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Comparing And Contrasting The Psychodynamic Perspective And The Behaviourist Perspective In Accordance To Internet Addiction

1537 words - 7 pages

As with any phenomenon, psychology must be interpreted to be understood (Burton, Westen and Kowalski, 2012, p. 3). Many physicians, physiologists and psychologists, such as Sigmund Freud, John Locke, Ivan Pavlov, and B. F. Skinner respectively, have developed and contributed to their own psychological perspectives which have carried on to the present day. This essay will explore the fundamental ideas, similarities and differences and strengths and weaknesses of both the psychodynamic perspective and the behaviourist perspective. This essay will then shift focus to internet addiction – what it is and how it can be explained. An intervention will then be developed for an individual suffering ...view middle of the document...

The last component details that these cognitive events are able to battle with one another, which may force an individual to have to compromise between several possible actions or behaviours. For instance, an individual may see somebody fall over. They may be feeling especially mockingly that day, and have the urge to burst out into uncontrollable laughter. On the other hand, rational thought may tell them that they should go and help the person who has fallen over. The individual may then battle between which behaviour they will act on. In addition, the psychodynamic theory assumes that uncharacteristic behaviour comes as a result of inner conflict (Glassman & Hadad, 2008). This idea is said to be what makes it so difficult to accurately trace the path of thoughts and feelings that lead to any one behaviour. The psychodynamic perspective primarily focuses on the case- study method, focusing on small groups of people at any one time. In the case-study method, individuals are observed based on their dreams, fantasies, behaviours and body language (Burton et al., 2012, p.12). This is one of the greatest weaknesses of the psychodynamic perspective. As case studies are very unique and personal, it is difficult to generalise to a population.
In contrast to the psychodynamic perspective, the behaviourist perspective has also proven to be substantially significant in interpreting and understanding modern day psychology. The behaviourist perspective of psychology hones in on the relationship between behaviour and external stimuli. Burton et al. (2012, p. 13) explained that behaviourism focuses on the way in which “objects or events in the environment come to control behaviour through learning.” This idea can be very easily confused with the psychodynamic perspective, as both theories involve one or several factors influencing an individual’s behaviour. The difference here, however, is that in the behavioural perspective, it is not our own internal feelings and thoughts that influence behaviour, but rather our experiences, rewards and punishments.
The psychodynamic theory is difficult to observe, as it involves cognition which is unobservable. The behaviourist perspective is different in that we are able to observe the behaviour created in response to environmental stimuli. One experiment that many are familiar with is Ivan Pavlov’s dogs. Through his studies, Pavlov discovered that behaviour is shaped by learning (Burton et al., 2012, p. 13). Over many trials, Pavlov would ring a bell each time before presenting the dogs with their food. The experiment showed that once the dogs had paired the conditioned stimulus (the bell) with the unconditioned stimulus (the food), they would elicit a learned response, also known as a conditioned response (salivation). Not only can the behaviourist perspective be exampled by Ivan Pavlov’s dogs, but can also be explained using John Locke, a British philosopher’s contention. As cited by Burton et al. (2012, p. 14),...

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