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Psychodynamic Theory

Explain psychological theories.

Psychological

Theories

Key theorists

Overview of key ideas

Psychodynamic Theory

Sigmund Freud (proposed psychodynamic theory)

Carl Jung, Alfred Adler and Melanie Klein (further modified the theory)

This psychodynamic theory processes to understand the human feeling, emotions and behaviour as per early experiences. The theory explains dynamic relations between the conscious and unconscious state of mind (Marmor, 2012). This theory deals with the dynamics of the human body that are motives, forces and energy. Psychodynamic theory is inspired by thermodynamics theory of physics considering psychological energy flow in the human brain as a fact of existence. As per thermodynamic the total energy of any physical system remains in a constant state, similarly as per psychodynamic theory the energy state of the human body is always constant. Hence, the energy released from one part will appear in another part in some other form (Bateman, A., Brown, D. and Pedder, J., 2010).

As per psychodynamic theory, there are three parts of the   human personality that are the ID, the superego and the ego. ID is once own instinct and pleasure seeking desire. The superego is influenced by society and rules whereas the ego mediates ID and superego (Marmor, 2012).

According to Summers and Barber (2012), the psychoanalysis linked with psychodynamic theory works to reveal the unconscious desires and thoughts of human personality. However, this psychoanalysis approach didn’t have much support from psychologist and lacks scientific evidence.

Cognitive Theory

Jean Piaget (Studied cognitive development)

Uric Neisser (gave the term cognitive psychology)

Noam Chomsky (studied cognitive revolution)

Cognitive psychology put the concentration of mental processes development like perception, memory, thinking, creativity and intelligence (De Jong, 2010). The cognitive theory got birth from the developmental stage theory derived by Piaget’s where he states that human intelligence or cognition is acquired, processed and developed gradually starting from childhood to adulthood. He also stated that cognitive development is highly linked with biological development of the human body (Clark and Beck, 2010). The life experiences play a very major role in the normal or abnormal cognitive development of body as per this theory (Nutbeam, D., Harris, E. and Wise, W., 2010).

According to Clark and Beck (2010), the three basic components of the cognitive theory are schemas, adaptation and assimilation and development stages of life. The “Schemas” are the building materials that make up the mental representation of the world around human. These are the units of knowledge for different objects, actions and situation happening in the world. This is a stage of mental balance. Whereas the adaptation or assimilation involves the changes as per surrounding situations to deal with new objects and actions. Lastly, the third most important component of cognitive theory is development stages or biological maturation that happen with time leading to the development of cognition in the body (De Jong, 2010).

Theory

Evaluation of Theory and its application in development

Evaluation of chosen study

Learning Theory

As per this theory, learning occurs according to the social context occurring purely by observation, experiences and interactions with the surrounding. Hence, social development occurs through the learning performed as per provided stimulus (Couros, 2010). 

Learning theory explains the process of absorption, process and retaining information as per the emotional, cognitive and environmental influences occurring in the world around us.

The moral development and gender role development are part of social development highly influenced by the learning process. According to Pratt, T.C., Cullen, F.T., Sellers, C.S., Thomas Winfree Jr, L., Madensen, T.D., Daigle, L.E., Fearn, N.E. and Gau, J.M., (2010), the nature of moral development surely changes with the social circumstances where learning leads to these changes. Further, gender development depends on social interactions. For example- individual developing in highly gendered place learns to distinguish people as per their gender. Hence, social development highly depends on the learning process of mind and body.

Lisko and O'dell (2010) indicated that learning and psychoanalytical theories are best to understand social development throughout the life of an individual. According to studies of Couros (2010) the process of learning initiates from early childhood stage leading to overall social construction of humanity. Hence, social development is a part of learning performed by any individual interacting with its environment.

 Harlow (1958), Harlow’s Monkeys

Strength

The Harlow’s study on infant monkey’s experiment was positive scientific evidence that supports social attachment theory and learning theory aspects as a major part of overall development (Harlow, 1958). This study indicated that infant monkey’s also have a natural attachment capability or phenomenon to identify a dummy as a mother figure. The softness, calmness and comfort provided by dummy cloth lead to attachment in conscious of monkey with dummy rejecting the materialistic need of food in another wire gauge dummy.

This study was appropriate to support the process of learning theory but was linked with the social development phase of life. The Harlow’s experiment was more focussed on attachment and learning behaviourism (Suomi et al. 2008).

Weaknesses

This study was not able to explain the effect of learning and development on the social development because one infant monkey were the only experimented individual. Further, the experiment was not retested on any other monkey or animal. Therefore, sampling restriction is the weakness of this study.

Psychodynamic Theory

Summers and Barber (2012) stated that as per psychodynamic theory the unconscious state of mind is the most powerful part that affects the emotion and behaviour of any individual. The negative and positive emotional development is directly the outcome of the unconscious mind. No emotion occurs without a cause or reason and these reasons affect unconscious mind more than the conscious one. 

The psychodynamic theory provided by Freud explaining the conscious and unconscious state of human body links with emotional development for explaining the unconscious state of the human body.

As per psychodynamics, the emotions or behaviours like anger, mistrust, grief, fear, nail biting, hoarding, nervousness, skin picking are the outcomes of different events in initial life stages (Bateman et al. 2010). For example- nail biting is outcome of childhood anxiety event, hoarding occurs due to childhood trauma, and sexual compulsions are related to issues in sexual development stages of life.

Schore (2012) indicated that from three stages of psychodynamic ego development that are Id, ego and superego, the stage of id is highly influenced by the emotional development of the individual. The instinctual vitalities, early childhood experiences, individual desires (emotional and physical) develops the Id of that person.

 Curtiss (1977), Genie

Strength

The case of Genie (1957) “wild child” written by Susan Curtiss is a clear example that describes the involvement of unconscious state of mind the emotional and behavioural development leading to individual personality as per psychodynamic theory (Curtiss 1977). This acts of social isolation, child abuse, and traumatic conditions performed with Genie in early ages of life highlights lack of attachment in terms of emotional, personality and behavioural defects where she where she was not able to bound a health relation with any individual throughout life. Therefore, this study indicates that psychodynamics of personality development also links to the emotional and behavioural development of human (Bateman et al. 2010).

Weaknesses

This study is restricted to only one individual while explaining the psychodynamics of attachment. Further, the study is more focussed on observations rather than experiments in research.

 

Short Essay

Title- Nature versus Nurture debate for understanding the infant and caregiver attachment process

Introduction

The attachment word in psychology works to explain the long-term as well as the short-term interpersonal relationship. The ‘Nature’ is biological phenomenon or concept that already exist in human conscious whereas ‘Nurture’ is experience developed or gained from external influencing factors in the environment (Goldberg, S., Muir, R. and Kerr, J., 2013). In this essay, a clear argumentative conflict is made to compare the impact of nature (Bowlby’s attachment theory) versus nurture (Bandura’s Social learning theory) on the attachment process of humans.

Nature refers to the inbuilt characteristics that are based on the genes of individual attained from their parents. Bretherton (2010) stated that genetic or inheritance of any individual plays a very major role in determining its attachment. The Bowlby’s attachment theory is a good example that supports the nature perspective to describe attachment by taking the example of mother and child bond. The mother and infant bond is a natural process that develops naturally. According to this theory, genetic programming system determines the human behaviour and selection. Suomi, S.J., Van der Horst, F.C. and Van der Veer, R., (2008) supported by studying the Harlow’s experiment where infant monkey selected a dummy of the mother with terry cloth against the wire mash having food. Further, Newland and Coyl (2010) studied that linguistic skills are gained through the inmate language systems.

Various viewpoints rejected the nature perspective of attachment where Wermter, A.K., Laucht, M., Schimmelmann, B.G., Banaschweski, T., Sonuga-Barke, E.J., Rietschel, M. and Becker, K., (2010) studied that good nurturing can cover the nature’s mistakes and lack of nurturing leads to the destruction of nature. But it is not sure that good nature can cover the mistakes of bad nurture. Sameroff (2010) indicated that twins born under same genetic and environmental conditions having 99.9% genetic similarity would show dissimilarity in partner selection indicating that nature does not affect the attachment process.

Nurture being the experiences and influences obtained from surrounding environment and situations is considered to be basic fact behind the attachment process. Sameroff (2010) studied the Bandura’s Social Learning Theory, which clearly supports the nurture of attachment where the feeling of attachment is considered developing as per observation and situation. As per the popular Bobo doll experiment the overall personality and behavioural development is a result of nurture not nature. Shaver and Mikulincer (2010) supported by stating an example from ‘nurture theory of attachment’ that those children who confront abusive experience from their parents lack attachment with their parents in later ages of life. The experience of abuse overcomes the nature of attachment persisting in conscious of children. Hence, nurture defines the long-term attachment process. Schwander, T., Lo, N., Beekman, M., Oldroyd, B.P. and Keller, L., (2010) studied that sexual relationships and attachments are also the outcomes of individual nurture, not nature.

Cognitive Theory

According to Newland and Coyl (2010), nature forms the baseline of attachment whereas nurture structures the relationship developed only after birth. Further, Bretherton (2010) indicated that male will always get physically attracted towards female and vice versa, which is, also explains that nature plays a critical role in attachment. Marshall (2010) studied that any boy having a lot of male friends right from the birth will not select a male as the partner but will only select a female as the sexual partner that rejects the nurture perspective of attachment. 

Conclusion

Both nature and nurture perspective explains the attachment process of humans but either of the perspectives is able to solely explain the attachment process. As per the study, it is clear that both nature and nurture play an equal important role and provide an equal contribution in the development of long-term as well as the short-term attachment in individual life.

References

Books

Bateman, A., Brown, D. and Pedder, J., 2010. Introduction to psychotherapy: An outline of psychodynamic principles and practice. UK: Routledge. 

Curtiss, S., 1977. Genie. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.. 

Goldberg, S., Muir, R. and Kerr, J., 2013. Attachment theory: Social, developmental, and clinical perspectives. UK: Routledge. 

Marmor, J. ed., 2012. The interface between the psychodynamic and behavioral therapies. USA: Springer Science & Business Media. 

Nutbeam, D., Harris, E. and Wise, W., 2010. Theory in a nutshell: a practical guide to health promotion theories (pp. no-no). New York: McGraw-Hill. 

Summers, R.F. and Barber, J.P., 2012. Psychodynamic therapy: A guide to evidence-based practice. New York: Guilford Press. 

Journals

Bretherton, I., 2010. Fathers in attachment theory and research: A review.Early Child Development and Care, 180(1-2), pp.9-23. 

Clark, D.A. and Beck, A.T., 2010. Cognitive theory and therapy of anxiety and depression: convergence with neurobiological findings. Trends in cognitive sciences, 14(9), pp.418-424. 

Couros, A., 2010. Developing personal learning networks for open and social learning. Emerging technologies in distance education, pp.109-128. 

De Jong, T., 2010. Cognitive load theory, educational research, and instructional design: some food for thought. Instructional science, 38(2), pp.105-134. 

Harlow, H.F., 1958. The nature of love. American psychologist, 13(12), p.673. 

Lisko, S.A. and O'dell, V.A.L.E.R.I.E., 2010. Integration of theory and practice: Experiential learning theory and nursing education. Nursing Education Perspectives, 31(2), pp.106-108. 

Marshall, W.L., 2010. The role of attachments, intimacy, and lonliness in the etiology and maintenance of sexual offending. Sexual and Relationship Therapy, 25(1), pp.73-85. 

Newland, L.A. and Coyl, D.D., 2010. Fathers’ role as attachment figures: An interview with Sir Richard Bowlby. Early Child Development and Care, 180(1-2), pp.25-32. 

Pratt, T.C., Cullen, F.T., Sellers, C.S., Thomas Winfree Jr, L., Madensen, T.D., Daigle, L.E., Fearn, N.E. and Gau, J.M., 2010. The empirical status of social learning theory: A metaâ€Âanalysis. Justice Quarterly, 27(6), pp.765-802. 

Sameroff, A., 2010. A unified theory of development: A dialectic integration of nature and nurture. Child development, 81(1), pp.6-22. 

Schwander, T., Lo, N., Beekman, M., Oldroyd, B.P. and Keller, L., 2010. Nature versus nurture in social insect caste differentiation. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 25(5), pp.275-282. 

Shaver, P.R. and Mikulincer, M., 2010. New directions in attachment theory and research. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 27(2), pp.163-172. 

Suomi, S.J., Van der Horst, F.C. and Van der Veer, R., 2008. Rigorous experiments on monkey love: An account of Harry F. Harlow’s role in the history of attachment theory. Integrative Psychological and Behavioral Science, 42(4), pp.354-369. 

Wermter, A.K., Laucht, M., Schimmelmann, B.G., Banaschweski, T., Sonuga-Barke, E.J., Rietschel, M. and Becker, K., 2010. From nature versus nurture, via nature and nurture, to gene× environment interaction in mental disorders.European child & adolescent psychiatry, 19(3), pp.199-210.

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