Freud's Psychoanalytic Theory: An Analysis

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This essay will argue for and against with reference to empirical research whether it is possible to test Freud’s psychoanalytical understanding of mind. To answer the essay question, first, the allegations against the theorising as unscientific will be briefly introduced followed by a notion of a scientific method. Of the theories, it will be specifically Freud’s ideas of the unconscious and his methods assessing such that will be argued pro and con whether it is possible to test scientifically. It will be argued how Freud can be scientific particularly by the formulation of contemporary cognitive science language. Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, is much referred to and thought of as unscientific (Westen, 1999). It is said that his theory is unfalsifiable and the data restricted as it was based on abnormal experiences…show more content…
However, this is found to not be specific to psychoanalysis. Meta-analyses point to that it is not clear how effective psychotherapy is as reviews find similar effects of all the treatment styles, yet key words such as consistency are found to be what gives the best effect (Marcus et al., 2014). Back to the example from Cummins reading of the case study of Dora (2000) which is an example of how Freud’s theorising cannot rule out other solutions i.e. is not falsifiable nor meet the condition of corroboration. Another counterargument for Freud’s theories to not be scientific is his notion of recall in memory has been rejected. Research has disproved that perception is merely truthful (Freud, 1901 cited in Brewin & Power, 1991). Auditory illusions and visual illusions such as the Muller-Lyer effect are examples that demonstrate how unconscious processes distort the incoming sensory data (REF,
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