Test Anxiety Essay Research Paper Test AnxietySome

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Test Anxiety Essay, Research Paper Test AnxietySome students forget all that they have learned when they walk into a testing situation. We call this “test anxiety.” Psychologists explain “test anxiety” in several different ways, depending on the philosophy of the psychologist who addresses the problem. The following is an examination of how B.F. Skinner, Sigmund Freud, and Abraham Maslow would explain this disorder. A cursory look into the philosophy of Sigmund Freud, helps us understand the complex explanation he would provide to explain “test anxiety.” Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, developed a theory of personality and psychotherapy that emphasized unconscious motives and conflicts within an individual. He believed unconscious forces have more

power over behavior than consciousness does (Wade and Tavris 14). Freud believed that three major systems: the id, the ego, and the superego, makeup the structure of personality. Human behavior is the result of how these three systems, each separately having their own role and foundation, relates to each other (Freud, 1905b, 1920/1960, 1923/1962). Conflict between these three systems results in a crisis, or problem in coping with reality; therefore, an individual uses “a defense mechanism, methods used by the ego to prevent unconscious anxiety or threatening thoughts from entering consciousness” (Wade and Tavris 453). Freud believed that personality develops in five stages, covering the first year of life into adulthood. “He called these stages psychosexual because he

believed that psychological development depends on the changing expression of sexual energy in different parts of the body as the child matures” (Wade and Tavris 455). Freud would explain “test anxiety,” in a complicated series of possible causes, effects and results, all within the unconscious mind. He would begin his analysis by stating inappropriate personality development in the latency stage had occurred. The latency stage occurs from around the age of five (5) to puberty in an individual; this stage begins when an individual has started school and develops self-confidence (Wade and Tavris 455-56). Freud would question whether this lack of self-confidence was the root problem, or possibly it was merely shielding conflicts that had occurred in earlier stages.

Furthermore, he would explain, in an attempt to protect the individual from this undeveloped self-confidence, or another conflict, defense mechanisms of the ego had taken over. Freud would assess defense mechanisms of repression, reaction formation, and possible denial was the result of these earlier conflicts. The student’s claim he had forgot all he had learned (answers to the test) was possibly repression. “In repression, a threatening idea, memory, or emotion is blocked from becoming conscious.” Of course, reaction formation is a possibility. Reaction formation is the feeling that causes unconscious anxiety to become conscious anxiety (Wade and Tavris 453). Our student claims he studied and knew all the answers before taking the test. This could be reaction formation,

if in fact, the student had not studied at all. If Freud analyzed the student experiencing the “test anxiety” thoroughly, we would hear the student had undergone regression. Regression, Freud believed, is the structure of personality that becomes permanently halted, or fixated at the time a traumatic experience occurs; a sure sign would be if the student was biting his nails (Wade and Tavris 454). Freud would surely discuss denial somewhere in his evaluation. He would explain the student is experiencing conflicts between his id, ego and superego; the student is protecting the illusion of always passing tests and not accepting heB.F. (Burrhus Frederic) Skinner, the best known American Behaviorist (Wade and Tavris 447), would explain “test anxiety” quite different from