• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Should Freudian theory be abandoned?

Extracts from this document...


IP1/E3/1 Should Freudian theory be abandoned? Sigmund Freud was a Viennese psychiatrist who collected a body of data from his patients about their feelings and emotional experiences, especially relating to their childhood. He then developed his ideas to explain human behaviour into a theory: Psychoanalytic Theory, and a form of therapy: Psychoanalysis. His psychoanalytic theory is the best-known psychodynamic approach today. He believed that unconscious internal forces controlled an individual's behaviour. Psychoanalytic theory seeks to explain human development and behaviour in terms of an interaction between innate drives (such as the desire for pleasure) and early experiences (the extent to which early desires were gratified)(Eyesenck & Flanagan, 2000). Freud assumed that the mind is made up of three parts. All three parts are used for most behavioural decisions. First, there is the id. The id is made up of natural biological instincts and urges. These instincts and urges lie in the unconscious and are thought to be sexual and aggressive. They are all self-serving, impulsive, and irrational. The id runs according to the pleasure principle, with the emphasis being on immediate satisfaction. Second, there is the ego. This develops during the first two years of life and is the rational and conscious part of the mind. ...read more.


18). When considering the decision-making processes of humans, it would be presumptuous to assume that unconscious thoughts and instincts are the sole source of motivation. Decisions maybe solely based on instincts in emergencies, when a quick, gut reaction is required. Whereas, in everyday decisions, such instinctual reactions play a lesser role of simple aiding an individuals logical reasoning. An average individual takes into account a variety of points prior to making a decision rather than simply relying on instinct. Freud's belief that every act or behaviour a human being generates generally originates from the unconscious suggests that human beings are literally incapable of any logical reasoning or thought. Another assumption of Freud that can be criticised is that the unconscious is larger than the conscious. Everyday, every hour that an individual is awake, he/she is functioning in the realm of awareness. This suggests that a vast amount of information is required to function effectively on a daily basis. Thus, it is difficult to believe that the unconscious would contain more information than what is accessible to function daily. Out of his Id-Ego-Superego theory, Freud developed his theory of psychosexual development, which consists of four stages: oral, anal, phallic, and genital. In each stage, he believes that a "child derives pleasure from different body parts" (Muus, p. ...read more.


There is also the thought that, since he is studying so much of the unconscious, isn't it true that he might unconsciously overlook something, or unconsciously focus too much on one aspect? After all, he is a human being with a mind just like the human beings in which he studied. Also there are many other theories and explanations of human behaviour which maybe more feasible and more universally acceptable such as Learning Theory developed by the likes of Pavlov (1849-1936), Thorndike (1874-1949, Skinner (1904-1990), Social Learning Theory developed by Bandura (1965), Cognitive or Information Processing theory developed in the 1950s and so on. It is true, however, that Freud's theories do make sense in observation to abandon them completely. Freud himself put a lot of time into all of his studies, and was an observer himself. He inspired many others to follow in his footsteps, elaborate on all his theories, and use his methods even today. Freud also frequently revised his work, and seemed to let every possibility come into perspective. As far as proofs, experiments, or tests, Freud, like any other psychologist, has little strength. Banyard, P. & Hayes, N. Psychology: Theory and Application. London: Chapman & Hill. 1994. Cardwell, M. The Complete A-Z Psychology Handbook. Second Edition. Hodder & Stoughton. 1996, 2000 Eyesenck, M.W. & Flanagan, C. Psychology for AS Level. Psychology Press Ltd. 2000. P12-15. Muus, R. Theories of Adolescence. New York: McGraw Hill. 1996. http://www.free-cliffnotes.com/data/ga/pko136.shtml http://web.rollins.edu/~gvaliante/ClassMaterials/Critique9%20Freud.pdf ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Psychology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Psychology essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    In this essay I will evaluate and explain the Social Learning Theory (SLT), which ...

    5 star(s)

    the benefit that the interviewee will feel that they can express themselves more freely. Semi-structured interview * This is typically a mix between the structure and unstructured interviews. * There is some planning involved beforehand concerning the questions to be used.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    Compare and contrast two psychological perspectives I am going to research the psychodynamic ...

    3 star(s)

    In addition, a good theory, according to many philosophers of science, is falsifiable, able to be generalized, leads to new theories and ideas, and is recognized by others in the field. Clearly psychoanalysis meets many of these criteria. But Freud coined the term "psychoanalysis" in 1856.

  1. Peer reviewed

    Freud's theory of psycho-sexual development

    5 star(s)

    Such a two-fold change is so difficult for girls and require so much of them, that it renders them too passive for anything other than motherhood. At the pre-oedipal stage, both she and the little boy receive pleasure from playing with their small penises - although for the girl, it is an even smaller clitoris in lieu of the penis.

  2. Peer reviewed

    Freud claimed to have discovered 'scientific method by which the unconscious can be studied.' ...

    5 star(s)

    However despite these serious criticisms of his theory Freud should nevertheless be acknowledged as one of the major figures in psychology. Despite much modification and reinterpretation of Freud's theories, the notion that there is some kind of internal conflict of which we are often unaware still stands.

  1. Learning Revision Notes. Important terms and major experiments

    * This continues, reinforcing a behavior and then withholding reinforcement until a more specific behavior has become established. * If the technique is successful, the child might start speaking spontaneously Evaluation of this method: - Effective technique but reinforcement needs to be maintained in order for the child to continue the behavior.

  2. Anti-social Behaviour Coursework

    They found that when the temperature was moderately hot, around 84 degrees, violence was highest, when temperatures got hotter, aggression declined. > This confirms the finding that temperature can act as a stressor leading to the response of aggression. > However, other evidence does not support the notion that aggressive behaviour declines when the heat becomes extreme.

  1. Critically evaluate Nancy Chodorow's theory of the origins of gender identity in childhood. In ...

    Chodorow supposed that "internally the boy tries to reject his mother and deny his attachment" (Chodorow 1989:50). Freud claimed that girls reject their mother in favour of their father at some stage, Chodorow disagrees. She claims that "a girl cannot and does not completely reject her mother in favour for men"(Chodorow 1989:52)

  2. Different Theories and theorists in Human behaviour

    Furthermore skinner believed that other difficult task could be completed and broken down through this way and taught. Skinner developed teaching machines so that students could learn gradually, revealing answers for an instant reward.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work