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Describe and evaluate one or more psychodynamic explanations of personality development.

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Introduction

Describe and evaluate one or more psychodynamic explanations of personality development. (24 marks) One of the key elements of Freud's theory of personality development is conflict, and to understand how these conflicts arise we first have to look at the structure of the personality. Freud believed that personality has three parts, known as the tripartite. Firstly the id, this contains innate sexual and aggressive instincts and is located in the unconscious mind. The id works in accordance with the pleasure principle, with the emphasis being on immediate satisfaction. Then the ego, this is the conscious, the rational mind and it is developed in the first two years of life. It works on the reality principle. It takes into account what is going on in reality and it acknowledges that acting impulsively can hurt us. ...read more.

Middle

Some of the main defence mechanisms are repression: this is were a painful thought is kept out of the conscious mind, to protect himself, it is also said to be the most powerful of the defence mechanisms. Displacement: this is were we unconsciously redirecting an emotion from the person who caused it onto a third party. Denial: there is were we simply deny the existence of something that is threatening. William's carried out research to prove that people do use defence mechanisms as way of protecting themselves from distress. She found that one third of women they interviewed who had been previously sexually abused as children did not have any recollection of such events. Of those who did recall, 16% reported difficulty in recalling. There are problems with this there is sample bias, no consent from the participants and also this research is unethical. ...read more.

Conclusion

Also Fisher and Greenburg reviewed studies of oral and anal personalities and they concluded there is good evidence in these types but no evidence that these types relate in any way to early experience. The research which was carried out by Freud, consisted of case studies, these were extensive interviews with a small sample of middle class Venetian women. His theory of normal development was based on retrospective recollections of childhood from abnormal individuals. Criticisms of his theory are that there is sample bias as it was carried out on a small number of the same sex. The information was done retrospectively and Freud didn't interview any children to base his research on childhood. Bandura disagrees with Freud as he believes that it is more social than psychodynamic as he states that it is social factors surrounding a child which will determine someone's personality. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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Response to the question

Response to Question
The candidate is instructed to "describe and evaluate" and this essay fulfils both of these instructions with detailed exploration of both aspects of the question. The use of alternative evidence to assess the psychodynamic approach shows some ...

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Response to the question

Response to Question
The candidate is instructed to "describe and evaluate" and this essay fulfils both of these instructions with detailed exploration of both aspects of the question. The use of alternative evidence to assess the psychodynamic approach shows some understanding of the context of Freud's theories in psychology as a whole. The failure to include a conclusion to his/her essay suggests a lack of care or appropriate timing taken by the candidate.

Level of analysis

Level of Analysis
The candidate's explanation of the tripartite theory of personality development and the conflicts inherent in this is of a very high standard. They clearly set out the three different parts of the mind, their roles and the way in which they develop. The inclusion of the defence mechanisms of the ego does not seem wholly relevant to the question, and as the link between personality development and the mind's defence mechanisms is not made clear, I feel that it may be ignored by an examiner.

The evaluation of the psychodynamic approach takes into account a number of issues in psychology (ethics, reliability, bias) and shows a good standard of knowledge of psychology. However, the candidate often fails to expand on the arguments made. For example, (s)he writes "also this research is unethical", but fails to explain why the research is so, and it seems that this point comes as an afterthought. There is also a brief inclusion of criticisms made by other approaches in psychology, which places the psychodynamic approach within wider psychological thought, but the fact that this extends to a single sentence is poor.

Quality of writing

Quality of Writing
The candidate expresses his/her ideas clearly and the quality of written communication is generally of a good standard. Some of the syntax feels clunky ("For instance, the oral personalities don’t manifest themselves until childhood. So their findings are meaningless.") and I feel that the candidate could have paid more attention to making the essay flow better, as this would give a better impression to examiners. There are some errors (referring to Freud's patients as "Venetian" as opposed to "Viennese"), but they are generally of a minor nature and I feel that candidates would be given some leeway at GCSE.


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