Contributions Of European Phsycologists
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Branden Allert
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Psychology is a subject that has been studied across the globe for hundreds of years. There have been contributions from South America, North America, and Europe. While all theories and psychologists are equally important, it was the history and concepts of European psychology that have been the most intriguing and thus, the base of this paper. It would take much more than 12 pages to properly pay respects to all of the brilliant European psychologists. Therefore, this research paper will focus on five countries and the eight key psychologists from them.

Czechoslovakia presented the world and psycho scientific community with Sigmund Freud. As one of the most controversial, yet influential psychologists, Sigmund Freud is known as the father of Psychoanalysis. Psychoanalysis focuses on the unconscious aspects of personality (Sheehy, 2004). Freud developed the psychoanalytic theory, or Freudian approach. To better understand this theory you must understand Freud’s division of the human personality. He claims there are three main parts: the conscious, the pre-conscious, and the unconscious. These divisions are also referred to as the id, the ego and the super ego. He said the mind was like an iceberg; that it is therefore mostly hidden in the unconscious, wherein lies the aspects of personality that the individual is unaware.

In 1923 Freud more precisely theorized his constructs of the id, ego and the superego. We are born with the id, by the age of two we develop the ego and by the age of five the super ego is developed. He claims the “id” to be the most primitive part of our personality ; seeking immediate gratification. According to

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Freud, every human has a life or death instinct, which is located within the “id”. The “ego” is extremely objective and operates accordingly with the “reality principal”. It basically keeps the “id” in check, thus acting like a control center of checks and balances for the mind. The “super ego” acts according to the personality of the individual’s values and standards. It is what gives our ego the feeling of guilt or rewards the ego with pride and even heightens the self-esteem. According to Freud, the disparity and development of the id, ego and the superego, determines an individuals behavior in a given situation, which results in the development of the overall personality. Freud placed great importance of the early childhood because he said that past childhood experiences are what makes us the adults we are (Heller, 2005).

One of Freud’s most controversial theories is personality development. According to Freud, personality is mostly developed by the age of five. Early experiences play a large role in personality development and continue to influence behavior later in life. 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 described as the driving force behind behavior. Successful completion of these stages results in a healthy personality. If issues are not resolved during the right stages, fixation occurs. Fixation is a persistent focus on an earlier psychosexual

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Stage. If this conflict is not resolved the person will be stuck in that specific stage until the problem is fixed. He says that if a person is fixated at the oral stage, that the person is more likely to seek oral stimulation through smoking, drinking, or eating (Wagner, 2007).

In addition to Freud’s psychoanalysis theory, was his theory of dreams. Freud believed that dreams were the “direct road to the unconscious”. This is because the actual dream was regarded as a disguised version of the latent content , therefore expressing a repressed wish. This disguise is actually the doing of the unconscious, primary psychical processes that are normally hidden. By analyzing dreams you can reveal motives, fantasies and desires of the patient (Sheehy, 2004).

While Freud’s contributions are world renowned, his colleague from Germany was also busy with theories of his own. Erik Erikson underwent his own psychoanalysis when he became acquainted with Sigmund Freud’s daughter, Anna Freud. The experience is what made him venture into his own world of psychoanalysis. While he made no effort to correct or restate Freud’s theory, he emphasized and clarified the creative qualities of the ego. He added to Freud’s work by stating that the ego is developed in a planned sequence of specific stages. There are eight main stages of development: trust versus mistrust, autonomy versus shame and doubt, initiative versus guilt, industry versus inferiority, identity versus identity confusion, intimacy versus isolation, �generativity’

versus stagnation and integrity versus despair. Each stage consists of certain tasks that an
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individual must overcome in order to conquer that stage. These tasks must be viewed as not necessarily drastic crises, but changes in an individual’s vulnerability. Nevertheless, these changes must be addressed and resolved before progressing to the next stage. Erikson’s stages of ego begin developing in the formative year of age one and continue to progress through late adulthood (Sheehy, 2004).

While Erik Erikson supported and further developed Sigmund Freud’s theories, Hans Eysenck criticized psychoanalysis. Also from Germany, Eysenck focused on the importance of the biological aspects of the mind and psychological development. Speaking in terms of “nature versus nurture,” he claimed nature whereas Freud claimed nurture. He made distinct categorizations between extraversion-introversion and neuroticism-stability (Sheehy, 2004). Eysenck named these categories as having an underlying biological base. By stating that these behaviors stem from genetics, he presented the psychological world with a different kind of theory. Behavior is not based on experiences, but on science. The said

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Sigmund Freud And Series Of Childhood Stages. (April 5, 2021). Retrieved from