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PSYC 2230 Lecture Notes - Drive Theory, Libido, Psychosexual Development

Course Code
PSYC 2230
Frank Marchese

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MAY 26
CHAPTER 5: Drive Theory and Motivational Psychology (photocopy)
I. Concept of Drive: introduced originally by Freud and Woodworth in early 1900s and replaced
concept of instinct. Drive refers to an energized state arising out of need that propels organisms
toward a goal that satisfies the need and reduces the drive.
- When a drive is reduced, any behaviour that’s successful in reducing the drive is reinforced
→ if the behaviour doesn’t work a specific time, you find a new behaviour until the
behaviour has given no problems
- Fixation of unsuccessful behaviour → “I should’ve known better, why am I repeating it
now?” → every once in a while an unsuccessful feature becomes successful
a. Drive: arises out of specific need
b. Drive is channelled into general increase in behaviour (arousal) that bring organism into
contact with objects that may satisfy need
c. Drive induces responses that reduce need and drive
- DRT (drive reduction theory) of Reinforcement
d. Responses that lead to drive reduction are learned modes of conduct
II. Early Formulations of Drive: Freud in early 1900s used drive concept (“Trieb”) as a moving
force; as energy that arouses organism and initiates behaviour.
a. Drive as psychic energy that accumulates in the personality structure of the id. Pressure
builds and requires release

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b. Psychic energy builds when a need exists; when bodily functions change so does the
energy build-up
c. Why this reduction in energy? Energy beyond a certain point is unpleasant since
organism governed by “principle of constancy” (which is based on some neurological
studies). Reduce excitation in nervous system and this is pleasurable. Increase in
excitation is not pleasurable.
III. Freud said moving force (drive) has 4 characteristics:
a. Pressure is strength of force and stronger the force the more motivated
b. Aim of moving force is satisfaction (through reduction)
c. Object of moving force may be internal or external to individual. Object may change in
course of life but moving force remains the same
d. Fixation of an object or restricted range of objects may occur
e. Source of moving force is the need (bodily deficit from which too much excitation
hunger, thirst, fatigue, etc. arises)
f. Freud’s Model: Need → Psychic (Drive) Energy → Behaviour → Goal → Satisfaction
through need drive reduction
i. Source: need for water
ii. Pressure: strength of need is great due to 36 hours water deprivation
iii. Aim: pleasure through need reduction

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iv. Object: water that can provide need reduction. Objects provide need reduction
may change throughout life and vary
IV. Two classes of moving forces: Life and death → Life Force: Psychic energy that powers it is
eros. Life force consists of reproductive, sexual and life affirming functions. Libido is name of
sexual force. Before puberty libido is separated into different stages (psycho-sexual) representing
different zones of body. At puberty and after, the separate stages are fused into one: the genital
stage. Also, the libido shifts to interactions that reproduce and affirm life. Yet, trauma may lead to
displacement of libido onto inappropriate objects and fixation at earlier, immature stages of
psycho-sexual development. Death Force: Psychic energy that powers it is called thanatos.
Here, the drive is to reduce energy to zero. Aggressive behaviour is an indication of death force
and is a compromise between life and death forces locked in perpetual conflict.
- Repression
- Hysteria
o Caused by repression and is expressed through various symptoms
o Treatment of Hysteria: (1) Individual must recall the traumatic experience (overcome
the repression); (2) Have to express the emotion that’s been blocked or inhibited
o Resistance occurs and disengages → usually happens when the patient is feeling
overwhelmed and uncomfortable
o The energy that’s not disposed of through recall and emotional expression becomes
expressed neurotically
V. Criticisms of Freud’s Theory:
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