Compare & Contrast Two Approaches to Psychology

1527 Words Sep 25th, 2008 7 Pages
Psychology is a discipline that involves monitoring mental processes and behaviour scientifically. Psychologists try to delve into the basic functions of a person and animals cerebral activity. This usually involves studying relationships, emotions, personality and many more areas of a person or animals day to day life. Psychology tends to steer towards finding reasons for a person or animals actions in an attempt to resolve them.

There are many different sub - fields of psychology, however it is possible to draw similarities and differences to all aspects of these fields. The main fields deal with the different approaches used by various psychologists throughout history. Whilst there are no 100% correct theories in Psychology to help to
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Skinner created the theory of Operant Conditioning as he believed that all behaviour can be controlled by rewards or reinforcement. This is very different from Pavlovs theory of Classical Conditioning as Skinner is trying to control voluntary behaviour. This is done by giving the subject a positive or negative reaction to an action with the theory that a negative response will discourage the subject to repeat the action. A good example of this is house training a dog, as the dogs natural reaction is to relieve itself, however it must be taught to wait until it is outside. The more the dog waits until he is outside, the more praise he receives therefore it is less likely to wish to instigate a negative reaction by relieving himself inside the house.

A huge difference between the two theories is the way they carry out their research. Behaviourism uses animals to gain an insight into human behaviour, whereas Psychodynamic uses human subjects to research into the inner psyche.

One of Freuds most famous experiments was 'Little Hans'. This was about a five year old boy who was afraid of horses, and was jealous of the birth of his sister. It was thought that Hans' anxiety culminated from his inner desire to be his mothers mate. Freud used Hans in order to help develop another of his theories - the 'Oedipus Complex' which is a small boys inner jealousy of his father and fear of punishment by castration by him. It must be stressed that the
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