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University of Massachusetts Amherst
Psychology & Brain Sciences

Personality Personality Theories – Psychoanalytic Who? – Freud Definition: attributes our thoughts and actions to unconscious motives and conflicts We get at these conflicts through: - dream interpretation - free association Four topics central to psychoanalytic theory: Levels of consciousness Structure of personality Psych-sexual stages of development Anxiety and the defense mechanism Levels of consciousness Mind=iceberg 1. Consciousness - current thoughts at a given moment 2. Preconscious - below conscious realm - contains memories not in consciousness but can be brought into consciousness 3. Unconscious - below the preconscious, bulk of the human mind - thoughts, desires, impulses for which we are unaware - might have once been conscious but now – repressed Personality consists of three parts: 1. ID (unconscious) - all of our primitive thoughts, urges, needs, desires - present at birth - pleasure principle: demands immediate gratification of cost 2.EGO (conscious) - develops in response to ID - holds ID in check until conditions are right for gratification - reality principle: takes external environment into account to direct behavior/maximize pleasure - resolves conflict of ID and SUPEREGO 3.SUPEREGO (preconscious/conscious) - acquired/from parents/teachers/laws - also seeks to control the ID, but focuses is on morality - will only gratify impulses if morally correct, not just safe - conscience – expects good at all times Psycho-sexual stages of development Main points: Early childhood – has impact on unconscious and stays around forever 5 stages of psychosexual development 1. Oral 2. Anal 3. Phallic 4. Latent 5. Genital Conflict occurs at each stage Conflict resolution? - if conflict is resolved – great! - If conflict not resolved – fixation! Oral Stage (Age 0-1) Physical focus: mouth, lips, tongue Psychological theme: dependency Symptoms of conflict: way too independent or dependent Symptoms of fixation: overeating, smoking, chewing on things Anal Stage (Age 1-3) Physical focus: anus, bladder Psychological theme: control Symptoms of conflict and fixation: messy, slob/controlling- neat freak Phallic Stage (Age 3-6) Physical focus: penis, genitals Psychological theme: gender identification Fixation/conflict: promiscuous/asexual Oedipus conflict (boys) - love mom, want to kill dad - can’t kill dad - so, identify and be like dad Electra conflict (girls) - love dad, want to kill mom - can’t kill mom - identify and be like mom Latent Age (Age 6-puberty) Freud gives us a break in this stage Learning occur Spend time with same sex Genital Stage (Puberty – on) Physical focus: genitals Psychological theme: life enhancement Defense Mechanisms – Anxiety 1. When ID and Superego war - anxiety occurs 2. Ego wants to reduce anxiety - puts up to defense mechanisms to protect us 3. defense mechanisms: keeps anxiety into unconsciousness 4. Distorts reality Regression: - threatening situation o act in a away appropriate to earlier age  example: college student throwing a temper tantrum Repression: - forgetting o pushing from conscious to unconscious  example: not remembering childhood abuse Rationalization: - come up with acceptable reason for thoughts with unacceptable motives o example: I had
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