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Freud and Skinner - Term Paper Example

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Freud and Skinner Abstract Psychologists who deal with personalities are often faced with several questions like what factors influence the changing patterns of behavior and what differentiates one individual with the other. There are also other areas of doubt like the role of intuition and subject experience on human mind, differences in personalities between individuals, common needs and emotions of humans, and how people are motivated to behave in a particular manner…
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Freud and Skinner
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Download file to see previous pages This does not conclude that such explanations are false but they are always akin to speculations since it is never possible to know the accuracy of human behavior. B.F. Skinner was a twentieth century American psychologist, behaviorist and social philosopher. He talked about Radical behaviorism which is a philosophy of behavioral pattern. He believed that behaviour is in general casual and is affected by circumstantial events. His perception of behavior has influenced other scientists to study on social behavior and contingencies. Freud was an Austrian neurologist and is an important name in the world of psychology. He believed that human behavior is influenced mostly by the unconscious mind. His theory is in direct contrast to Skinner as the latter has taken a more scientific approach. Skinner did not consider a person’s consciousness as valid data while Freud has mainly focused on the unconscious mind. This paper will attempt to compare and contrast Freud and Skinner's approaches to understanding behavior. Skinner’s theory of behavior Skinner believed that human behavior is completely influenced by external factors and genetic influences. He did not believe in free will and regarded it as a myth. His behavioral theory was based on response to circumstances and their consequences. He gave a more formal shape to this type of learning and he called it operant conditioning. Skinner was both popular and controversial psychologist among his peers. His most controversial theory was radical behaviorism, which explains that “behavior, whether animal or human, is completely determined by environmental and genetic influences” (Nevid, 2012, p.191). Skinner firmly believed that behavior must be measured and identified based on observational processes. The mind of a person which consists of thoughts and feelings cannot be observed as it is abstract, so it must not be considered while making scientific judgement of human behavior. Skinner’s perception of mind was that it is like a “black box” that cannot be comprehended with scientific methods. Skinner also said that some responses occur as reflex actions, but his concept of classical conditioning describes that “new stimuli can elicit existing behaviors, such as salivation” (Nevid, 2012, p.192). It cannot extract any new behavior. He, however, does not advocate the idea that behaviour is influenced by consequences because they generate “satisfying effects”. His theory of operant conditioning explains that “organisms learn responses that operate on the environment to produce consequences” (Nevid, 2012, p.192). Under this theory, the behaviour occurs in response to a consequence, and the presence or absence of the consequence alters the tendency of the organisms to repeat the behavior in the future. For instance, if a rat is placed in a special cage where there is a bar on the wall which if pressed will release food pellets in the cage, then the rat will continuously bounce around and press the bar to pile up his food. Thus the behavior of the rat will remain constant as long as same behavior (release of food pellets) is followed by his action. But if no more food pellets are given, then the rat will ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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