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Psychology 2550A/B
David Vollick

Chapter 7 Psychodynamic Theories: Freuds Conceptions 12-11-09 11:51 PM Part 3: The Psychodynamic-Motivational Level Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) - began in medicine with research on cocaine - became interested in using hypnosis to address nervous disorders such as hysteria - clinical observations in private practice in Vienna led to development of his theories: why did a young girl feel compelled to repeatedly rinse out her wash basin? Why was a young boy terrified of horses despite never having been hurt by one? Basic Assumptions: Unconscious - Mental Determinism - two key assumptions: behavior is never accidental: it is psychologically determined by mental motivational causes (motivational determinism) these causes are mostly outside awareness or consciousness The Unconscious - Freud divided mental processes into conscious, preconscious and unconscious conscious what is in ones attention at a given moment preconscious the many events that we can bring into attention easily, from background music to old memories unconscious that which is not responsive to our deliberate efforts at recall o it became the focus of Freuds work Two Roads to the Unconscious - dreams: express the hidden fulfillment of a desire that we are trying to avoid experiencing = necessary for psychological health - free association: the patient, reclining on a couch, is encouraged to say everything that comes to mind, no matter how irrational it might seem Psychic Structure: Anatomy of the Mind - personality consists of three mental agencies: id ego superego The Id - is the mental agency that contains everything inherited, especially the biological instincts - is the foundation from which the ego and superego later develop - its instincts (life and death instincts) act like drives are motivational - life or sexual instincts (eros) are drives that push for pleasure and survival libido, generated by eros, = ones finite energy o it remains constant & becomes focused on aspects of the environment - death instincts (thanatos) reflect the unconscious desire to return to the inanimate state, expressed in destructive behavior (aggression) - the pleasure principle seeks immediate tension reduction, regardless of the consequences - primary process thinking attempts to satisfy needs via internal images or hallucinations The Ego - an outgrowth of the id, it is in direct contact with the external world is governed by considerations of survival - it differentiates between the mental representations of wish-fulfilling images of the id and the actual outer world of reality (tests reality) - it seeks objects (including people) in the environment to reduce tension - it functions with the reality principle, making decisions about consequences of various possible actions - it utilizes a secondary process involving realistic, logical thinking and planning The Superego - for Freud, it internalizes the influence of the parents - it represents the morals and standards of society that have become part of the internal world of the individual ie. The conscience - it seeks perfection but it can become a compelling and even irrational force of its own, just as demanding as the id Psychic Structure: Anatomy of the Mind (table in text) Freuds Theory of Mental Structures and Their Biological Bases - the id-ego-superego aspects seem relevant to functions of some brain areas: the amygdala is a brain locus for intense emotional reactions o fearful & appetitive impulses (id) o moral emotions like empathy and guilt allow people to consider consequences (superego) the prefrontal cortex enables cool, rational thinking (ego) Conflict, Anxiety and Psychodynamics - psychodynamics involve the processes through which the ego struggles to: deal with unacceptable impulses from the id and pressures from the superegos inhibitions & demands avoid pain produced by this internal conflict attain a harmonious integration among the components of personality in conflict - transformation of motives, where id impulses persist, but the objects at which they are directed are transformed Defenses: Denial and Repression - denial may occur when the person can neither escape nor attack the threat - repression is a particular type of denial that causes the individual to forget upsetting and threatening memories hysterical blindness and hysterical anesthesia: repressive attempts to avoid painful thoughts and feelings by preoccupation with physical symptoms Neuroses When Defenses Fail: Neurotic Anxiety and Conflict - defenses can be penetrated, particularly then they are relaxed, as in dreams and slips of the tongue and the person reveals himself - in dreams, distortion and displacement occur when private meanings, as objects and events, become transformed into symbols - if repression is only partly successful (weak ego) instinctual impulses persisting - they may build up, causing a partial breakdown of repression - some may break through, producing neurotic anxiety, = a warning that repressed impulses are breaking through the defenses Possible Meanings of Some Behavioral Signs in Freudian Theory Behavioral Sign Possible Underlying Meaning Fear of snakes Sexual conflict regarding genitals Compulsive cleanliness Reaction against anal impulses Obsessive thought: my mother is Imperfectly repressed hostility drowning toward mother Preoccupation with money Problems around toilet training Paranoid jealousy Homosexual wishes Origins of Neuroses - Freud believed serious problems such as neuroses begin in early childhood & were the products of early childhood traumas, plus innate dispositions - even the behavior of less disturbed persons was believed to reflect expressions of underlying unconscious motives and conflicts The Psychopathology of Everyday Life: Mistakes That Betray - mistakes/parapraxes may be unconsciously motivated by impulses that the individual is afraid to express openly (eg. The general is battle-scared vs. battle-scarred) Motivational Determinism: Unconscious Cases - all behavior (normal & abnormal) is unconsciously motivated
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