Santrock further explained that a theory makes assumptions that can be tested to determine their accuracy. Personality, according to the Oxford Dictionary from http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/personality is the combination of characteristics or qualities that form an individuals distinctive character. In other words it is the combination of mental, emotional and physical character traits that are peculiar to an individual. The Oxford Dictionary also defined development as A specified state of growth or advancement; or a change in situation. Both Freuds and Banduras theories are based on personality development. Sigmund Freud presented an argument that mans personality is mainly governed by three different levels of consciousness or mental state; the id, the ego and the super-ego. He argued that the id is a demanding inborn force that drives a newborn to desire food, pass urine, defecate, be warm and gain sexual pleasure.
He went on further to argue that the id demands immediate gratification and personal pleasure. It usually wants satisfaction and is ruled by what Freud called the pleasure principle. Freud presented the argument that this kind of self-gratifying behavior in infants is inborn not learned. For example, a young child will shamelessly play with its genitals in pursuit of the pleasure it receives. This child will seek this sexual pleasure regardless of where he/she is, or who is watching because according to Freuds theory, the id is totally unconscious (Santrock, 1989, p. 34). While on the other hand, Albert Bandura did not present any argument on the childrens inborn nature (Witt & Mossler, 2010). However, Bandura focused his study on how external forces such as caregivers and other children around them affected childrens behavior.
He argued and demonstrated in his experiments that children carefully observed and modeled or copied the behavior of others around them. He went on further to suggest that those children who watched television also modeled the behavior that they witnessed on the screen. Dr. Bandura demonstrated in his experiment, how children learned and copied aggressive behavior towards a toy clown. He placed the clown along with many other toys and the children in a room. As part of the experiment, several adults walked through the room, each one hitting the clown in passing. The children in the room, after observing the adult behavior, modeled it by hitting the clown without any prompting or provocation. Unlike Sigmund Freud, Albert Bandura had no medical explanation attached to his assumptions.
Freuds next level is the super-ego. It is the conscience that governs behavior that is socially accepted. It is the level that teaches humans to imitate the behavior of his/her caregivers within the environment (Witt & Mossler, 2010, p. 5 chapter 2). Similarly Banduras social learning states that children imitate the adults around them. This means that their super-ego governs their behavior just as Freud claimed. This is illustrated when girls play dress-up to look just like their mothers and boys display aggressive behavior just like their fathers. This means that Freuds argument on super-ego which is formed through social learning is the same as Banduras observational learning (Witt & Mossler, 2010). Freuds final mental level of personality is the conscious mind named the ego; it balances the demands of the id and the super-ego.
According to Freud, the ego makes rational decisions (Santrock, 1989 p. 34). An example of this is a New Yorkers internal drive (id) to avoid buying a train ticket and jump over the turnstile at the subway station. The super-ego cautions against that behavior because of the probability of getting caught while the conscious, rational ego points away from the long line at the ticket counter and towards ticket vending machines that are available. The ego satisfies both the id (got on the train) and the super-ego (acted within the law). Similarly, Banduras social learning theory speaks to conforming to social behavior within the childrens environment (Witt & Mossler, 2010). In that the children in his experiments were conforming whether in a good or bad way; the ego will respond to the super-ego (good or evil).
Therefore, it can be argued Sigmund Freud the medical doctor/neurologist who based his study on his mentally ill adult patients and Albert Bandura the psychologist who pre-set modeled behavior before young children both arrived at credible assumptions. In most parts, the assumptions have similarities despite Freuds medical approach as against Banduras psychological social environment approach. A significant contrast is the age difference of the subjects that they studied; Freuds adults and Banduras young children. Dr. Sigmund Freud presented structured mental tendencies (Id, Ego and Super-ego) on personality development while on the other hand Dr. Albert Bandura stressed on external influences. Both theories have credible contrasting as well as similar assumptions.
Santrock, J. W. (1995). Life-Span Development. Dubuque, IA: Brown & Benchmark
Witt, G. A., & Mossler, R. A. (2010). Adult Development & Life Assessment. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education Inc