Approaches and Perspectives

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  • Created by: devona
  • Created on: 13-06-13 20:17

Psychodynamic perspective

The psychodynamic perspective explains behaviour from the point of view of our unconscious and early childhood experiences.Freud's psychodynamic structure of personality suggest that our behaviour is influenced by Id, ego and superego. We are born Id and aquire ego and superego during childhood. There are five stages of psychosexual stages of  development that children go thorugh oral,anal,phalic,latent and genital.Treatment of psychotherapy aims to look at unconscious thoughts, desires and motivations through regression using hypnosis an project personality test and dream analysis. 


Freud, little Hans stuck in phallic stage( discover genitals and want to be with opposite gender and replace other gender) this is called Oedipus complex. Little Hans develop a fear of white horses, Freud concluded his ego part of his personality had transferred his anxiety( defense mechanism)  towards his fear of his father taking his place in his mothers affections.this supports the psychodynamic perspective as it demonstrates that children develop through psychosexual stages of development. 

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Pychodynamic continue

Thigpen and Cleckley 

aim to provide an account of the case of an individual considered to have MPD. 100 hours of interviews over 14 months using psychotherapeutic treatment and occasional hypnosis of 25 year old patient Eve White. project test carried out to gain some insight into unconscious feelings and wishes, drawing of human figures and Rorschach ink blot test, eve's interpretation of ink blot test to suggest what unconscious motives might be causing the behaviour.Found that early childhood experiences might have been the cause of Eve developing MDP. This shows the use of psyhodynamic perspective as it uses psychotherapy treatment such as hypnosis and psychotherapeutic treatment and looks at the unconscious motives and thoughts of Eve white. 

Strength. Useful treatment developed such as hypnosis which help certain people. Mundane realism(appears valid to real life) can be transferred to real situations in life that early childhood experience does have an effect on our long term behaviour. 

Limitations. relies on case study method, this method is non-scientific and lacks generalisability, only done on one participant e.g. Freud. Construction of Id, ego and superego are hypothetical and cannot be proved. Project personality test lack validity no proof that measuring unconscious thoughts. 

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Behaviourist perspective

Our behaviour is determined upon our environment, we learn to to behave in response to our environment either by stimulus-response association or result of reinforcement. We learn through classical conditioning, learning by association of an stimulus. Operant conditioning identifies learning through reinforcement. Positive tend to encourage the repetiton of learned behaviour while Negative doe the opposite. Social learning theory, learn through vicarious reinforcement (seeing reward someone gets for behaviour) and modelling behaviour not punished, seen as acceptable. 


Useful knowing that children learn through modelling able to put band or limit violence shown to children e.g. rating on video games. theories tested under experiment conditions and are replicable, controlled. 

Reductionist reduce behaviours purely down to environment doesn't take into account genetics.use of animals in earlier studies can't be generalized to humans. 

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