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Lecture 17

Lecture 17 - notes

7 Pages
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Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYB30H3
Professor
Marc A Fournier

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Lecture 17
McAdams believes that this life-narrative approach offers a third tier in our
understanding of persons. [ 1st tier level of personality traits psychology of the
stranger; 2nd tier characteristic motivational, developmental adaptations that people
make as they bring their traits into the world]. To truly understand a person, you need to
move to the life-story level, where everything becomes meaningful and becomes
organized, and it gives us that sense of unity and purpose.
Its important to distinguish agency and communion from each other. McAdams view of
life-story formation is very much in line with a broad framework, first developed in the
1960s, by David Bakan (“The duality of human existence”).
Bakan and others after him have argued that for all the varieties that make up human
experience, we can distill 2 fundamental themes in everything that is essentially human:
themes related to agency and themes related to communion.
Agency = those things that concern the self; the formation of separations between the
self and the rest of the world and the striving the self has to become increasingly
expansive and increasingly elevated. Reflects itself in the ideas of dominance, social
rank, power, etc.
Communion = things which have their focus on others, rather than on the self, on the
formation of connections rather than separations and on the striving for contact and
congregation with others. These are best thought of as meta-concepts, since they cut
across many, if not all, theories of personality.
Life-Story Formation:
-Narrative Tone infancy
-Imagery & Themes childhood
-Setting & Character adolescence
The Tone of Infancy
In the very early stages of ones life, the tone of ones life story is believed to be set. So
McAdams has speculated that in these early years of life, it is the caregivers role to
organize the experiences of trust vs. mistrust. Can one look to the world and expect
others to be present to address the needs one has, or, on the contrary, is the world an
uncertain place, where those significant figures around us cannot be relied upon for
support and protection?
This is a pre-linguistic attitude that the infant acquires toward the world. And it is
believed that this attitude will set the tone of the life-story you will have. This tone can
either be an optimistic one or a pessimistic one.
www.notesolution.com
Early Childhood Images
By toddlerhood, they are meeting the larger society (children are making their way to
nursery school and Sunday school and so on) and developing relations with this larger
society that arent directly mediated by parents.
Its at this age that children are acquiring a wide variety of images from family life, from
school life, from whatever religious life the family participates in, and these images
become the building blocks of the life-story they will build.
Later Childhood Images
By later childhood weve become good story-tellers, weve become good at story
“grammar”, so by the time children have reached elementary school, children are now
able to reason in logical terms. They know that theres a beginning, a middle and an
end, and violations of these basic rules are detectable by children.
Stories are the Tupperwareof human intentions the natural container for a human
intention is a story, and you do not have stories without characters with intentions.
Theres a deep connection in the human mind between a story and intentions. (This is
also why the TAT is such a good method)
The characters in any story, according to McAdams, are striving for either something
agentic (separation & mastery) or something communal (union & solidarity).
Adolescence and Ideological Settings
During adolescence, the setting of the story is set. This setting of the life-story is
ideological, not geographical, and its by adolescence that we see people striving to
come to terms/figure out with what their ideological identities are. At this point they ask
questions of moral consequences *What is good? What is bad? What is true?*
An ideology an internally consistent set of beliefs that convey what one values, what
one holds to be true and good.
The literature on ideology notes two directions that people tend to move towards or
move through: the ideology of justice (denoting agency) and the ideology of care
(denoting communion).
Ideologies of justice concern belief systems that put a priority on human rights and
human freedoms, which pay homage to the agentic side of human nature.
Ideologies of care concern belief systems that put a premium on responsibility, or
obligation/duties to other people, and they convey the communal side of human nature.
You can have a behaviour where you make every effort to integrate both agentic and
communion related. They are not opposites.
www.notesolution.com

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Description
Lecture 17 McAdams believes that this life-strrative approach offers a third tier in our understanding of persons. [ 1 tier level of personality traits psychology of the stranger; 2 tier characteristic motivational, developmental adaptations that people make as they bring their traits into the world]. To truly understand a person, you need to move to the life-story level, where everything becomes meaningful and becomes organized, and it gives us that sense of unity and purpose. Its important to distinguish agency and communion from each other. McAdams view of life-story formation is very much in line with a broad framework, first developed in the 1960s, by David Bakan (The duality of human existence). Bakan and others after him have argued that for all the varieties that make up human experience, we can distill 2 fundamental themes in everything that is essentially human: themes related to agency and themes related to communion. Agency = those things that concern the self; the formation of separations between the self and the rest of the world and the striving the self has to become increasingly expansive and increasingly elevated. Reflects itself in the ideas of dominance, social rank, power, etc. Communion = things which have their focus on others, rather than on the self, on the formation of connections rather than separations and on the striving for contact and congregation with others. These are best thought of as meta-concepts, since they cut across many, if not all, theories of personality. Life-Story Formation: - Narrative Tone infancy - Imagery & Themes childhood - Setting & Character adolescence The Tone of Infancy In the very early stages of ones life, the tone of ones life story is believed to be set. So McAdams has speculated that in these early years of life, it is the caregivers role to organize the experiences of trust vs. mistrust. Can one look to the world and expect others to be present to address the needs one has, or, on the contrary, is the world an uncertain place, where those significant figures around us cannot be relied upon for support and protection? This is a pre-linguistic attitude that the infant acquires toward the world. And it is believed that this attitude will set the tone of the life-story you will have. This tone can either be an optimistic one or a pessimistic one. www.notesolution.com
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