Differences of the psychodynamic and behavioural approaches

While psychodynamic and behavioural methods are the two major approaches to personality, they view personality from different point of view. Psychodynamic strategy argues personality is caused by causes in the unconscious but not learnt. People have little control over their behaviour as it is predetermined, and early childhood plays an essential part in shaping one's personality. Behavioural procedure, on the other palm, recognizes personality as learnt and focuses only on present behavior things. Given the variations, it's been argued whether, in conditions of methodical merit, psychodynamic or behavioural strategy is more extensive. The talents of psychodynamic procedure are concern of childhood experience and acknowledgement of the unconscious part. On the other hand, behavioural approach targets behaviour that can be scientifically measured and verified, and recognizes the importance of external environment on personality. From the above arguments, it is finally concluded, in term of methodology and testability, behavioural procedure is more detailed.


The scientific merit of psychodynamic and behavioural methods to personality is quite different in terms of encouraging whether personality is largely inborn or learnt. The term "scientific merit" here is defined as the methodology employed and testability of the approaches. On one hand, it's been argued psychodynamic approach relies too seriously on unconscious brain whose existence is hard to demonstrate; on the other side, behavioural approach in addition has been criticized for being overly environmentally determinist while looking over mental processes. The following essay is to critically compare and contrast these two methods from various aspects, and deduce which is more encompassing.

The psychodynamic strategy argues encounters in years as a child have significant influence on the introduction of adult personality without their consciousness. Freud (1969), the creator of psychodynamic method of psychology, suggested the psyche includes the following three parts: the preconscious, the mindful, and the unconscious. Among these three, folks are only not aware of the unconscious part, in which there's always conflict between the "id" and the "superego". The "id" is unconscious basic drives present in the newborn, and the "superego" presents the conscience produced by surviving in a community. Both of these elements of the psyche must be supervised by the "ego", which mediates between the impulses of the "id" and cultural constraints. Freud argued that each child must undergo the psycho-sexual periods and their experiences play a sizable part in adult development, specially the development of personality. (Freud, 1969).

According to behavioral way, personality can be regarded as a pattern of learned actions developed through either classical or operant conditioning, and then further shaped by encouragement such as consequence or rewards. Classical conditioning, first suggested by Pavlov (1936), is "learning through association", which advised specific learns to connect a natural stimulus with a reflex response such as anger or delight. Also, operant fitness, primarily suggested by B. F. Skinner (1974), is "learning through the final results of behaviour". If one's behaviour is compensated, then it'll be preserved or increased; if it's penalized, it will be weakened and even extinguished.

There are several substantial dissimilarities between psychodynamic and behavioural solutions. Comparatively, psychodynamic approach recognizes that encounters in child years have influence throughout our lives without our consciousness. It offers important framework for judging one's personality and behaviour. For example, the reason for a person committing murder may be the actual fact that his violent daddy has always physically-punished him since youth. Nevertheless, behavioural procedure argued most human being behaviour is mechanical, and one's personality is merely the merchandise of stimuli and responses. Therefore, the psychodynamic procedure acknowledges everyone can go through mental conditions and conflicts without their faults.

Compared with the psychodynamic methodology, another weakness of the behavioural procedure is the fact that it ignores the part of unconscious. Corresponding to Community Learning Theory, Bandura (1989) has recommended cognitive factors cannot be overlooked if learning is required to be understood. Bandura has also noted that while praise and punishment considerably condition one's personality, cognition has the maximum amount of impact as they certainly. Also, the concepts of behavioural methodology have mainly been examined on family pets. It suggests some findings may well not be applicable to individual, who is much more complex.

On the other side, one of the strengths of behavioural way over psychodynamic strategy, in term of testability, is the fact it only targets behaviour that may be tested and detected, which makes it very helpful in experiments under laboratory environment where behaviour can be viewed and confirmed. Therefore, the results derived from behavioural procedure have been, and continue being, objectively and reliably assessed.

In terms of strategy, the behavioural strategy focuses on modern day instead of analyzing one's former or their medical history. In some cases, this can be a kind of power, specifically for those suffering from their abnormal behavior. For them, instead of knowing the complexities, eliminating the unpleasant behaviour is much more important. For instance, a person with an irrational impulse to clean his pearly whites unnecessarily often per day is more worried about ridding himself of this unnatural behaviour.

Compared with behavioural methodology, the major criticism of psychodynamic way is that it cannot be scientifically verified or observed. Actually, no-one is even in a position to design an event which can effectively refute psychodynamic theory. There is absolutely no way to show if the unconscious really is present, and whether a restrained ram is real or not. Therefore, psychodynamic way doesn't have solid scientific data underpinning the quarrels about personality.

Another weakness would be the actual fact that the majority of the data for psychodynamic theories was extracted from Freud's circumstance studies, such as Little Hans. (Freud, 1969). The primary problem is that the case studies derive from studying one individual in detail, and they have a tendency to be highly subjective. This makes generalisations to the wider population difficult rather than representative enough.


In term of strategy and testability, behavioural methodology is more encompassing for the next reason. Firstly, unlike psychodynamic procedure which can rarely be scientifically detected or examined, behavioural methodology has became useful in methodical experiments under lab establishing where results can be reliably confirmed. Secondly, behavioural methodology, in terms of methodology, recognizes the impact of the exterior environment on one's personality. Finally, almost all of the evidence for psychodynamic theories was taken from Freud's case studies, which is very subjective which is hard to generalize results to a larger human population.

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