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"Describe and evaluate Freud's psychoanalytical theory of development"

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Introduction

"Describe and evaluate Freud's psychoanalytical theory of development" (24 marks) There are three aspects to Freud's theory of personality development. Firstly the structure of personality (id, ego, superego), defence mechanisms and the stages of psychosocial development. According to Freud personality develops as an outcome of these three aspects. The id is located in the unconscious mind and is the source of innate sexual and aggressive instincts. The emphasis is on immediate gratification, for example, a young child wanting a toy NOW. The ego is the conscious, governing part of personality and develops in the first two years of life as a consequence of the infants experience. ...read more.

Middle

These include intellectualism (thinking about threats in ways that allow emotion to be eliminated), denial (refusing to accept the existence of a threat), projection (attributing undesirable impulses or characteristics to others), repression (keeping troublesome emotions out of conscious awareness) and displacement (unconsciously transferring impulses from a threatening object to a less threatening one). Freud described early personality development in terms of five psychosexual stages. In each stage the child's energy or libido is focused on a different body region. The first being the oral stage (0-18months) where satisfaction is from eating, sucking etc. In the anal stage (18-36months) the child is interested in and gains satisfaction from the anal region. ...read more.

Conclusion

It is also enduring and has sparked much further research into the area of personality development and feminists have used his ideas about gender development. However, Freud has come into criticism as he based a theory of normal development around the study of abnormal individuals. The sample used was also unrepresentative as it was small and those included were middle class women. There may be a confirmatory bias as Freud may have disregarded information that did not fit his theory. Freud may have also been selective about the data he used. The notes Freud made were not during therapy sessions but afterwards, so they were retrospective. Another retrospective issue is that Freud was asking adults about their childhood. Critics also argue the theory is unreliable, as it is not scientific. ...read more.

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