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Compare and contrast 2 approaches to psychology

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Introduction

Compare and contrast two approaches to psychology A psychological approach is a basic set of assumptions and beliefs about an organism, and a way of explaining how it operates/functions, with evidence to support this. Different psychologists have different ideas about what makes us, us and there are 5 major approaches in psychology. I have chosen to compare and contrast the Psychodynamic and Behavioural approaches. The Psychodynamic approach claims there are psychological forces [psycho] that drive us forward [dynamics]. It studies the interrelationship of the different parts of the mind, personality or psyche and how they relate to mental, motivational and emotional drives, particularly at a subconscious level. This approach believes most of our behaviour is determined by unconscious thoughts, desires and memories and tries to interpret our behaviour in relation to those innate emotional processes. The seed of Psychodynamics was sewn by Ernst von Brucke in 1874; adopted by Freud and later adapted by Jung, Adler and Erikson One of the main focuses in psychodynamics was the link between the emotions and conflict in the id [which holds the raw animal drives; was inaccessible to conscious thought, selfish and demanded instant gratification] the ego [the logical part that controlled the drives of the id and allowed its desires to be expressed in a socially acceptable way] and the superego [where our 'highest' ideals and outside expectations were internalised; the source of our morals] Freud likened the structure of personality to an iceberg. ...read more.

Middle

He separated psychology from philosophy, steered it towards biology and rejected Freuds' theories about unconscious as they could not be observed. Behaviourists did not reject the existence of consciousness and a mind but felt these concepts were impossible to study so couldn't give a great deal towards a scientific approach in psychology. They felt the human body was a machine and watched what went into it (stimulus) then measured what came out (response) Watson and his colleagues state that behaviour is moulded by experience and relied heavily on Pavlov's classical conditioning theory. Pavlov initially discovered that dogs' behaviour followed a pattern of stimulus and response. He then carried out experiments which developed a conditioned response to a stimulus that was paired with an original unconditioned stimulus. He went on to find that other behaviours like discrimination, spontaneous recovery and extinction developed. This research also worked with humans. Behaviourists theorized that all human behaviour could be explained as a complex series of highly conditioned reflexes and as humans are related to other organisms through evolution, their behaviour could be understood by looking at animals and that general rules could apply to both. They felt that humans and animals were related physiologically and behaviourally. Behaviourists see learning as a change in behaviour that is bought about by altering links between stimuli and response and that however complicated a behaviour, it was possible to break it down and analyse it in basic stimulus-response units (reductionism). ...read more.

Conclusion

However the behaviourists could scientifically document their findings as they were observable and unlike Freud they could almost identically replicate experiments. They also argue that emotional and instinctual drives cannot be observed, therefore are also unfalsifiable. Freudian theorists state that adult behaviour is best understood by looking at childhood experiences. Behaviourist Skinner agrees but feels connections are based on the reinforcement history of the person and that the id, ego concept is too vague. Behavioural therapy only focuses on altering behaviour and ignores the underlying problem but psychoanalysis tries to get to the underlying problem to alter current behaviour. Behaviourists don't take into account the possible role of biological factors in human behaviour and believe learning and experience determines the type of person you become, whilst Freud firmly believed that childhood experiences moulded us into whom we became as adults Both approaches are very deterministic, they leave little room for free will. Behaviourist ignore free will, they view individuals as passive beings that are at the mercy of their environment. This doesn't account for creative and spontaneous behaviour, they generalise behaviour ignoring differences between individuals and their experiences. Psychodynamics also ignores free will. How can internal conflicts be in our control? Both approaches also agree that past experience can determine how we react to present and future events, but some of Freuds' ideas are clearly tied to his time in history and not easily testable. The research carried out by behaviourist can still be repeated today. ...read more.

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