Monday, April 16, 2012

Perspectives of Tolman, Watson and Skinner

     Behaviorism is the study of human behavior (Psychology History, 1999). This psychological perspective suggests that the focus of study and research should be the observable and measurable behavior. The issues in this form of psychology are the environment, the conscious, observable behavior, determinism (behavior is produced by factors outside of one’s control), and individual differences/universal principles (McGraw - Hill, 2011). Edward Tolman, John B. Watson, and B.F. Skinner were three of the earliest to study behaviorism. While Watson and Skinner focused broadly on behaviorism, Tolman studied cognitive behaviorism. This paper will explain the perspectives of each psychologist as well as how they are similar and different.
Perspective of Edward Tolman
     Edward Tolman identified himself as a behaviorist; today he is considered a cognitive behaviorist (Psychology History, 1998). He played a major role in cognitive psychology during a time that behaviorism was dominant. His earlier influences were James, Watson, Freud, Holt and the Gestalt theorists; although he later rejected Watsonian behaviorism. Tolman developed purposive behaviorism. Through his system of psychology, he attempted to study the entire action of the entire organism (Britannica Encyclopedias, 2012). Tolman was original in his methods. This was proven in the way he designed his experiments (Wendt, 1960). Tolman is credited with the Cognitive Theory of Learning. He believed learning was developed from knowledge and cognitions about the environment and how the subject reacted to it. He also believed that learning was not conditioned. Tolman also developed theories concerning behavior and motivation. He believed that a motive was the driving force behind behavior and the behavior continued until the internal motive was satisfied (Psychology History, 1998).

Perspective of John B. Watson
    John B. Watson was the first American psychologist to publicize the behavioral approach in psychology. He believed that first one must observe behavior, make predictions and finally determine casual relationships. He viewed psychology as objective and experimental. In Watson’s behaviorism, behavior was the relationship between the stimuli and the subject’s response to it. Watson believed that psychology was not a true natural science (Watson, 1994). The main focus of Watsonian behaviorism, which was dominant in the 1920’s and 1930’s, was the study and modification of the subject’s environment. He believed it was possible to obtain any desired behavior by controlling one’s environment. Watson was a leading researcher in classical conditioning, the type of learning where a neutral stimulus comes to elicit a response after being paired with a stimulus that naturally brought that response (McGraw - Hill, 2011). One of his popular experiments was “Little Albert” where he paired a white rat (neutral stimulus) with a loud noise (unconditioned stimulus) to elicit a frightened response (unconditioned and conditioned response).    
Perspective of B.F. Skinner
     B.F. Skinner was a behaviorist, although his early interest was philosophy. He was interested in defining how behavior varied when the environment was altered. He used operant conditioning, using punishments and reinforcements, to conduct his research. Skinner also believed that one’s personality was a collection of learned behaviors (McGraw - Hill, 2011). He was not interested in psychological theories, rational equations, or other verbal systems that are required to be proven (Psychology History, 1999). Although many behaviorists do not see themselves the same as their subjects, this was not the case for Skinner.

Comparison and Contrast
     While Tolman, Watson and Skinner had different ideology, their theories were similar in some ways. All three were considered behaviorists although Tolman later became known as a cognitive behaviorist. All three’s research focused on the environment’s influence on behavior. However, the similarities on behaviorism ended there. Tolman believed that behavior could not be conditioned whereas Watson and Skinner believed it could. Their belief was shown by their work with classical conditioning and operant conditioning. Tolman’s main belief was that a person’s motivation was the reason for his or her behavior. Both Tolman and Watson had the outlook that psychology was not an exact science. Tolman believed that psychology was ever - changing (Psychology History, 1998). Watson believed that psychology was not an undisputed natural science and was experimental (Watson, 1994).  These three psychologists are evidence that while one may subscribe to the same psychological perspective; his or her individual perspective may differ.
     Tolman, Watson and Skinner were three leading psychologists in behaviorism. Though each was considered a behaviorist, their views on behavior differed. All three focused on how the environment influenced behavior; however they each arrived at their theory differently. While two believed behavior could be conditioned, one did not. Tolman, Watson, and Skinner each pioneered in behaviorism, creating theories that could be used and tested in modern psychology.

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Monday, April 2, 2012

Women in Psychology: Karen Horney

     The work of Karen Horney is relevant to the twenty-first century problems of the psychoanalyst (Smith, 2007). Karen Horney contributed several notable advancements to the field of psychology, particularly psychoanalysis. Karen Horney was instrumental in the field of feminine psychology and is considered the first feminist psychologist by some. Karen Horney was passionate about her beliefs in psychoanalysis and was considered to be outspoken on her beliefs. According to O’Connell (1980), she also holds “the distinction of being the only woman whose theory is detailed in personality textbooks” (p 81). Karen Horney was a woman who filled many roles throughout her life: daughter, wife, mother, student, doctor, psychoanalyst, teacher, editor, and writer, among others.
Family, Education and Early Career
     Karen was the second – born child to a Norwegian Sea captain and a Dutch – German intellectual woman. According to O’Connell (1980), Karen based her personality theory on her childhood experiences. Karen was a very intelligent child. Her father did not support her education; however her mother encouraged her (O'Connell, 1980). At an early age, Karen decided to study medicine. Karen began her study of medicine at the University of Freiburg. In 1908, Karen was the only woman to pass the preclinical examination; six men also passed.
    Karen married while at Freiburg. However, her education was important to her so she continued studying while balancing a family (O'Connell, 1980). After the birth of her first child, Karen took her state medical examination. Karen studied at three universities – Freiburg, Gottingen, and Berlin – graduating from the latter. Karen continued to achieve her dreams of higher education despite her husband’s lack of support. She obtained her medical degree in 1915, the same year her third child was born.
Karen gained experience in several clinics and with several professionals. She worked at the Berlin – Lankwitz Sanitarium, in a neurological institute, and in a military neuropsychiatric hospital. She worked in the Berlin Psychoanalytic Society under Karl Abraham. 
Interest in Psychoanalysis
            While many students become conflicted with which theoretical perspective he or she will subscribe to, this was not the case with Karen. According to her daughter, Karen knew early in her studies that she would study psychoanalysis (Smith, 2007). When Sigmund Freud developed his psychoanalytical theory, it was his belief that one’s behavior was a result of the unconscious. Karen, on the other hand, rejected this belief. Instead, she suggested that one’s social relationships, particularly the parent/child relationship, was the driving force behind behavior (McGraw Hill, 2011). Karen believed very strongly that one’s culture and relationships determined behavior and personality. She believed that family was the most important component in one’s environment, followed by peers and society. Freud also introduced the idea that women experienced penis envy, or the unconscious desire to be a man. Karen also rejected this idea. Instead, she suggested that men experienced womb envy, or the envy of a woman’s primary role in creating and sustaining life including pregnancy, nursing and motherhood (Horney, 2011). Karen became known as a neo – Freudian psychoanalyst. She was trained in traditional Freudian theory by Karl Abraham. She agreed with the Freudian theory that the past is always found within the present. She rejected Freud’s concept of oedipal complex. Many of her ideas led to a new approach to psychoanalytic theory.

 Contributions of Karen Horney
Karen Horney as a Psychoanalyst
            Karen’s work as a psychoanalyst is usually divided into two phases. The first phase was her early career in Germany as discussed earlier. The second phase begins when she begins working in America. Karen came to the Chicago Institute of Psychoanalysis to be the associate director (Horney, 2011). After two years, she left Chicago to work in New York City. In New York City, she opened a private practice as well as taught at the new School for Social Research. She also worked at the New York Psychoanalytic Institute. Karen did not adhere to the normal Freudian theories and her refusal to caused problems in the psychoanalysis world. Her outspoken neo – Freudian beliefs caused her to lose her position at the New York Psychoanalytic Institute (Horney, 2011). However, she did not let this stop her. Later during the same year she helped to found the Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis as well as the teaching center, the American Institute for Psychoanalysis. She served as Dean of the institute until her death. Karen was also a founder and the editor of the American Journal of Psychoanalysis.
Karen Horney developed a Theory of Neurosis. Within this theory, Karen believed that each person had a central driving force. This driving force was common to all people, yet it was also unique to each person (Smith, 2007). She called this the “real self”. Horney believed that there were three versions of the self: real, ideal and actual. The real self represents the possibilities existing within a person. The ideal self represents the response to anxiety within a problematic environment. The actual self represents the strengths and weaknesses of each person. This is the Conception of Self.
Karen Horney and Psychotherapy
     As a psychotherapist, Karen put emphasis on self – growth and realization (Smith, 2007). While psychotherapists before Karen had developed a system that was successful, Karen wanted to improve upon it. Whereas psychotherapists before her emphasized human relationships, she wanted to add the improvement of relations with one’s self to psychotherapy. In her system of psychotherapy, the patient’s motivation is a crucial variable. Karen sought to help the patients identify the source of his or her anxiety. She also described the therapist’s role as observation, understanding, interpretation and help with resistances (Smith, 2007). Karen based her psychotherapy on her understanding of the cultural and interpersonal affect on the neurosis.  
Karen Horney and Feminine Psychology
            While working as a psychoanalyst, Karen’s interest grew in female psychology. Karen said, “Like all sciences and valuations, the psychology of women has hitherto been considered only from the point of view of men” (Horney, 1967, p 56). Karen objected to the development of female psychology based upon a male’s psychology. Karen believed that society’s view of the ideals a woman should have contributed to many females with problems. Up until this point, psychology had been developed by men. It was men who tried to understand the female psyche and basing their conclusions the same as they had for men. Karen desired to change this perception. She desired to have women seen as different yet equal to men. She concluded that the “penis envy” women felt was nothing more than being envious of men’s success and status in society (McGraw Hill, 2011). Much of Karen’s research and writing in the subject of feminine psychology is still prevalent today.  
Karen Horney as a Writer
            Karen Horney was a “prolific” writer and wrote about many of her theories (O'Connell, 1980). Some saw her books as controversial, but only because they went against present – day Freudian theory. In 1937, she wrote The Neurotic Personality of our Time and in 1939, New Ways in Psychoanalysis. Both of these writings stated her beliefs about environmental and social conditions determining individual personality. In 1945, she wrote Our Inner Conflicts and in 1950, she wrote Neurosis and Human Growth. These writings stated that one’s neuroses were caused by disturbances in his or her interpersonal relationships. In 1967, fifteen years after her death, Feminine Psychology was published. This writing was her papers written over a fourteen year period about the psychosexual development of the female. Karen used her own personal conflicts as a focus for her work (O'Connell, 1980). After her marriage ended, she published six papers on marital problems in a five year span. When her children were adolescents, she wrote papers on conflicts of raising teenagers. 
     Karen Horney was a pioneer in feminist psychology as well as in new psychoanalytic theory. She is “unique and unparalleled in personality theory” (O'Connell, 1980, p 91). Karen made an impact on those she helped. In 1952, her friends and former patients suggested opening a clinic in her honor. The Karen Horney Clinic in New York City was opened in 1955, almost two years after her death. This clinic currently serves as a low – cost clinic as well as a research and training center. Karen Horney received no support from the men in her life to accomplish her education. However, despite the lack of support, she worked hard to become a doctor and a psychoanalyst. She broke from common Freudian theory and formed theories and ideas that led to the advancement of psychoanalysis. Karen Horney is a true mother of psychology and leaves behind a legacy.

Using someone else's work without giving proper credit, is plagiarism. If you use my work, please reference it.