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Behaviourism Vs Psychodynamic Essay

1196 words - 5 pages

‘Compare and contrast the way in which the behaviourist and psychodynamic perspective account for how people make sense of their environments‘.

Psychology as a scientific study of behaviour and mental phenomena, in its systematic approach to observe, describe, predict and explain behaviour (class note), offers different approaches to studying and explaining behaviours, the main approaches includes, behaviourist, psychodynamic, cognitive, humanistic and biological. In this essay, two of the approaches (behaviourist and psychodynamic) will be discussed. There are two categories of behaviourism; radical which explain operant conditioning and classic or methodological behaviourism which ...view middle of the document...

He used a type of puzzle box called Skinner box, which has a lever (experiment with rats) or button (experiment with pigeons), under which is a food tray. The experiment shows the relationship formed between pressing the lever or pecking the button and the delivery of food pellets. In this experiment, food is the reinforcement (reward) which helped in shaping the animal. Shaping involves rewarding the exact nearness of a desired behaviour, e.g. shaping the behaviour of a pigeon in a skinner box would involve identifying the desired behaviour, usually to peck at a button in order to deliver food pellets, and rewarding exact nearness of that behaviour. Subsequently, reward pigeon for being in the side of the box that has the button, then reward for touching 40cm radius of button then 20cm and so on, until finally pigeon touches button. Similar technique is adopted in training animals, performing (especially in circus) and working animals such as police dogs, this type of learning is referred to as operant conditioning. This can also be used by human in education setting. Positive reinforcement encourages the frequency of that particular behaviour being rewarded, whilst negative reinforcement involves the removal of aversive stimulus

Behaviourists made some assumptions about behaviour and it includes, (1) all behaviour is a response to a stimulus. (2) The environment we are in has influence on our behaviour. (3) We learned to respond to a particular situation in the same way if the same situation occurs again. (4) Internal mental processes can not be speculated. (5) Natural instinct (unlearned response and stimuli) exist in people, but most difficult behaviours are determined by the environment. (6) As learning process occurs in lower animals (rats, Pigeons, etc) so it is in higher animal (Humans).

The second psychological perspective is psychodynamic approach, contrary to behaviourist approach, explains the unconscious parts of the psyche (mind), early family experiences and disagreement between natural instincts and what society demand

Psychodynamic psychologists such as Freud, assumed that behaviour is influenced by three parts of the psyche (mind); id, which is unconscious part of our personality demanding immediate satisfaction and governed by pleasure principle; superego, which forms the sense of morality part of the mind, uses guilt and anxiety to perfect and civilise our behaviour; ego, governed by the reality principle, which finds a way of forming a compromise between id and superego. Mostly in some cases, defence mechanisms is used which reduced the natural response into more socially acceptable ways. For example, displacement technique is used by transferring impulse from one object or person onto a more adequate one (e.g. when annoyed with one’s wife then take it out one’s child) and with sublimation technique an immoral drive (e.g. masturbating in the...

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