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Relation to psychology

Distinguish between subjectivity and objectivity in relation to psychology. This essay is going to summarise, define and evaluate the psychodynamic and behaviourist approaches to psychology using objective and subjective scientific research. Folk psychology is an explanation of everyday human behaviour which is motivated by beliefs and desires. The explanation was developed by Tim Crane, (1962) a philosopher of the mind and metaphysics who has numerous publications on his work.

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Crane suggests everyday behaviour is explained using the beliefs and desires psychology principle which he implies individuals have been using since the age of two. An example to show this principle is an access student desires to be a nurse so they believe by doing an access to nursing course it will get them to university. Paul Churchland, (1942) a philosopher of the mind and neurophilosophy, is against folk psychology because he deems it as nonexistent since it does not give explanations on sleep processes, mental disorders, creativity, memory, abnormal mental behaviours and differences in IQ levels.

Churchland suggests what will explain everyday behaviour is neuroscience because it will provide an adequate explanation and proposes folk psychology is static whereas Crane is for folk psychology because he believes it explains everyday behaviour using the belief and desire principle, he implies it doesn’t need to be theory based because folk psychology explains it well enough. Abnormal behaviour, mental disorders and memory are not taking into account because it is not everyday behaviour. (Johnson 2012)

The primary founder of the psychodynamic approach to psychology, Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) was an Austrian neurologist who created the subjective psychodynamic approach to explore and understand human personality. He published a variety of books, his most famous being ‘The Interpretation of Dreams’ which describes how unconscious desires and experiences shape dreams. He is now regarded as the most influential neurologist of the 20th century. (BBC 2012) Psychodynamic psychology is the deterministic adult behaviour determined by childhood experiences which are influenced by past behaviour. (McLeod 2007)

According to Freud’s psychodynamic theory of human personality, the human personality is comprised of three fundamental elements. These elements of the personality are known as the ID, Ego and the Superego. These three elements work together to produce complex human behaviour. Every human, according to Freud, is born with an ID. Out of the three personality elements, the ID is the only element present from birth. This element is entirely unconscious and comprises of the primitive and instinctive behaviours.

The ID endeavours for instant gratification of all the desires, needs and wants, which is driven by the pleasure principle. Anxiety and tension can be a result of the desires, needs and wants not being instantly fulfilled. The demands of the ID cannot always be satisfied instantly so instead the ID will try to resolve the anxiety formed by the pleasure principle through the primary process which allows for a mental image to be formed, temporarily satisfying the demand.

Responsible for dealing with reality, the Ego develops from the ID and ensures the ID’s demands are communicated in a suitable manner in the real world. The Ego is able to function in the conscious and unconscious mind and functions on the reality principle. This allows the Ego to endeavour to please the demands from the ID in a social and realistic way. The Superego, which develops from the age of five in children, contains all the human’s internalised moral standards and ideals which are gained from authority figures and society, allowing human’s to sense right from wrong, as well as offering guidelines for making judgements. (Cherry 2012)

Defence mechanisms are in place to protect the ego from the unconscious demands of the ID and the Superego. There are six different mechanisms, displacement, rationalisation, reaction formation, regression, repression and denial. Freud implied these defence mechanisms where in place to change events and scenarios that are a threat to the individual to make them more acceptable. For example, if a teenage boy was using drugs but his parents didn’t believe the headmaster when told about the problem, the denial defence mechanism would refuse to admit external unpleasant events were happening to protect them whereas if Mary started college away from her family and began sleeping with her teddy bear again her regression defence mechanism would return her mind back to more primitive levels of behaviour. (McLeod 2008)

The development of the individual is through the critical negotiation via each specific psychodynamic stage of development. Freud proposed five stages of development and suggested at each stage the child was seeking to gain gratification from a certain part of their body. However, too much or too little gratification could lead to certain personality traits. The psychosexual stage begins with Oral, between birth and 1 year. The baby seeks gratification with its mouth by enjoying feeding, suckling and putting things in its mouth but this could cause conflict if the baby is force fed or weaned too early, the consequence of this fixation could lead to smoking, overeating and verbal hostility in later life. The second stage, Anal, ages 2-3, the child seeks pleasure from expelling or withholding faeces.

This could cause conflict by toilet training the child which could lead to anal explosives or obsessive tidiness in later life. Stage 3, Phallic, ages 3-5, the child seeks pleasure by masturbation, but could cause conflict if the child has an abnormal family set up which leads to unusual relationships with the mother or father. This could cause men to feel anxiety over sex in later life and women to feel envy of the penis. Stage 4, ages 5-puberty, the child’s sex drive is repressed, which results in interactions with the same sex peers but there are no consequences as there is no fixation at this stage. Stage 5, ages puberty-death, the adult seeks pleasure from their genitals either by masturbation or sexual intercourse but there are no consequences as fixation should happen, this indicates a healthy adult. (Johnson 2012)

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