FREDUIAN AND SKINNERIAN INSIGHTS INTO X' CASE

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FREDUIAN AND SKINNERIAN INSIGHTS INTO X' CASE

 

 

 

 

Theory Application Paper

 

 

 

Sarah Merve Ahmad

 

 

 

Koç University

 

 

 

 

 

 

In this paper, my main goal is to analyze one boy's development in depth whom I well

 

acquainted with, I will explain his development from Freud's Psychoanalytic and Skinner's ,

 

Behaviorist and Learning Perspective. I will shed light on his some specific behaviors,manners and

 

reactions by using these two different perspectives. I think these both perspectives lead me way to

 

understand him better and help me in order to figure out the real answer lying behind his character.

 

I will try to find the underlying factors that shape his character. Throughout the paper, I will keep

 

his name anonymously , lets call him X. First of all, I will give some background and biological

 

information about X .

 

X is a quite young boy. He is around 12 years old, coming from high-middle class family. He has

 

not been any romantic relationship yet. He is a student, goes to primary school called Mustafa M.

 

Boysan I.Ö.O which is located in Suadiye. He does not like studying instead studying, he prefers to

 

watch TV for hours or chatting with friends on Facebook. His home is located in Kozyatağı. He has

 

a kind of eating disorder problem, he is an over-weight and diagnosed as a in a danger of becoming

 

a diabetic and nowadays he is in on a strict diet. But for him it is quite difficult to apply this strict

 

diet because for him it is almost impossible task to leave his mouth empty. He always wants

 

something to eat or chew, enjoys oral stimulation especially while watching TV or movies.

 

 

 

Besides that , X has a special bond especially with his mother. he is dependent on her. There is a

 

kind of symbiotic relationship between X and his mum. Since early ages, he is surrounded by girls.

 

I view him as a different person when I compare him with other boys, peers and his friends. While

 

other boys are interested in playing football, cars, discussing about the last basketball game, he is

 

interested in girlish stuffs such as playing with the baby dolls, keeping up with the fashion,

 

discussing and reading the articles appeared in the magazines called such as HeyGirl. It could be

 

claimed that he lacks of same male characteristic traits.

 

I am going to analyze his behavior from two different perspectives. Firstly, I want to use

 

Skinner's approach , If we look at this case with Skinner's glasses, the first thing that we should do

 

is no to underestimate the importance of environment and we see that his behavior is mainly shaped

 

by his surroundings. According to Skinner the term personality is meaningless, he rejects any

 

mental internal component such as personality , according to him personality is a result of responses

 

to the environment. He is a radical determinist free will is an illusion, supports the idea that all

 

behavior is caused. According to him behavior is changed by its consequences we call it operant

 

conditioning.

 

And if we look at the case from Freudian perspective our interpretation differs to a great extent

 

and in Freudian perspective, we put great emphasizes on unconscious mind, id, ego, superego and

 

early childhood experiences. I will give more detail explanation about Freud's psychoanalytic

 

perspective later. Here I want to underline that both Freud and Skinner are radical determinist, they

 

believe that all human behavior is caused. They believe that people have no “free will” in their

 

behavior. While Skinner is environmental determinist, Freud is a biological determinist.

 

If we go back to Skinner's perspective, from his perspective, we could claim that he behaves

 

in that certain way, he prefers to be with the girls chatting with them because he takes advantage by

 

doing so. In order words, this behavior has a benefit for him. Lets look at ABC model from

 

behavioral perspective, this model can be divided into its components. In this Model A represents

 

antecedent(what comes before) antecedent leads to behavior, we might say that leads him to act in

 

that way as a consequence he feel himself accepted among them and feel happy. B represents

 

behavior and C represents the consequence. First thing is to ABC analysis. Here, overt behavior is

 

important for us. According to this model what comes before and each behavior has a consequence

 

here we could talk about the reinforcement +punishment. İf you desirable behavior ,your behavior

 

has been conditioned. Lets take X's case . When we look at his case we should find the function of

 

the behavior. If function has been reinforcing there is a high chance that the individual will keep on

 

performing the same behavior. He perceives himself as a popular among the boy feel himself unique

 

among the girls. His girl classmates want to be close with him , chatting with him compared with

 

the other. They prefer X because they have common interests about some certain topics. because he

 

is close to them although he is boy. It seems that he is quite satisfied with that condition moreover,

 

we see that he takes advantage from being with the opposite sex, feel himself unique. These all

 

advantages that he takes could be interpreted as a function of behaving in a girlish manner. As long

 

as X takes advantage from this situation, he will keep on behaving in the same manner. Function is

 

the benefit that he gets as a result of being with the girls. Function gives us an idea about what

 

should need to be changed and there psychotherapy works. We should ask X about why he behaves

 

in this way if it turns out that he behaves in this particular way because he wants to be accepted by

 

his opposite-sex friends and want to be liked. Then we may teach X that there are actually multiple

 

ways to be accepted by girls such as buying gifts for them, behave in a kindly manner instead

 

behaving in a girlish manner.

 

Different form Freud, Skinner acknowledges emotions thoughts and internal process but sees

 

them as irrelevant in explaining behavior. Thoughts and emotions do occur, according to Skinner,

 

but they do not cause behavior. Thoughts,emotions, and other internal events are, as are all

 

characteristics of the organism, caused by environmental events. According to Skinner general laws

 

of learning that apply equally to all human and nonhuman organism.

 

 

 

Now, lets put our Freudian glasses and try to look at X case from Freudian perspective.

 

According to Freud , always there is a deep meaning , real answer that we are looking for underlies

 

in X's mind childhood experience and the unconscious mind. In other words, his problem traces

 

back to his childhood or early life. His ID and desires are repressed and besides, the early

 

experiences which he had gone through also play significant role on shaping his character and the

 

life. I try to look at his personality in more detail and try to explain X and his certain characteristic

 

traits and the reactions given to the particular situation with the Freudian Concepts. Here, according

 

to Freud we might claim that X fails to complete psychosexual stages successfully and also this

 

could be the reason why fixation occur and in result becoming over-weight boy. I also want to point

 

out that three major system which constitutes the total personality and called id, ego and superego

 

fail to form and unified and harmonious organization this also might be considered as one of the

 

underlying factors lying behind his girlish manner.

 

According to perspective of Freud, personality is mostly established by the age of five, early

 

experiences not only play major role in personality development and but also continue to influence

 

behavior later in life. Life has traces from the one's past life therefore Freud believes that one

 

should not overlook the past experience. Freud's theory of psychosexual development is one of the

 

best known, but at same time it is one of the most controversial one and therefore it is open to

 

discuss. Freud believed that personality develops through a series of childhood stages during which

 

the pleasure-seeking energies of the id become focused on certain erogenous areas. This

 

psychosexual energy or libido was depicted as the driving force behind behavior. If these

 

psychosexual stages are completed successfully, the result is a healthy personality but if certain

 

issues are not resolved at the proper stage, fixation may occur. A fixation is a continual focus on an

 

earlier psychosexual stage. Until this conflict is resolved, the individual will remain “stuck” in this

 

stage. Such as X's case. For example, a person who is fixated at the oral stage may be over-

dependent on others and may seek oral stimulation through eating, drinking, or smoking and X

 

could be given as a great example for this claim.

 

Now, I want to look insight into X's another distinct behavior, I try to find the underlying

 

reason behind this symbiotic relationship with his mother. We could make assertion that he wants to

 

be identified himself with his mother and this desire might be the whole explanation behind all his

 

girlish manners and the behaviors his closeness towards his mother might be perfectly described

 

with Freudian perspective. Psychoanalytic perspective emphasize the unconscious process of the

 

mind, personality emphasizes the importance of early childhood experiences and the unconscious

 

mind. This perspective on personality was created by psychiatrist Sigmund Freud who believed that

 

things hidden in the unconscious could be revealed in a number of different ways. Freud stresses the

 

importance of early childhood events, the influence of the unconscious and sexual instincts in the

 

development and formation of personality. An Odepius Complex, or could be interpreted as his

 

closeness towards mother could be explained with Freudian terms , I claim that an Odepius complex

 

perfectly describes the condition that X is having. In other words, I claim that he might be having an

 

Odepius Complex and this might be real cause underlying his distinct personality and relationship

 

between his mother and other girls.

 

Freud come to assume that, by the time he has reached the 'phallic' stage of development, at around

 

the age of 4 or 5, the small boy is sexually interested in his mother, wishes to take possession of

 

her, and therefore feel hostile impulses towards his father. However, the hostility arouses fear that

 

the father will retaliate, and form which this retaliation is likely to take is that of castration.

 

Confronted by what he perceives as a horrifying threat to the most precious part of his body, the

 

small boy unconsciously give up his hopes of sexual union with his mother, identifies himself with

 

his powerful and aggressive father, and finally turns his attention towards securing sexual

 

satisfaction from other feminine sources.

 

Now, I want to shift the topic a little bit towards the Family Context. Here, my aim is to

 

gain new insights into X's case. I think it is quite important look at the family-context to understand

 

the individual better. Here, my aim is to underline in the importance of family issue in Child

 

Development. I assume that looking at family context helps us better understanding of X'case and

 

give some clues about him. Actually, there are various theories of child development involving

 

different types of psychological or behavioral phenomena. One of the early theories was that of

 

Sigmund Freud. His psychoanalytic theory posited that the child's personality is formed on the basis

 

of the child's developing psychosexual needs in four periods or stages, and the manner in which the

 

parents handle the child during those stages. We cannot underestimate the great influence of parents

 

influence on development of children. Parents definitely play major role shaping their children's

 

behavior, eating habits etc.

 

In the research article called Maternal- Child Feeding Patterns and Child Body Weight. Faith,

 

Heshka, Keller, Sherry,Matz, Pietrobelli, Allison (2003) mentions that during feeding may promote

 

childhood obesity or disordered eating patterns which are partially determined by environment

 

regarding to the result of this study, it is clear that we can not underestimate the importance of the

 

environment. As Skinner says, environment plays a major role to shape our behaviors.

 

And in another research article called Treatment of Obese Children With and Without Their

 

Mothers:Changes in weight and blood pressure Brownell, Kelman, Stunkard (1995)treatments

 

group divided into 3 subgroups . In the first treatment group Mother- Child attended separate

 

groups, in the second group mother-child together in the same group and in the 3. group, children

 

met in groups and mothers were not involved. The program consisted of behavior modification,

 

social support, nutrition, and exercises. According to results of the study that a program of behavior

 

modification and parent involvement can lead to significant weight losses in obese children, and that

 

the nature of parent involvement may be important.

 

This study mentions about behavior modification . It is a treatment method based on value of

 

operant conditioning with this technique, the undesirable behaviors changed with more desirable

 

ones through various techniques and the methods.

 

Reinforcement increases or strengthens behavior by reinforcing the desired behavior with praise,

 

X is more likely to perform the same action again. Reinforcement refers to anything that increases

 

likelihood that a response will occur. Reinforcement has an effect on behavior either it strengthens

 

or increases the behavior. In X'case using some reinforcement may lead us to desirable

 

consequences. For instance; as I mentioned before, he does not apply his diet in a proper way, but it

 

might be good solution to use some reinforcements in order to convince him apply his diet.

 

Research article called Treating Overweight Children Through Parental Training and Contingency

 

Contracting Aragona, Cassady, Drabman (1975)mentions that response-cost plus reinforcement

 

group regained weight more slowly than the response-cost only group. This may indicate that

 

parents in the response-cost plus reinforcement group were more likely to continue their effective

 

use of reinforcement procedures than were parents in the response-cost only group.

 

The present study demonstrated that behavior-modification techniques can be successfully used to

 

enable parents to help their children lose weight. This study mentions about behavior modification .

 

It is a treatment method based on value of operant conditioning with this technique, the undesirable

 

behaviors changed with more desirable ones through various techniques and the methods. Skinner is

 

regarded as the father of behavior modification science.

 

I want to point out that Freud admits that thoughts and emotions as an internal events in order to

 

explain and understanding of behavior. Skinner differs himself from Freud in that sense, Skinner

 

does not perceive thoughts, emotions and other internal events in order to explain and

 

understanding of one's behavior. Although, Skinner does not deny thoughts, emotions and other

 

internal event, he puts great emphasis on environment and according to Skinner thoughts, emotions

 

and other internal process all caused due to environmental causes. According to Skinner

 

“personality” is meaningless concept besides, he does not believe in internal component of

 

behavior such as id,ego and superego and he has not put emphasis on unconscious mind.

 

Psychoanalysis perspective provide us to better explanation regarding the X's case. Also based on

 

the information that get from empirical evidence though we also cannot deny the fact that

 

environmental condition affect X to some extent for instance his girlfriends and his mother could

 

be interpreted as environmental condition.

 

Here nevertheless, I want to put emphasizes on crucial importance of personality. we cannot

 

underestimate the importance of personality as we analyze X therefore I want you to draw attention

 

to crucial link between Personality disorders and the Obesity. Before making treatment plans for X's

 

obesity problem, I would suggest for learning more information about his personality. According to

 

research article called Treatment of Obesity by Personality Classification-Oriented Program

 

Yoshida, Murano, Saito, Inadera, Tashiro, Kobayashi, Tadokoro, Kanzaki,

 

Shinomiya,Morisaki,Ohono,Ishikawa,Shirai, Azuma,Kodama(1995) , an understanding of the

 

personality of obese patients was effective in helping to avoid psychological reactions. As I

 

mentioned before, X has more feminine qualities than male qualities therefore it could be argued

 

that he might have some personality pathology. Although, it is a quite early to make reasonable

 

claim about his sexual orientation , It is obvious that , he has no interested in opposite-sex, in others

 

words, he has not perceived the opposite sex as an opposite sex. He perceives himself as a female

 

rather than male and identified himself with his mother. Before making treatment plans for X's

 

obesity problem it might be good idea for learning more information about his personality. It might

 

lead us to make better treatment plan for X.

 

I was curious about whether there is relationship between obesity and personality pathology that X

 

has. This curiosity triggers me to make deep search about this issue and it turns out to be that there

 

is a relationship between X's obesity his personality pathology . According to Research article

 

called The Relationship Between Borderline Personality and Obesity Sansone, Randy A.Sansone,

 

Lori A.Sansone (2013 )Personality Pathology may also play a unique role in obesity, relationship

 

between one specific personality disorder, borderline personality disorder (BPD) and obesity is open

 

to discuss.

 

Because personality disorders are believed to commence and consolidate in childhood through the

 

interactions of genes and the environment, it is probable that personality pathology precedes eating

 

pathology in most cases(eating disorders most often manifest in early-to-late

 

adolescence).Therefore, a given personality pathology might be viewed as a potential risk factor for

 

the subsequent development of a specific type of eating pathology. Given the preceding perspective

 

on relationships between personality pathology and eating pathology, it is acceptable to make

 

inferences about possible relationships between BPD and Obesity Sansone, A.Sansone (2013 ) It

 

could be inferred that personality pathology seems to influence eating pathology, such that

 

restrictive personality pathology.

 

Subjects with Borderline Personality Disorder were significantly more likely than comparison

 

subjects to report homosexual or bisexual orientation and intimate same-sex relations. According to

 

research of the study called Sexual Orientation and relationship Choice in Borderline Personality

 

Disorder over Ten Years of Prospective Follow-up Reich, Zanarini, ( 2008)same-gender attraction

 

and/or intimate relationship choice may be an important interpersonal issue for nearly one-third of

 

both men and women with BPD. Results of this study shows us the fact that, patients with BPD

 

were over 75%more likely to report homosexual/bisexual orientation than comparison subjects with

 

other personality disorders. And according results of another research article called Psychological

 

Factors Associated with Homosexuality in Males with Borderline Personality Disorder

 

Paris,Zweig-Frank, Guzder,(1995) there was a significantly higher rate of homosexuality in

 

borderline than in non borderline personality disordered men.

 

To conclude, if we look at X's case from Skinner's perspective, we might conclude that all

 

X's operant behaviors that X demonstrates called as his personality. But in some cases, in order to

 

determine one's personality, it might be not sufficient for us to make claim about X's personality by

 

just looking at his X's , operant behaviors. I assert the idea that in X's case, we should dig into

 

more instead of looking from surface level. Regarding to X's case, Skinner would probably look at

 

environmental causes rather than thoughts, emotion. And if we look at X's case just look from

 

Skinner's Behaviorist and Learning Aspects of Personality, it is likely that we make error because

 

we come to realize that most of his real problems is kind of hidden has not come up to surface yet

 

by just looking a observable behaviors and environment, we may not determine his exact

 

personality. We see that X's problem traces back to his childhood experiences and his unconscious

 

mind plays major role determining his personality . In that sense, I would claim that Freud's

 

Psychoanalysis perspective explained X's case much better and give much stronger empirical

 

evidence as compared to Skinner's Behaviorist and Learning Perspective .

 

 

 

References

 

Faith, Heshka, Keller, Sherry,Matz, Pietrobelli, Allison (2003) Maternal- Child Feeding Patterns

 

and Child Body Weight. Arch Pediatr Med.2003;157:926-932.

 

Brownell, Kelman, Stunkard (1995)Treatment of Obese Children With and Without Their

 

Mothers:Changes in weight and blood pressure. Pediatrics 1983 Apr; 71(4):515-23.

 

Aragona, Cassady, Drabman (1975) Treating Overweight Children Through Parental Training and

 

Contingency Contracting. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 1975,8,269-278.

 

Yoshida, Murano, Saito, Inadera, Tashiro, Kobayashi, Tadokoro, Kanzaki,

 

Shinomiya,Morisaki,Ohono,Ishikawa,Shirai, Azuma,Kodama(1995)Treatment of Obesity by

 

Personality Classification-Oriented Program.Obesity Research Vol.3 Suppl. 2 Sept. 1995.

 

Sansone, Randy A.Sansone, Lori A.Sansone (2013 )The Relationship Between Borderline

 

Personality and Obesity. Innov Clin Neurosci. 2013 April;10(4):36-40.

 

Reich, Zanarini, Sexual Orientation and relationship Choice in Borderline Personality Disorder

 

over Ten Years of Prospective Follow-up( 2008)J Pers Disord.2008 December;22(6):564-572.

 

Paris,Zweig-Frank, Guzder, Psychological Factors Associated with Homosexuality in Males with

 

Borderline Personality Disorder (1995)Journal of Personality Disorders.Vol. 9, No. 1, pp. 56-61.

Uzman Psikolog Sarah Merve Ahmad

Naisa Psikoloji | Tüm Hakları Saklıdır