Landmarks in Psychology, Part 2

Freud and associates, 1922.
Standing (from left to right): Otto Rank, Karl Abraham, Max Eitingon, Ernest Jones
Sitting (from left to right): Sigmund Freud, Sandor Fereczi, Hans Sachs

Whether or not one accepts Freud's (1856-1939) system as a whole, even his opponents must recognize that he has broadened our intellectual horizon. Freud broke with the past, paradoxically enough, by emphasizing the past of every individual, thus transcending the lone psychogenic model. He set up a tridemensional structure for the understanding of human personality, which he called "psychoanalysis". Psychoanalysis has permeated every cultural endeavor within the last two decades: medicine, art, fiction, drama and even the way we view history. His division of the mind topographically into (a) the id (the reservoir of pleasure impulses); (b) the ego (the system of realistic tendencies making for stability and social status); and (c) superego (the matrix of conscience and scrupulousness) all ties up with his doctrine of sexual development. Psychoanalysis consist in bringing the complexes to the fore and breaking the patient's resistence to discerning the culprits underneath. Freud believed that the Oedipus complex in the boy and the Electra complex in the girl at a very young age - is in reality the center of his whole system. The roots of all the quirks and kinks that leads to neurosis is still lingering at some early stage of libido development. Thus the bothersome complexes in the unconscious, which are reactivated by recent occurrences, break through in hysteria, perversions, and various types of psychoneurosis like phobias, anxieties, and depression.

American psychologist John Watson, (1874-1956), was greatly influenced by Pavlov. Watson proposed to make the study of psychology more scientific. He used only objective procedures such as laboratory experiments designed to establish statistically significant results. This behavioristic view led him to formulate the stimulus-response theory of psychology. All complex forms of behavior - emotions, habits, and such - are seen as composed of simple muscular and glandular elements that can be observed and measured. He claimed that emotional reactions are learned in much the same way. By 1950, this new behavioral movement had produced a mass of data on learning which led such experimental psychologist as Edward C. Tolman , Clark L. Hull , and B. F. Skinner to formulate their own theories of learning and behavior based on laboratory experiments instead of introspective observations. This behaviorist approach brought psychology more into line with the natural sciences.

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