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Chapter 9

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PSYC 2740
Stephen Lewis

Chapter 9 Psycoanalytic approaches to personality Fundamental Assumptions of Psycoanalytic Theory - freuds model of human nature relied on the notion of psychic energy to motivate all human activity - the amount of psychic energy an individual possessed remained constant throughout their lifetime - the innate forces the provided all the energy in the psychic system were instincts; self-preservation instincts and sexual instincts - later freud collapsed the self-preseveration and sexual instincts into the life instinct - also suspected that people had a fundamentalist instinct (death instinct) - the two instincts were usually referred to as libido and thanatos - the conscious mind is the part that contains all the thoughts, feelings and perceptions that you are presently aware of - the preconscious mind involves information that you are not presently thinking about but that could easily be retrieved and made conscious (memories, dreams and thoughts in the back of your mind) - the unconscious mind is the third and the largest - the top level is perception and consciousness, the middle level is the preconscious and the lower level is the unconscious - residing in the unconscious mind is the unacceptable information, hidden form conscious view so well that it cannot even be considered preconscious; those memories, feeling, thoughts or urges are so troubling or distasteful that being aware of them would make the person anxious Structure of Personality - the is is something we are born with and is a source of all drives and urges; it operates according to the pleasure principle and primary process thinking - the ego is the part of the mind that constraints the id to reality and operates according to the reality principle and secondary process thinking - the superego is the part of the mind that internalizes the values, morals and ideals of society - anxiety is an unpleasant state, which acts as a signal that things are not right and something must be done; it signals that the control of the ego is being threatened by reality, by impluses from the id or by harsh controls exerted by the superego Dynamics of Personality - efforts to defend onself from anxiety are called defense mechanisms - objective anxiety is fear; this occurs in respond to a real, external threat to the person - neurotic anxiety occurs when there is a direct conflict between the id and ego; the danger is that the ego may lose control over an unacceptable desire of the id - moral anxiety is caused by a conflict between the ego and the superego; someone who suffers from chronic shame or guilt - such conflicts are often expressed in dreams and can be elicited through hypnosis, free association and projective assessment instruments - defense mechanisms protect the ego and minimize anxiety and distress - repression refers to the process of preventing unacceptable thoughts, feelings or urges from reaching conscious awareness - people have a preferred view of themselves and will defend against any unflattering changes or blows to that self view - denial is when a person insists that things are not the way they seem; it involves refusing to see the facts - a common form of denial is to dismiss unflattering feedback as wrong or irrelevant - the tendency to blame events outside ones control for failure but to accept responsibility for success is so common that psychologists refer to this as the fundamental attribution error - displacement; a threatening or un unacceptable impulse in channeled or redirected from its original source to a nonthreatening target; displacement has often be thought of as a defense mechanism involving the redirection of aggressive instincts, and it can also involve sexual urges that are redirected from a less acceptable to a more acceptable target - deliberately redirecting ones anger is not displacement even though someone might do this to manage a situation. Real displacement is an unconscious means of avoiding the recognition that one has certain inappropriate or unacceptable feelings toward a specific other person or a specific object - rationalization involves generating acceptable reasons for outcomes that might otherwise appear socially unacceptable; the goal is to reduce anxiety by coming up with an explanation for an event that is easier to accept than the real reason - reaction formation is when in an attempt to stifle the expression of an unacceptable urge, a person may continually display a flurry of behaviour that indicates the opposite impulse - proection is based on the notion that sometimes we see in others the traits and desires we find most upsetting in ourselves; we literally project our own unacceptable qualities onto others - the false consensus effect refers to the tendency many people to assume that others are similar to them; extraverts think many others are extraverted and conscientious persons think many others are conscientious - sublimation is the most adaptive defense mechanism; it is the channeling of un
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