PSY210H1 Lecture Notes - Psychoanalytic Theory, Puffy Amiyumi, Parenting Styles

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3 Feb 2013
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PSY210 Ch.12 Morality 12/15/2012 3:41:00 PM
Overview:
1. Rooted in human nature?
2. The adoption of social norms?
3. Social understanding
4. Moral reasoning of young children
5. Development of morally relevant self-control
6. Development of aggression
Morality components:
Emotional + cognitive + behavioral
Self-control, acting morally vs. aggressively
1. Morality as rooted in human nature
Biologically based provisions for moral acts = evolution
o Survival of the species = with pity, moral behaviour
o Frontal region of cerebral cortex (ventromedial area) =
emotional responsiveness + sympathy for others in pain
Ventromedial damage = disruption of social learning =
antisocial behaviour.
Psychopaths = reduced activity in their
ventromedial area
o Ventromedial area = brain based moral substrate that
counteracts self-centered motives and promotes concern for
others.
o Moral acts require nurturing too though (parenting, modeling,
teaching, cognitive development)
2. The adoption of social norms?
Psychoanalytic theory vs. social learning theory = how children
become moral beings
Both regard moral development as a matter of internalization:
adopting societal standards for right action as one’s own.
Morality from society individual : based on…
o Parental style of discipline (type of misdeed)
o Child’s characteristics (age + temperament)
o Parent’s characteristics
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o Child’s view of misdeed + reasonableness of parental
demands
Psychoanalytic theory: Freud
o Morality 3-6 years during Oedipus/electra complex
Desire = possess opposite sex parent
Given up due to fear of punishment + loss of parental
love
Maintain parents affection via superego/conscience = by
identifying with the same sex parent
Moral standards of same sex parent whose are adopted
into their own personality
Previous hostility towards same sex parent is turned
towards themselves = internalized hostility = guilt each
time they disobey the superego. = Personal punishment
o Criticism:
Self-blame is not associated with moral internalization
Guilt with intention of bad acts = responsibility for
outcome
Fear of punishment + loss of parental love = do not
motivate conscious formation or moral behaviour
Children whose parents act bad also tend to
violate moral standards and feel little guilt.
Parents who withdraw love = child responds with
self-blame and misbehavior, deny themselves
emotion = weak conscious.
o Power of inductive discipline:
Induction: an adult helps the child notice others feelings
by pointing out the effects of the child’s behaviour on
others, noting especially their distress and making clear
that the child caused it. = supports conscious
development
Warmth + understandable explanation by parents +
insisting that child should listen and comply = effective
inductive reasoning
“Why did you hit him? You hurt him! Wouldn’t
that hurt you?”
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Inductive reasoning = prosocial, sympathetic behaviour
Power to cultivate children’s active commitment
to moral norms
o Harms of over-discipline: threats, punishments, love
withdrawal = high levels of fear/anxiety = less cognitive
ability for reasoning in child = moral norms are not
internalized or thought of
o Child’s contribution:
Freud = parents 100% responsible, child as passive
Empathy inherited = more empathetic children need
less power assertion, respond better to induction
Temperament: impulsive kids need secure attachment
parenting style + firm correction of misbehavior with
induction
Children low in anxiety = not enough discomfort with
induction to promote development of a strong
conscience. Close bond with parent = alternative
foundation and motivation for morality.
Goodness of fit parenting styles considering personality
of child.
o Role of guilt:
Freud was correct that guilt is an important motivator of
moral action
Empathy-based guilt can be induced without coercion
“im sorry I hurt him”
Dealing with guilt feelings constructively: guiding them
to make up for immoral behaviour rather than
minimizing/excusing it.
Contrary to Freud: guilt is not the ONLY motivator of
moral acts, nor does it all happen during childhood.
o Recent psychoanalytic ideas:
Parental attachment of children = vital foundation for
acquiring moral standards
Importance of warmth + induction
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