Freud and Behaviourist's Theories

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Freud and Behaviourist's Theories

In the late 19th and early 20th Century, there were many important

theories developed explaining, or trying to explain, human behaviour

and personality development. In this essay, I aim to compare and

contrast the Freudian Theory and the Theories of the Behaviourists.

These were some of the main theories constructed with aims at looking

at the way our behaviour is, or isn't, controlled by our personality.

The way I have decided to structure this essay is to firstly describe

each theory separately. I will make my comparisons between the two

theories and finally I will conclude with some criticisms aimed at

each theory.

Sigmund Freud (1856 - 1939) dedicated his life to developing his

'Psychoanalytic Theory'. This theory comprises of several different

factors; each one contributing to our mental make up, thus governing

our actions, thoughts and behaviour. He completed the theory in 1926,

at the age of 70, although he continued to re-present it, rethink its

implications and apply it in new ways until his death. (Padel, 1987.)

One of the factors making up his theory was the 'levels of mind'.

Freud said that it was as if the mind was separated into three

sections. These sections being the 'conscious' mind, the 'pre-conscious'

mind and the 'unconscious mind'. The first section, the conscious

mind, being our awake state or our state of awareness. It is this

section of our mind that we use when we are consciously thinking about

something of which we are aware. The next section is the pre-conscious

mind. This is our store of readily available memories. Memories of

which we are aware and know that we ar...

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...ay have an effect on development. It

seems likely however, that whatever the importance of conditioning,

there are other factors involved. (Radford and Govier.))


Epstein, R. (1987). Watson, John Broadus. In Richard L. Gregory (Ed.)

The OxfordCompanion to the Mind. New York: Oxford University Press.

Horle, Rob. (2002). Social Learning. Class Handouts. NPTC.

Horle, Rob. (2002). Social Learning. Class Notes. NPTC.

Padel, J.H. (1987). Freudianism: Later Developments. In Richard L.

Gregory (Ed.) The Oxford Companion to the Mind. New York: Oxford

University Press.

Radford and Govier. (1991). A Textbook to Psychology. New York:


Zangwill, O.L. (1987). Freud on Mental Structure. In Richard L.

Gregory (Ed.) The Oxford Companion to the Mind. New York: Oxford

University Press.
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