Chapter 14 (Personality) Notes
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CHAPTER 14 Personality
THE PSYCHODYNAMIC APPROACH
Freud was the first to claim that what we do is often irrational and that the reasons for
our behaviour are seldom conscious. The mind, to Freud, was a battleground for the
warring factions of instinct, reason, and conscience; the term psychodynamic is this.
·Development of Freud’s Theory
Read the life story of Freud if it interests you and that Anna O. patient (pg 465).
From his studies, Freud concluded that all human behaviour is motivated by
instinctual drives which, when activated, supply “psychic energy.” This energy is
aversive, because the nervous system seeks a state of quiet equilibrium. If
something prevents the psychic energy cause by activation of a drive from being
discharged, psychological disturbances will result.
Freud believed that instinctual drives are triggered by events in a person’s life.
Many events don’t have much effect, but traumatic events may seriously threaten
the desired state of psychic energy equilibrium. During a traumatic event, a
person may hide their true emotions. There is a cost for suppressing the psychic
energy that fuels them: the emotion may be expressed neurotically. The individual
will not be able to recall his extreme emotional reactions since they will be
embedded in the unconscious, the inaccessible part of the mind.
Freud also believed the mind actively prevents unconscious memories of
traumatic events from reaching conscious awareness. The mind represses the
memories of traumatic events from being consciously discovered. He also argued
that our personalities are determined by both conscious and unconscious powers.
·Structures of the Mind: Id, Ego, and Superego
oFreud suggest the mind consists of the unconscious (mental events of which
we are not aware), the conscious (mental events of which we are aware), and
the preconscious involves mental events that may become conscious through
effort. He divided the mind into three structures:
Id: operations are completely unconscious and contains the libido
(primary source of instinctual motivation for all psychic forces and is
insistent and unresponsive to the demands of reality). The id obeys
only one rule: to obtain immediate gratification pleasure
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ego: is the thinking, planning, and protective self; it control and
integrates behaviour and acts as a mediator for the pressures of the id
and the counter pressures of the superego. Its functions of perception,
cognition, and memory perform this mediation and are driven by the
reality principle: the tendency to satisfy the id’s demands
realistically through comprising the id and superego.
Superego: is subdivided into the conscience and the ego-ideal. The
conscience is the internalization of the rules and restrictions of
society. It determines what is right and wrong and punishes wrong
doings with feelings of guilt. The ego-ideal is the understanding of
what society values and what the person will strive to achieve.
oFreud believed the mind to be full of conflicts (when one of the two drives—
sexual instinctual drive or the aggressive instinctual drive—are aroused).
oInternalized prohibitions are rules of behaviours learned in child that
protect the person from the guilt he or she would feel if they instinctual
drives were allowed to express themselves.
oThe result of the conflict is compromise formation: a compromise is reached
between the demands of the id and the superego (e.g. dreams, artistic
creations, and slips of the tongue aka Freudian slips).
oTo Freud, dreams were motivated by repressed wishes and urges. He
believed that repressed wishes and memories could be rediscovered. He
believed that the manifest content of a dream is only a disguised version
of its latent content—hidden message.
oFreud also developed the technique of free association –a method of
analysis in which an individual is asked to report all thoughts, images,
perceptions, and feelings that come to mind.
oThe ego contains defense mechanisms—mental systems that become
active when the id and superego come into conflict. There are six important
1.Repression: responsible for keeping threatening of anxiety-provoking
memories from our conscious awareness. Most powerful of all defence
2.Reaction formation: replacing an anxiety-provoking idea with its
opposite. (e.g. a person interested in porno may fight against
pornography as a method of actually viewing porno without feeling
3.Projection: involves denying one’s own unacceptable id-based desires
and finding evidence of these desires in other’s behaviour (e.g. an
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