Textbook Notes (368,432)
Canada (161,877)
Psychology (1,418)
PSYC 332 (129)

personality ch 3 notes

10 Pages
Unlock Document

PSYC 332
David Zuroff

Personality Chapter 3: A Psychodynamic Theory: Freuds Psychoanalytic Theory of Personality Chapter Focus Behaviour is interpreted as a result of the dynamic interplay among motives, drives, needs and conflicts. The research consists mainly of clinical investigations as shown in an emphasis on the individual, in the attention given to individual differences, and in attempts to assess and understand the total individual. 1) Why Study Freud? Many contemporary scientists reject significant aspects of psychoanalytic theory. So, why study Freud? 1) Freuds work has had an enormous impact on the intellectual life of our culture. Freuds impact has been large primarily because his ideas were starling. They disrupted commonly accepted views of human nature and society. 2) It is difficult to appreciate fully any other personality theories without first considering the strengths and limits of psychoanalysis. This is because most of the other theories were developed, at least in part, as a reaction against psychoanalytic theory. People perceived limitations in Freuds work and this inspired them to develop novel theories of their own. 3) There are some topics that are central to human experience, that were addressed directly by Freud, but that receive relatively little coverage in frameworks other than psychodynamic theory. Freud proposed a theory of extraordinary breadth and boldness. He tackled phenomena that are extremely difficult to study. Psychoanalytic theory developed from therapeutic work. Freud concluded that his patients problems had complex psychological causes that involved conflicts among mental forces. From this basic insight, Freud developed an overall view of personality in which behaviour is a result of struggles among drives and needs that inevitably conflict. Because of these conflicts, overt behaviour may be more complicated than it appears. These psychological functions occur at different levels of awareness, with individuals often being unaware of the forces underlying their actions. 2) Sigmund Freud (1856-1939): A View of The Theorist In medical school, Freud received training that profoundly shaped the personality theory he developed later in life. A particular influence was Ernst Brucke, a physiologist who was the leader in an intellectual movement of the time that was known as mechanism. The mechanist movement argued that the principles of natural science could explain not only the behaviour of physical objects, but human thought and behaviour as well. People could be understood in terms of physical and chemical mechanisms that are the causes of experience and behaviour. After earning his medical degree, Freud worked in the field of neurology. He concluded that the earliest brain structures persist and are never buried, a view that was a precursor to his later views of personality development. Catharsis refers to a release and freeing of emotions by talking about ones problems. In the cathartic technique that Breuer developed in his work with a patient, the person being analysed is encouraged to relive traumatic psychological events that are the original source of their emotional distress. By reliving them, the pent-up emotions associated with the events could be released. A key point is that before catharsis, the person is not consciously aware of the source of their emotional distress. In the free-association technique, the person being analysed allows all of his or her thoughts to come forth without inhibition or falsification of any kind. For Freud, the free association technique was not only a treatment method but a scientific method. It provided the primary evidence for his theory of personality. In 1900, Freud published his most significant work, The Interpretation of Dreams. He began to develop a theory of the mind, that is, a theory of the basic structures and working principles of the human psyche. Out of the historical context of World War I, Freud developed his theory of the death instincta wish to die, which is in opposition to the life instinct or a wish for survival. 3) Freuds View of the Person and Society At the heart of the psychoanalytic view of the person is that the human is an energy system. Freud postulated a system in which energy flows, gets sidetracked or becomes dammed up. There is a limited amount of energy, and if it is used in one way, there is much less of it to be used in another way. If there energy is blocked from one channel of expression, it finds another, generally along the path of the least resistance. The goal of all behaviour is pleasure, that is, the reduction of tension or the release of energy. The assumption that the mind is an energy system is traceable to the 19 century physicist Helmholtzs principle of the conservation of energy: matter and energy can be transformed but not destroyed. A second feature of Freuds view of persons is the notion that humans are driven by sexual and aggressive drives, or instincts. To Freud, sexual and aggressive drives are an instinctual feature of human nature. Along with the aggressive drive, Freud placed great emphasis on the sexual drive and the conflict between the expression of sexuality and social prohibitions. People function according to a pleasure principle; they seek unbridled gratification of all desires. This conflicts with the demands of society, which of course prohibit people from freely expressing sexual desires whenever and however they wish. Freud believed that the child is born with sexual and aggressive drives. Society curbs those desires, teaching children to inhibit them. Humans, like animals, are driven by instincts or drives and operate in the pursuit of pleasure. People operate as energy systems, building, storing, and releasing, in one form or another, basically the same energy. All behaviour is determined, much of it by forces outside of awareness. In the end, psychoanalysis sides with the instincts and seeks a reduction in the extent to which the instincts are frustrated. 4) Freuds View of the Science of Personality Freuds observations were based on the analysis of patients. He relied on clinical case study evidence. Freud cared little about efforts to verify psychoanalytic principles in the laboratory. There has been considerable criticism of the uncontrolled nature of Freuds observations and the way he reported them. Current Questions: What Price the Suppression of Exciting Thoughts? Freud suggested that the price of progress in civilization is increased inhibition of the pleasure principle and a heightened sense of guilt. Recent research suggests that the suppression of exciting thoughts may be involved in the production of negative emotional responses and the development of psychological symptoms such as phobias (irrational fears) and obsessions (preoccupation with uncontrollable thoughts). The effort to suppress exciting thoughts about sex led to the intrusion of these thoughts into consciousness and the reintroduction of surges of emotion. This was not found when subjects were given the opportunity to think about sex. The researchers suggest that the suppression of exciting thoughts can promote excitement; that is, the very act of suppression may make these thoughts even more stimulating than when we purposefully dwell on them. 5) Psychoanalysis: A Theory of Personality A) Structure a) The Concept of the Unconscious and Levels of Consciousness The concept of the unconscious suggests that there are aspects of our functioning of which we are not fully aware. They psychoanalytic theory of personality suggests that much of ourbehaviour, perhaps the majority of it, is determined by unconscious forces, and that much of our psychic energy is devoted either to finding acceptable expression of unconscious ideas or to keeping them unconscious. i) Levels of Consciousness There are three levels of awareness: 1) The conscious level involves phenomena of which we are aware at any given moment. 2) The preconscious refers to mental contents of which we could become aware if we attended to them (ex: your phone number). 3) The unconscious mental contents are parts of the mind that we are unaware of and cannot become aware of except under special circumstances. A fundamental idea of psychoanalytic theory is that we have the goal of protecting ourselves against the anxiety associated with some of our thoughts and desires, and that we accomplish this goal by keeping these ideas outside of consciousness, storing them instead in the unconscious. Through the analysis of dreams, slips of the tongue, neuroses, psychoses, works of art and rituals, Freud attempted to understand the properties of the unconscious. The unconscious is alogical (opposites can stand for the same thing), disregards time (events of different periods may coexist), and disregards space (size and distance relationships are neglected so that large things fit into small things and distant places are brought together). It is in the dream that the workings of the unconscious become most apparent. Here we are exposed to the world of symbols, where many ideas may be telescoped into a single word, where a part of any object may stand for many things. ii) The Motivated Unconscious Psychoanalytic theory suggests that much of our behaviour is motivated by unconscious influences. The suggestion is that some thoughts, feelings and motives exist in the unconscious for motivated reasons. If these ideas were to enter conscious awareness, they would
More Less

Related notes for PSYC 332

Log In


Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.