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Explanation of cognitive approach

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Introduction

There are many approaches to explaining how personalities are developed. One of these derives from the psychodynamic model put forward by Freud. Freud's (1920) personality theory seeked to explain how personality's develop from individual to individual. The personality according to Freud comprised of 3 areas. The id, ego and the superego. These 3 areas together shape the development of a personality and seeing as they have roots to childhood can affect adult behaviour. The id is the primitive instinctive part of the personality and children are born with it. Children do things to produce pleasure and gratification. The ego is similar to the rational mind we possess. Children learn about the reality principle and the child accommodates to the environment. Finally the Superego is the child's conscience and allows the child to know the difference between right and wrong. The id and superego are in constant conflict with each other. This is because the id's primitive drive for immediate satisfaction is combated by the superego's moral standards. Defence mechanisms are used to reduce the anxiety produced by this conflict and this can include repressing the memory as if it never happened or denying it. ...read more.

Middle

After the anal stage is the phallic stage and this is from the age of 3 to 6. The superego is developed here. The focus of pleasure and gratification is concentrated on the genitals and this is where the child is attracted to the opposite parent and in conflict with the same sex parent, until resolution and identification with the parent occurs. Fixation at the phallic stage can lead to a self assured and vain character in future life. As mentioned earlier the child is attracted to the opposite sex parent and resent. For example in the Oedipus complex boys are attracted to their mother and resent their father as they are competing for the mothers love. This conflict is not resolved until the boy identifies with his father. Once identifying with the father the ideas and attitudes are adopted alongside the notion of right and wrong and it is when this occurs that the superego is produced. As noticeable Freud's personality theory has a major strength and this is the fact that it has paved the way for many other psychologists as it was the first theory which took a psychological route instead of a physiological one and this has lead to other explanations of personality for example Bandura's social learning theory. ...read more.

Conclusion

For example if psychoanalysing somebody and they deny a repressed memory he could say that it is just because you are in denial. Another weakness of the theory is that it was mainly based on and applied to abnormal behaviour and was seen to explain that. This means that it cannot be as easily applied to personality development. Also the sample he used when carrying out his research was biased. Freud used middle aged, middle classed white Viennese women to psychoanalyse and this means it is not possible to generalise his finding to all individuals. Also time era was another problem as he carried out his analysis at a time of great sexual repression and is one of the reasons the theory is so heavily concentrated on sex. This means that in the modern day it may not be applicable as the same circumstances that he formulated his approach are not present. The presence of other theories in the development of personalities also shows that Freud's may not be the only valid or viable theory. Erik Erikson's theory (also a psychodynamic one) covered the entire life span and didn't entirely focus on the psychosexual stages as Freud did. ...read more.

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Response to the question

This essay focuses on Freud’s psychodynamic model of personality development, explicitly covering the main points of the theory (e.g. Id, Ego, Superego, and the psychosexual stages) and continuing on to provide some analysis of the theory (e.g. its strengths and ...

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Response to the question

This essay focuses on Freud’s psychodynamic model of personality development, explicitly covering the main points of the theory (e.g. Id, Ego, Superego, and the psychosexual stages) and continuing on to provide some analysis of the theory (e.g. its strengths and weaknesses, related studies). In general, the first half of the essay (the descriptive information) is significantly weaker than the second half (where the student seems to find their way and begins to confidently provide some critical analysis) – if possible, description and analysis should be intertwined throughout an essay, although this is not always essential. Unfortunately the student provides a fairly rushed description of Freud’s psychodynamic model, which, to a reader who knew nothing, may not be clear enough (e.g. The personality according to Freud comprised of 3 areas. The id, ego and the superego. These 3 areas together shape the development of a personality and seeing as they have roots to childhood can affect adult behaviour” – all very short sentences with no clear analysis, why do these factors have roots to childhood?).

Level of analysis

Unfortunately the student provides no clear introduction or conclusion which really lets the essay down – following a clear, planned structure is really important (introduction – argument – conclusion) as it will both be easier to read and follow for the reader, as well as demonstrating that the student has carefully planned and thought about their essay. In this particular case an introduction is needed to introduce Freud’s concept and the factors that will be discussed, and a conclusion is needed to summarise the arguments put forward and make overarching judgments on the theory from these. Having said that, the level of evaluation provided for Freud’s theory is good – the student assesses both the strengths (e.g. Freud’s influence on other psychologists/theories, providing examples) and limitations of the theory (e.g. not falsifiable, biased sample) – clearly demonstrating the student is capable of providing a critical analysis of a theory and drawing some conclusions about this.

Quality of writing

The spelling and grammar are generally good, with very few problems which, however, could be solved from proof-reading the work once completed, as this will help rule out any unnecessary mistakes. The correct terminology is used to demonstrate the student’s knowledge of Freud’s Psychodynamic Theory (e.g. id, ego, superego, psychosexual stages, Oedipus complex, repression, fixation, and so on). An important thing to note, however, regarding the use of language is that generally whilst describing Freud’s theory, the student writes as if it were proven (e.g. As mentioned earlier the child is attracted to the opposite sex parent), I would suggest phrasing this slightly differently, for example, “According to Freud, the child is attracted to the opposite sex parent…” to ensure two things: first that you are not plagiarising Freud’s ideas, and secondly, to be clear to the reader that it is simply Freud’s theory and not a known-fact.


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