Psychology, as the science of behavior, has evolved over the years in trying to provide a better understanding of the aspects of behaviour and its development. However, due to the complex nature of behavior, no single theory has been able to adequately account for all aspects of behavior. Therefore, various approaches have been proposed to shed light upon human behavior in their unique perspective. These approaches to psychology include Psychoanalysis, Behaviorism, Cognitive Psychology, Biological Psychology and Humanistic Psychology. These approaches are very distinctive in their explanation of behavior, especially in their methodological and theoretical aspects. This essay focuses more on the psychoanalytic approach and behaviorist approach. It will aim to outline the main assumptions of each approach in explaining human behavior and point out any similarities or differences between them based on their assumptions and research surrounding them. This essay will also endeavor to critically evaluate why the behaviorist approach is superior to the psychoanalytic approach by way of their strengths and limitations in order to come to an informed conclusion and it will aim to attain these objectives by using psychological researches as evidence where appropriate. .
The psychoanalytic approach is an approach to psychology proposed by Freud (1971). One of the assumptions that the psychoanalytic approach makes is that the mind consists of three components. These components are the conscious, preconscious and the unconscious. One can never know what resides in their unconscious. This theory also suggests that the human mind contains the id, ego and superego. The id refers to one's natural drive that is continually in need of fulfillment, the ego represents one's values that has been gained and developed as children and the superego refers to values that have been accumulated from the society and immediate family.