Last Updated 17 Aug 2022

The Comparison of Sigmund Freud and B.F. Skinner

Words 888 (3 pages)

The Comparison of Sigmund Freud and B. F. Skinner One name that jumps out at the mention of psychology, or the study there of, is the name of Sigmund Freud. Sigmund Freud is also known as the “Father of Psychoanalysis. ” Freud was also known for having the tendency to trace nearly all psychological problems back to sexual issues. Although only parts of his theory of psychosexual development are still accepted by mainstream psychologists, Freud's theory of the Oedipal Complex has become a cultural icon (Freud, Sigmund, 2012).

Freud is known for developing the use of psychoanalysis. Psychoanalysis is based on the observation that people are often unaware of many of the things that determine their emotions and behavior. Psychoanalytic treatment demonstrates how the unconscious affects current relationships and patterns of behavior. It then helps track them back to past experiences, such as in childhood, and helps people to deal better with how past experiences then affect their current adult life (Freud, Sigmund, 2012).

Freud’s contributions that often comes to mind while thinking of psychoanalysis include the therapy couch, the use of talk therapy, and his theories about the unconscious which include the role of repression, denial, sublimation, and projection. (“The Individual”) Freud also incorporated the use of dream analysis and the study of dreams. While working with his patients, they began to spontaneously tell their dreams. Freud became interested in dreams and the revelations that they could provide as doors to the inner psyche (“The Individual”).

Order custom essay The Comparison of Sigmund Freud and B.F. Skinner with free plagiarism report


He soon systematically included interpretation of dreams in psychoanalysis, as well as hypnosis and free association of the dreams that had been revealed. Freud was one of the first psychologists to utilize hypnosis in therapy. Freud's interest in what lay beyond the conscious mind and in the practice of hypnotism and what led hysteria eventually led him to study with the famous neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot of the Salpetriere Hospital in Paris (“The Individual”). When Freud returned to Vienna, he began using hypnosis, massage, and pressure on the head to get patients to dredge up thoughts elated to their symptoms. Only later did he ask them to say whatever crossed their minds. This he called "free association," and had already been described as the "talking cure" (“The Individual”). Just as Freud is known as the father of Psychoanalysis, B. F. Skinner is often referred to ask the “the father of operant conditioning. ” B. F. Skinner is also known for major contributions to the field of psychology (About B. F. Skinner, Sept, 2012). Skinner was a prolific author, publishing nearly 200 articles and more than 20 books.

Skinner was most known for his work in behavior psychology. Behavioral psychology is the psychological practice that focuses on learning new behaviors and how to modify our existing behavior and how that takes place (About B. F. Skinner, Sept, 2012). One of his major contributions was his theory of operant conditioning. Operant conditioning means roughly, the changing of behavior by the use of reinforcement, either positive or negative, and which these reinforcements are given after the desired response (About B. F. Skinner, Sept, 2012).

Skinner identified three types of responses or operant that can follow behavior. While behaviorism is no longer a dominant school of thought, the work in operant conditioning remains today. Many different types of professionals utilize operant conditioning in society today. Mental health professionals often utilize operant techniques when working with clients (“The Individual”). Teachers frequently use reinforcement and punishment to shape behavior of their students in the classroom. Animal trainers even rely on these techniques to train dogs and other animals.

In order to study Operant conditioning and it’s affects on rats, Skinner developed a device known as the Skinner Box. This was used in lab experiments to judge the outcome of certain stimuli on rats and how their behavior would change from said stimuli (About B. F. Skinner, Sept, 2012). Skinner was an inventor of many things. He also worked on a product which he called, “The Baby Tender”. The “baby tender” was developed due to his wife’s concern that there was a need for a safer crib, where there wouldn’t be worries of the infant’s extremities getting caught in between the bars.

The “baby tender” was an enclosed and heated crib with a plexiglass window. Unfortunately, the “baby tender” was confused with the Skinner box that was used in experiments in rats (About B. F. Skinner, Sept, 2012). Skinner did not do conditioning experiments on babies in the baby tender; it was developed as simply a safer crib for newborns. Both the ideas of Sigmund Freud and B. F. Skinner have had major influences in the field of psychology and psychological practices.

Both Freud and Skinner have influenced how psychology is used in therapy on patients; as well as practical uses that leave the clinical realm, and can be used in everyday life. Resources "B. F. Skinner Foundation - About B. F. Skinner. " B. F. Skinner Foundation - About B. F. Skinner. N. p. , n. d. Web. 20 Sept. 2012. . "Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. " Freud, SigmundA []. N. p. , n. d. Web. 19 Sept. 2012. . "SECTION TWO The Individual: Therapy and Theory. " The Individual: Therapy and Theory. N. p. , n. d. Web. 25 Sept. 2012. . "Sigmund Freud. " Sigmund Freud. N. p. , n. d. Web. 20 Sept. 2012

The Comparison of Sigmund Freud and B.F. Skinner essay

This essay was written by a fellow student. You can use it as an example when writing your own essay or use it as a source, but you need cite it.

Get professional help and free up your time for more important courses

Starting from 3 hours delivery 450+ experts on 30 subjects
get essay help 124  experts online

Did you know that we have over 70,000 essays on 3,000 topics in our database?

Cite this page

Explore how the human body functions as one unit in harmony in order to life

The Comparison of Sigmund Freud and B.F. Skinner. (2017, Apr 03). Retrieved from

Don't let plagiarism ruin your grade

Run a free check or have your essay done for you

We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

Save time and let our verified experts help you.

Hire writer