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Different Approaches in Studying Behavior - Essay Example

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Human behavior is a very complex matter that has been studied by experts for centuries and still continues to be a subject of interest for psychologists. Throughout the years, different perspectives and approaches in studying human behavior have been developed by various experts in the field…
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Different Approaches in Studying Behavior
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Download file to see previous pages Psychodynamic Approach
The psychodynamic approach towards human behavior puts emphasis on the interactions between the unconscious and conscious aspects of one’s personality and on the early childhood experiences of a person (“Psychodynamic Theory”, 2005). One of the main theorists for this approach, and perhaps one of the most famous persons in the history of Psychology, is Sigmund Freud.
Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud’s main emphasis was on the unconscious mental processes which, he claims, is the main cause of mental illness (Venekamp, 2006a). According to Freud, the human mind consists of three components: the id, which is the unconscious component that deals with a person’s desires and needs; the superego, which is the subconscious component that holds a person’s morals and standards; and the ego, which is the conscious component that acts as a moderator between the id and the superego (Venekamp, 2006a). The ego will try to satisfy the person’s desires as dictated by the id in a manner that is acceptable according to the standards and morals as dictated by the person’s superego. The interactions between these three components determine a person’s behavior in a given situation. When the ego is not able to cope with a certain situation, a person tends to resort to what is termed as defense mechanisms.
Anna Freud
Anna Freud, Sigmund Freud’s daughter, was known for her works in child psychoanalysis and her expansion of her father’s idea of defense mechanisms....
There are different kinds of defense mechanisms; some are more functional and adaptive than others and there are defense mechanisms that may be destructive more than they are helpful (Embree, 2008). Although defense mechanisms are sometimes necessary, a person who overuses these mechanisms or who uses the destructive defense mechanisms may be suffering from a clinical syndrome (Embree, 2008). This agrees with Freud's idea that mental illnesses are mostly caused by unconscious processes since defense mechanisms are mostly unconscious and involuntary.
Behavioral Approach
While the psychodynamic approach focuses on the unconscious psychological processes and believes that behavior is mainly governed by the interactions between the aspects of a person's mind, the behavioral approach believes that environmental factors and external stimuli are the major forces in the creation and modification of human behavior (Venekamp, 2006b). The two major theorists who developed the behavioral approach were Ivan Pavlov and B. F. Skinner.
Ivan Pavlov
Ivan Pavlov developed the concept of Classical Conditioning. According to Pavlov, the behavior of a person is mainly a response to an external stimulus and he believed that behavior can be controlled by associating other stimuli to the original one. Classical conditioning starts with an unconditioned stimulus that elicits an unconditioned response. The behavior is controlled by constantly presenting a neutral stimulus with the unconditional stimulus. In time, the subject will learn to associate this neutral stimulus with the unconditioned stimulus and would tend to elicit the same response towards the supposedly neutral stimulus even without the unconditioned stimulus. In classical ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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