How Relevant Is Freud Today

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Sigmund Freud was arguably one of the most influential psychologists in the investigation of personality, and his work can still, to some extent, be considered relevant today. His methods allowed for the first time the investigation of phenomena that were previously difficult to tackle, such as dreams and sexual desires. “Yes and No” is a justified reply to the question of whether Freud is relevant today in that his ideas on personality were the first to investigate the role of childhood trauma, and have been reflected in the work of many other psychologists since, either as a continuation of his work or as a reaction to it. In this essay, the relevance of Freud's Personality Theory will be assessed, with reference to conflicting…show more content…
This discredits the idea that childhood experiences shape personality, questioning the relevance of Freud's theory. Further evidence of a biological basis to personality rather than the explanations offered by psychoanalytic theories come from the neuroscience of personality. For example, the amygdala, located within the limbic system, appears to be vital for processing all emotional stimuli (Pervin et al, 2005). In addition to this, neurotransmitter functioning provides more evidence for the idea of biological influences on the development of personality traits. The drugs involved in alleviating depression, Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors, (SSRIs), were administered to 'normal' individuals and have been found to “reduce negative affective experience and to increase social, affiliative behaviour,” (Knutson et al, 1998, cited by Pervin et al, 2005). Support for biological theories also comes from the case study of Phineas Gage. Before an accident in 1848 which involved his tamping iron being blown completely through his skull, destroying his left frontal lobe, Gage's personality was that of a serious, industrious, energetic and responsible man (Pervin et al, 2005). After the accident, however “in this regard his mind
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