Skinner Vs Psychoanalysis

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There are several similarities and differences between behaviorism (skinner) and psychoanalysis (Freud).

Both behaviorism and psychoanalysis do not believe in the concept of free will in humans and they are both deterministic. Behavioral approach assets that the environment and the consequences of behavior control people while psychoanalysis believe that people are controlled by their unconscious drives. Through his observations, Freud believed that childhood experiences could lead to emotional problems in adulthood. Skinner in his experiment proved that behavior that produces pleasurable consequences is likely to be repeated whilst that which produces negative consequences is stamped out.

Behaviorism and psychoanalysis both believed that
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Behaviorists believe that anything to do with cognition is outside the study of psychology and they define psychology as the study of observable behavior whereas Freud placed much emphasis on mental life. Freud divided the mind into three parts the conscious, the preconscious and the unconscious. He believed that the unconscious mind contained desires, inaccessible memories and impulses that are responsible for human behavior.

Skinner embraced psychology as a science by using experiments and observations to prove his theories. The Skinner box was one of Skinner’s most famous experiments and it fulfilled the goals of psychology, which are to describe, explain, predict and control behavior. In contrast, Freud’s theory of human behavior is not scientific. The theory was formulated basing on Freud’s observations of his patients overtime. It cannot be replicated making it impossible to prove the existence of such constructs as the id, ego or superego.

Freud also believed that human behavior has biological bases influenced by the id. Although he failed to prove that human behavior has biological bases, he believed that it would be proven in time. This was in stark contrast to behaviorists who believed that behavior was the product of the environment and its consequences
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Modern psychology now bases its theories in feasibility and replicability. The fact that most of the constructs in Freud’s theory such as the id, ego and superego cannot be tested and proven has made the theory invalid today. On the other hand, behaviorism is still very valid as its based on scientific laboratory experiments. Behaviorism has been replicated in many studies with the same results being achieved. The theory is still valid in modern therapeutic applications through behavior modification and behavioral therapy e.g flooding and shaping. It is also currently used in the treatment of depression and anxiety

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