Formany years, psychology has been a discipline which studies human mind andbehavior through different perspectives. The two-important school of thoughtswhich have huge impacts on psychology are behaviorism and psychoanalysis. Theyboth developed under unique contexts which affected the founding fathers ofthem. Both behaviorism and psychoanalysis had different methods, goals andsubject matter. Even though they differ in the pathway, they both tried tounderstand the reality of human mind. Firstof all, when looking at psychoanalysis, Freud separated the human personalityto three components: Id, Ego and Superego.
Each component has differentstrategies: Id looks for pleasure, Ego balances the needs with the externalworld and Superego contains and forbids Id’s sudden passions. They arepersistently in conflict and in order to minimize it, the ego advances severaldefense mechanisms which maintain the mental balance between the three systems.Freud explains human psychology with an iceberg imitation. The tip of theiceberg is our conscious experiences and the unconscious experiences under thewater which has the biggest impact to our mind consist of hidden memories,urges, desires etc. In additionto that, Freud supports that the developmental (psychosexual) stages inchildhood have a lifelong effect on human personality. The methods that he usedwere free association, a Freudian slip, dream analysis and transference. Heused lab experiments very rarely and believed that observing behavior is notenough, reaching the unconscious mind is more important than observation.
Therefore, he focused on introspection while treating his patients. Oppositely, Behaviorism had a goalto convert psychology into a science. The Zeitgeist lead behaviorists (underthe guidance of John B. Watson et al.) to do lots of experiments to observe thehuman behavior while responding to a situation.
Watson’s Stimulus-Responsetheory supports that, associations between a new stimulus and a conditionedstimulus can be learned through training. It is also valid for animals. That’swhy they did animal researches.
Watson believed that human psychology should bestudied only byobservable behaviors. The data from unconscious mind should not be validbecause of the subjectivity. Plus, the major concepts for behaviorism areclassical conditioning, operant conditioning, learning through reinforcementand punishment. Tocompare these two school of thoughts, it can be said that apparentlybehaviorism rejects the mental part of human psychology and focused on learntbehavior while psychoanalysis observed mainly unconscious mind.
The laboratoryexperiments are vital for behaviorists. While behaviorists believe nurtureagainst nature, psychoanalysts believed also the nature (id, ego, superego). Although Watson rejected Freud’s methods, he persuadedthat infancy was a vital stage for emotional development and the source ofpsychopathology and it can be an example of the deterministic approach (Overskeid, G., 2007). Both of thedisciplines believed that the past experiences affect the present behaviors byconditioning and by psychosexual stages.
Also, Watson accepted that sex/loveassociated with instincts (Rilling, M., 2000). Toconclude, psychoanalysis has a goal to highlight the elements and theirpotential to the human mind. On the other hand, rather than the unconscious,behaviorism gives importance to the external behavior which is observable.