Perspective Model Approach: Unconscious, Thorndike and Early Behaviorism for Competitive Exams

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Types of Unconscious

  • Personal unconscious: Similar to Freudian view
  • Collective unconscious: ideas beyond personal experience, inherited from ancestors՚ all generations, and common to all of humanity.


  • Part of collected unconscious, universal forms and patterns of thought: These include themes that can be seen in myths e. g. masculinity, femininity, good, evil opposites, motherhood.

Karen Horney (1885 - 1952)

  • German- American psychologist
  • Trained as a psychoanalyst in Germany who later shifted to the US.
  • She agreed with Freud on the levels of unconscious, anxiety, and repression.
  • She emphasized childhood experiences, social interaction and personal growth.
  • Disagreement with Freud
    • Differed from Freud on primary impulses; impulses are not the main motivating force.
    • Disagreed on Freudian position regarding the biological basis of differences between genders.

Main Concepts in Horney՚s Theory:

  • Basic Anxiety
    • A Major Concept: If The Environment Is Hostile And The Child Feels Lonely And Isolated, Then This Anxiety Develops.
    • It Can Be Overcome By Proper Parental Nurturing
  • Basic Hostility
    • Children develop such hostility if parents are over strict, punishing, indifferent, or inconsistent.
    • Children feel very aggressive and hostile but cannot express it. Repressed hostility leads to anxiety.
  • Social Interaction and Interpersonal Styles
  • She talked about the ways in which people interact with each other, and these were thought to have an impact upon the personality of an n individual:
    • Moving away from others: seeking self-sufficiency and independence
    • Moving toward others: being compliant and dependent
    • Moving against others: trying to gain control, power, and independence
  • Neuroses
    • Arise from emotional conflicts that arise from childhood experiences, and disturbances in interpersonal relationships in later life
    • Relationship with the real self and the ideal self
    • Horney maintained that the real self includes those things that are true about us at any particular time. The ideal self reflects what we would like to become. For normal people, the ideal self is the goal that they would like to reach in the future; it is something around which they can organize their lives and to which they can aspire.
    • For the neurotic person, according to her, the relationship between the real and the ideal self is a problem. In the first place, the neurotic՚s impression of the real self is distorted. For him, the ideal self is a wish instead of reality and idealized self is an unrealistic, immutable dream

Goal of the Therapy

  • For her, the goal is to create a realistic relationship between the real self and the ideal self. Horney was optimistic about human nature and the ability to change.
  • Human interactions caused problem and human interactions solved problems also.

Behavioral Approach

The psychological model that focuses on the overt, observable, behavior.

The model grew out of the rejection of psychology՚s early emphasis on the inner working of the mind, suggesting instead that observable behavior should be the focus of the field. John B. Watson was the first person that advocated the behavioral approach.

This is a psychological approach that considers the relationship between behavior and environmental stimuli as the focus of study; observable behavior is what psychology should be studying, understanding, and explaining.

  • This approach dominated psychology for most of the 20th century What do the Behaviorists Study?
  • They specifically study:
    • Observable/overt behavior
    • Specific measurable responses
    • How particular types of behaviors are controlled by particular types of environmental stimuli
  • Method of investigation: Data are typically collected under controlled laboratory conditions, employing technological assistance
  • What the Behaviorists Are Not Interested in:
  • They are not interested in:
    • Unconscious
    • Inner motivation
    • Biochemical processes
    • These and all other states, which are not being observed with the naked eye or cannot be evaluated.
  • Behaviorist Analysis
    • Behaviorist Analysis is done for seeing and establishing the relationship between the stimulus and response/behavior.
  • Three step approach
    • The antecedent environmental conditions: are analyzed. i.e.. . , the conditions preceding the action/response/behavior, and that lay a ground for it.
    • The behavioral response is studied: study of the action or behavior that is to be understood, described, predicted, and controlled.
    • Observable consequences are explored: the impact resulting from the target behavior i.e.. . how it affects the environment or other people.
  • Basic Terminology
    • Stimulus: A physical energy source that has an effect on a sense organ, thus producing a response.
    • Response: The action, behavior, or reaction triggered by a stimulus.
    • Environment: External factors, variables, conditions, influences, or circumstance affecting one՚s development or behavior.
    • Variable: A behavior, factor, setting, or event that can change/vary in amount or kind.
    • Learning: A relatively permanent change in behavior that takes place as a result of practice and/or experience.

Edwin L. Thorndike: (1874 - 1949)

  • Edwin L. Thorndike, was an American psychologist, who՚s thinking is thoroughly associationistic.
  • He was a functionalist in his emphasis on the utilitarian aspect of psychology. According to him, psychology is about the stimulus- response connections.
  • He was of the view that behavior can be analyzed into associations. He said that the behavioral processes are quantifiable. Believed that behavior was explicable on the basis of nothing but stimulus- response connections inherited and acquired.
  • Initial work: in1898 (published dissertation) studied problem solving in animals. Tried to analyze the conditions under which animals learn.
  • Focus of the study: the relationship between the animals՚ response and their consequences.
  • Main finding: The consequence of any response determines if the response will be repeated in future or not: “The Law of Effect”
  • The Law of Effect: Any response that leads to an outcome that is satisfying for the organism is likely to be repeated; a response leading to an outcome that is not satisfying is not likely to be repeated
  • Association by Contiguity
    • The organism forms an association or connection between the response and its consequences. For it to be effective, the response and the outcome have to be closely linked -- both in time and space
    • The theory drew attention towards the significance of reward and punishment in learning new behaviors

Early Behaviorism - John. B. Watson: (1878 - 1958)

The founder of the behavioristic school of thought.

  • American psychologist with a remarkable career.
  • Initially trained in introspection at the University of Chicago but found it extremely vague and mentalistic.
  • He became interested in experimental research with animals.
  • He completed his Ph. D. on that in three years, being the youngest such graduate.
  • Taught at the University of Chicago for four years, joined John Hopkins as full professor and soon became chairperson of the psychology department.
  • Gave a revolutionary, pragmatic approach often known as ‘Radical Behaviorism’ .
  • He and his followers believed and advocated that psychology should depart from the study of unconscious and the mind because they could not be verified or tested scientifically.
  • Observable behavior is all that psychology should be looking at.
  • Environment and external world (environmental stimuli) is what shapes and determines behavior.
  • Learning is what matters in what a person is, and not the inborn instincts, impulses, drive, id, or unconscious motivation. An understanding of learning will encompass all aspects of personality.

Mentalist concepts, not grounded in reality, should be rejected.