Psychoanalysis vs Behaviorism

Psychoanalysis vs Behaviorism

Psychoanalysis vs. Behaviorism Have you ever heard the popular expression it’s not what’s on the outside that counts, it’s what’s on the inside that matters? I’m sure we have all heard it a million times. Now you may be asking yourself what does this have to do with psychology? It fits perfectly with Freud’s metaphor of the iceberg. Where on the outside of the iceberg lies the conscious which is filled with everything we are aware of all the time. But on the inside (underneath) the iceberg lies everything that makes who you are, YOU!

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This includes things you are not always aware of and would typically never think of during a conscious state. For example phobias or traumatic occurrences from your childhood that lie dormant in your mind that may deter you from certain everyday tasks or sights. Also basic instincts that sometimes seem mindless, eating when your hungry, washing your hands when they are dirty, these are things you may have learned from your parents when you were younger that you may not think of on a day to day basis, or even ever.

Things like writing a paper for school, the letters your write into words are so well embedded into your brain you don’t even realize it, punishments you received for acting out in a store, chances are you may not have done it again in adulthood knowing the consequences from the last time you did it, all of these examples are based upon Freud’s iceberg theory of things kept in your unconscious state of mind. Behaviorism has its strengths and weakness but for me is believed to be the least appealing form of psychology because its primarily determined by factors in the environment.

You cannot understand a person based primarily on their behaviors in a certain environment. Watson believed behavior was observable and measurable, therefore was objective and scientific. Although not everyone’s behavior has to do with the environment there in, so that leaves many options, the main being mental. Based on someone’s behavior is it possible to know what reaction your going to get without knowing what’s going on mentally to explain it? I believe that to be false. Also it’s possible to manipulate a person through behaviorism, Nazi concentration camps is the first to come to mind.

Skinner maintained that any behavior followed by a reward or pleasant response is likely to be performed again. Now if you were given two options, work 12 hours burying ones who did not obey and your reward was to live, or refuse and be beaten or buried with them, which would you choose? After reading and understanding the first half of chapter 1, I believe its safe to say the most appealing form of psychology is psychoanalysis because it insists behavior, feeling and thoughts are determined by unconscious forces as explained above. As opposed to behaviorism which I believe to be manipulative and lacking of the subjects mental thoughts.


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