Psychology is the study of human behaviour. It seeks to answer the question "why?" Scientifically examining specific actions, responses, and the factors that dictate how an individual reacts under a specific set of conditions, provides insight to how an individual can affect society. The behaviour of an individual has an impact on the greater society that surrounds him/her. Psychological theories cover a variety of areas including Organizational Psychology, Environmental Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Educational Psychology, Forensic Psychology, and Sports Psychology to name a few areas.
Sigmund Freud is credited with the creation of psychoanalysis. He believed that human behaviour is driven by desires and the suppression of these same desires. The only way to access true feelings, to be able to access the unconscious mind, is through hypnosis. Freud described the mind as having three areas: the conscious mind, the pre conscious mind, and the unconscious mind. Each person's personality is motivated by drives. He labeled these drives the Id, which is part of the unconscious mind and continuously seeks pleasure without considering consequences; the Superego, whose desire is to be socially conscious of all decisions and actions that a person makes; and the Ego, the mediator between the Id and Superego. The constant struggle between the Id and Superego must be kept in balance because if the Id becomes too strong a person will not worry about social responsibilities and will participate in activities with little forethought for the potential dangers or social rules being broken. If the Superego is too strong a person's personality becomes too uptight and worried about following social expectations and rules. Significant imbalance, either way, is not healthy for the development of an individual.
Freud views human development as progressing through stages of development where the main conflict deals with an erogenous zone of the body. He theorizes that to progress to the next stage of development it is necessary to properly pass through the current stage. Human development is best understood in terms of changing focuses of sexual desire. These desires are suppressed to the unconscious where they may be preserved. Psychological conflicts arise when the desires want to manifest themselves in overt behaviour(s). Unconscious conflicts are the source of neuroses, which can be treated through therapy and talking sessions.
1. Freud theorized about the motivating drives that influenced personality development through the stages of development. Each stage of development centers around erogenous zones of the body. He labelled this theory Psychosexual Development. Describe each of the stages of development and what each stage means to that individual's personality if the stage is properly or improperly completed.
2. Freud describes various defense mechanisms to protect the balance between the Id, Ego, and Superego. What are the defense mechanisms and what specific protection do they afford for a person's psyche?
3. Find an example of a case, in the media, where a person has recently remembered a traumatic event that happened in his/her childhood. Using Freud's understanding of the conscious and unconscious mind describe what the mind is doing to protect itself. One example could be the Father James Porter case.
Burrhus Frederick Skinner
Not all psychologists agree about the cause for human motivation to take action. In contrast to Sigmund Freud, B. F. Skinner was interested in outward behaviour, not unconscious drives. Skinner believed that our personality responds and develops because of external events and stimuli. Using rats, Skinner put them in cages with a lever that, when pressed, delivered a food reward. The more times the lever was press the more food reinforcement was delivered. A reward for the behaviour of pushing the lever was food. This is an example of positive