Who Provides the Better Approach to Human Behaviour, Freud or Skinner

2607 Words Sep 1st, 2008 11 Pages
Why do we behave the way we do? Is our environment responsible for shaping our personalities? Does childhood influence who we are? These are all questions that have intrigued philosophers and society in general for centuries. ‘There are many experts that share and dispute the answers to these questions, but there are two in particular that have contributed greatly in finding explanations’ (Crux, 2006); Sigmund Freud and Burrhus Frederick Skinner. This essay will compare Freud’s and Skinner’s approach towards human behaviour, highlighting the main ideas and focus of their theories and subsequently coming to an informative decision as to who provides the better approach. This is achieved by pinpointing criticisms that hinder their reasoning, …show more content…
489). For example, what we ate for lunch yesterday, your telephone number, or the name of our first true love. Finally the conscious mind is that part of the mind that contains all the things we are aware of. For example, your conscious might be that you’re tired and hungry.
According to Freud’s theory, ‘people must successfully pass through five stages of development in order to become healthy, well adjusted adults’ (Miller & Shelly, 2001, p. 35). Each phase has an objective that must be accomplished successfully. If the goal is not reached, the person becomes ‘fixated at the uncompleted stage, which results in problems later in life’ (Miller & Shelly, 2001, p. 34). The five stages are: oral, anal, phallic, latent, and genital. The oral stage lasts from birth to eighteen months of age and is primarily based on eating, drinking and sucking. In Freud’s view, the ‘handling of the child’s feeding experiences is crucial to subsequent development’ (Weiten, 2001, p. 495). He attributed considerable importance to the manner in which the child is weaned from the breast or the bottle. In fact, according to Freud, fixation at the oral stage could form the basis for obsessive eating or smoking later in life (Benson, 1998).
In the anal stage, the two year olds focus of pleasure shifts to the anus, helping the child become aware of its bowels and how to control them. The crucial event at this time is toilet training, which represents ‘society’s first systematic

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