thoughts or feelings. Basically, behaviourism is the study of the relationship between a persons environment and their behaviour whilst ignoring the internal thoughts and feelings of the individual (Carlson & Buskist, 1997). The Psychodynamic approach is a stark contrast. This approach was developed by Freud (1856 - 1939) in the 1890s in Vienna and looks at the internal conflicts within a subjects unconscious mind to create theories on the subjects personality development. It also allows treatment for psychological disorders based on these theories. In effect, Behaviourism and Pychodynamic approaches are polar opposites of each other in the techniques that they use to draw their conclusions. However, they do have one main similarity in the fact that they both draw on past experiences of the subject to define how they are as an adult, but they do this in very different ways.

Behaviourism relies on the Stimulus-Response principle which consists of using an object to create a reaction. A good example of this is Pavlovs Classical Conditioning theory that we learn through association. Pavlov influenced Watson with his experiment using dogs. Pavlov learnt that when a dog sees food as a Stimulus it has the natural response to salivate to prepare its body for food. Pavlov decided to expand on this knowledge by training a dog to see a bell as a Stimulus.

In comparison, Freud managed to draw his conclusions by discovering that all behaviour is motivated by two basic inner drives: The natural urge to procreate which is known as The Eros, and the natural urge to destroy which is known as the Thanatos. Freud also delved deeper into the mind unlike Watson, to discover that our subconscious is split into 3 parts. The first is the "ID" also known as our natural drive which seeks constant gratification, the second is the "EGO" also known as our personal set of values developed as children, and finally the "SUPEREGO" also known as set of learned values taken from society and our parents.

Freud also discovered that our adult personalities are defined by five psychosexual experiences that we experience as children. These stages are known as oral, anal, phallic, latency and genital. Freud believed that if a child is exposed to over gratification in any of these stages, they will grow to have problems in adulthood which can lead to mental illness.

In contrast, Behaviourism as a discipline looks into environmental factors surrounding a person and disregards any actions which may be deemed as...

Bibliography: ooks1.Burt, C. (1962). The concept of consciousness. British Journal of Psychology, 53, 229-2422.Carlson, N., & Buskist, W. (1997). Psychology: The science of behavior (5th ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
3.Eysenck, H. (1985). The Rise & Fall of the Freudian Empire.
4.Hopkins, R (2007) The Psychological Approaches (Class Handouts)5.Satterfield, J.H., Satterfield, B.T., & Schell, A.M.(1987). Therapeutic interventions to prevent delinquency in hyperactive boys. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, pp.26, 56-646.Satterfield, J.H. & Schell, A. 1997). A prospective study of hyperactive boys with conduct problems and normal boys: Adolescent and adult criminality. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 36, pp.1726-1735Websites1.
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