freud theory

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  • Freud's Theory
    • Claims
      • Best way to understand behaviour is to examine childhood.
      • Suggested much of our mind was in an unconscious region.
      • It's our unconscious mind that controls our behaviour.
      • Traumatic childhood- leave mark in the unconscious mind.
      • Conscious mind- awareness.
        • Preconscious mind- accessible memories.
        • Unconscious mind- drives and repressed trauma.
      • ID- unconscious level- selfish urges.
      • Superego- preconscious level- discipline.
      • Ego- conscious-preconscious- reality.
    • Components
      • Healthy personality needs a balance between all 3 parts.
      • When they are imbalanced, the result is a disturbed personality.
      • Childhood trauma can lead to imbalance.
        • This can lead to criminal behaviour.
      • Claims that child needs progress from ID to the ego.
        • He states children don't make this transition.
    • Credibility
      • Cognitive psychology has identified unconscious processes, such as memory.
      • Cn start to make links to parts of the brain and their functions. E.g. limbic system is brain's emotion centre.
      • Taken from unrepresentative sample- his patients and himself.
      • Lacks objectivity- can't study unconscious mind.
      • Reductionist- based that childhood trauma leads to imbalanced personality.
      • Deterministic- implies childhood trauma leads to criminality.
    • Analysis
      • Albert Fish
        • Killed at least 5 people by sexually assaulting them, torturing them.
        • Fish began visiting public baths, where he would watch other boys undress.
      • He was frequently abused in an orphanage.
        • Fish began to enjoy the physical pain the beatings brought.
      • Fish's mum secured a job and was able to move back in with her.
      • He used to sexually assault men as he watched naked men when he was younger and liked it.
        • So, he had traumatic experiences as a child, which lead to an imbalanced personality.
    • Refuting Evidence
      • Unrepresentative sample- all males and convicted criminals.
      • Freud knew his patients- couldn't be objective.
      • Subjective- different analysts came to different conclusions.
      • Clarke and Clarke (1976)
        • Studied children from deprived backgrounds.
        • Used a longitudinal study.
        • Found there were many factors contributing to a child becoming a criminal.
          • Not just whether or not they were deprived.
    • Supporting Evidence
      • Research has supported that most criminals come from unstable homes.
      • John Bowlby (1946)
        • Studied 44 juvenile delinquents.
          • Compared them with disturbed juveniles who had no criminal record.
          • 39% delinquents experienced separation from mother during first 5 years.
            • Compared to 5% of control group.
      • Fisher&Greenberg (1996)
        • Concluded there's evidence to support Freud's concepts of personalities.
        • Some of his ideas on depression and paranoia.


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