Freud vs. Skinner

2255 Words10 Pages
Sigmund Freud versus Burrhus Frederic Skinner

Comparsion and contrast of their theories

In the world of psychology, Sigmund Freud versus B.F. Skinner has been a long-standing debate. The question, “If one had depression, which would be the better therapist and why?” raises a great variety of controversies. This debate of Freud versus Skinner stems from their position and philosophy in psychology, psychoanalysis and behaviorism—Freud being the founder of psychoanalysis and Skinner maintaining a strong behaviorist stand. There are typically three viewpoints to this controversy: those solely in support of Freud, those solely in support of Skinner, and those not in total support nor total
…show more content…
You can learn more about each of these three aspects of personality and how they interact in this overview of the id, ego, and superego.

Skinner’s operant conditioning
Operant conditioning (sometimes referred to as instrumental conditioning) is a method of learning that occurs through rewards and punishments for behavior. Through operant conditioning, an association is made between a behavior and a consequence for that behavior.

Behaviorist B.F. Skinner, which is why you may occasionally hear it referred to as Skinnerian conditioning coined operant conditioning. As a behaviorist, Skinner believed that internal thoughts and motivations could not be used to explain behavior. Instead, he suggested, we should look only at the external, observable causes of human behavior.

Skinner used the term operant to refer to any "active behavior that operates upon the environment to generate consequences. In other words, Skinner's theory explained how we acquire the range of learned behaviors we exhibit each and every day.

Examples of Operant Conditioning

We can find examples of operant conditioning at work all around us. Consider the case of children completing homework to earn a reward from a parent or teacher, or employees finishing projects to receive praise or promotions.

In these examples, the promise or possibility of rewards causes an
Open Document