Research Methods in Psychology

The method for studying change in an individual over time instead of a single observation based on many subjects is described by John A. and Wayne Velicer (2003). This particular method depends on many observations based on a single subject, which makes it the primer exemplar of this longitudinal research method.

The term psychology was first used in the early 1900s and was at the time referred to as psychiatry. The term basically meant doctoring of the mind and some referred to it as psychoanalysis.  Though Freud is acknowledged for it, psychoanalysis indeed existed long before him. It was actually coined by Johann Reil in 1808 and was mainly referred to as taking care of the mentally ill.

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Some of the early psychologists who made an impact to the field of psychology include Jean Martin Charcot, who was born in 1825 and was a professor at the University of Paris. His students include Alfred Binet and Sigmund Freud who later became one of the greatest contributors to this field. He is accredited to playing a big part in study of psychological disorders.

Sigmund Freud is largely accredited with advancing the idea of conscious mind versus unconscious mind. He termed it the conscious and preconscious – available memory. The conscious mind entailed present perceptions, fantasies, memory, feelings and thoughts among others.  The preconscious includes all that can be turned into conscious. He later referred to these as the small parts and the big part was the unconscious. In the unconscious realm he described them as those things that are not easily available to awareness. These include drives, instincts which essentially have origins at the unconscious. However, people cannot regard them as memory and the emotions associated with trauma.

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The unconscious is the source of motivation. These can be simple desires for sex, food, motives, neurotic compulsions which are only available in disguised forms. The psychological reality that Freud talks about involves the id, ego and superego. The id is commonly referred to as instincts or drives and is responsible with keeping with pleasure principle satisfying the immediate need like hunger, known as the primary process.  The ego hooks up with the id to find objects that can satisfy the drives of the id so that the needs are met. This is commonly referred to as the secondary process. It functions according to reality principle which contains reason to some extent.

There are other sets of things that both id and ego meets in the world that have to be taken care of. They are the established norms and the reward and punishment meted out.  This comes with some set goals concerning avoidance of these obstacles with strategies which become the superego.  It cannot be completed by the age of seven. In this particular aspect there is the conscience involving internalization of punishments or warnings and the ego deal which derives from positive models and rewards presented. This will in turn communicate feelings of shame, pride and guilt.

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In other words, the superego represents the society along with its set norms.  The author takes note that there are different stages known as erogenous zones. They include stages like the oral stage, anal stage, phallic stage, latent stage, and the genital stage.  It is referred to as the true stage theory.

The above thoughts and theories advanced by Sigmund Freud have helped the study of psychology to understand what takes place in the human mind in both the conscious and preconscious levels. It set a stage for the modern psychological studies to unravel the mystery of a human mind.

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