Chapter 10: Psychoanalytic Approaches: Contemporary Issues
February 14 , 2012
Repression and Contemporary Research on Memory
- False Memories: Memories that have been “implanted” for events that did
- Important to identify the processes that can lead to a false memory:
o Popular Press
Popular books for example that suggest to people that if you
are feeling depressed, have low self-esteem, or have sexual
dysfunction etc. you probably have repressed memories of
being abused early in your life.
o Behaviour of Some Therapists
Hypnosis has been proven to not improve memory at all.
Under hypnosis people are more imaginative, more
spontaneous and more emotional. It has been associated with
increased distortions of memory.
Imagination Inflation Effect: occurs when a memory is
elaborated upon through imagination, leading the person to
confuse the imagined event with events that actually
I.e. After showing a person an advertisement suggesting that
they shook hands with Mickey Mouse as a child, those people
later had a higher confidence that they had personally shook
hands with Mickey Mouse.
Therapists can suffer from Confirmatory Bias: the tendency to
look only for evidence that confirms their previous hunch and
to not look for evidence that might disconfirm their belief.
Contemporary Views on the Unconscious
- Motivated Unconscious: According to Freud, the conscious was a boiling
and fuming cauldron of anger and eroticism.
o It operated according to it’s own primitive and irrational rules, and it
had broad, sweeping influence over our conscious behaviour,
thoughts and feelings.
- Cognitive Unconscious: those with the cognitive unconscious view readily
acknowledge that information can get into our memories without ever being
aware of the information.
o For Example: In the phenomenon, Subliminal Perception, some
information such as a phrase “Buy a Coke” is flashed on the so quickly
that you don’t recognize the actual words. When asked to pick a word out of a line up you would choose “coke”. Thus, subliminal information
primes associated material into memory.
o Priming makes that associated material more accessible to conscious
awareness than is material that is not primed.
o Vast majority of research on subliminal research suggests that
unconscious information does not influence people’s motivations.
I.e. if they flash “coke” on the screen it does not make you want
to go buy a coke.
o In the cognitive view of the unconscious, the content of the
unconscious mind is assumed to operate just like the thoughts in
Thoughts are unconscious because they are not in the
conscious awareness, not because they have been repressed or
because they represent unacceptable urges or wishes.
- Id Psychology: Freud’s version of psychoanalysis focused on the id, and how
the ego and superego respond to the demands of the id.
- Ego Psychology: A shift in focus occurred when a student of Freud, Erik
Erikson, emphasized that the ego deserved much more attention and that it
was a powerful and independent part of personality.
o Erikson noted that the ego was involved in mastering the
environment, achieving one’s goals, and establishing one’s identity.
- A primary function of the ego is to establish a secure identity.
- Identity can be thought of as an inner sense of whom we are, of what makes
us unique and a sense of continuity over time and a feeling of wholeness.
- Identity Crisis: refers to the desperation and confusion a person feels when
he or she has not developed a strong sense of identity.
o Very common to occur during adolescence and later in life, called the
Erikson’s 8 Stages of Development
- Erikson disagreed with Freud in his stages of development in a lot of areas.
o Erikson believed that Freud’s Latency Stage had a lot more
psychological development going on then Freud thought.
o Erikson believed that the crises at each stage were not sexual as Freud
thought, but rather were of a social nature.
Psychosocial Conflicts: i.e. Crises of learning to trust parents,
learning to be autonomous from them, learning from them how
to act as an adult.
o Erikson did agree with Freud in some areas:
First he kept a Stage Model of Development: implying that
people go through stages in a certain order and that there is a
specific issue that characterizes each stage. Second he believed that each stage represented a conflict, a
development crisis, which needed to be solved.
Third he maintained the notion of fixation, meaning that if the
crisis was not successfully and adaptively resolved, then
personality development could become arrested and the
person would continue to be preoccupied by that crisis in
1. Trust vs. Mistrust
- Starts at infancy
- “Does the child find caregivers reliable?”
- When children are born they are completely dependent on those around
- If they are well taken care of and their basic needs are met they will develop
a sense of trust in their caregivers which forms the basis of future
relationships, with such children growing up believing that other people are
approachable and trustable.
- However if they are not taken care of, they may develop a sense that others
are no to be trusted and have feelings of suspiciousness, isolation,
estrangement, and social discomfort.
2. Autonomy vs. Shame & Doubt
- Starts around 2 years.
- “How much of the world do I control?”
- A good outcome is when a child feels a sense of control and develops self-
confidence and a sense of autonomy by exploring and learning.
- If a parent is very strict and punishes a child when being independent, the
child might feel shame and doubt over goals he or she is contemplating.
- Overly protective parents might hinder their child’s natural urge to explore a
wide variety of life’s events.
3. Initiative vs. Guilt
- Starts around 3 years.
- “Does the child initiate tasks and goals?”
- At this stage children begin imitating adults, by practicing their skills by
organizing games, choosing leaders, and forming goals.
- Then during school activities they also take the initiative to accomplish goals
and to work with a distinct purpose of mind.
- If all goes well the child develops a sense of initiative, which translate to
ambition and goal seeking.
- And if they don’t, the child might be scared to pursue goals for the fear of
failure. 4. Industry vs. Inferiority
- Starts at the time of elementary school
- “Does the child feel good at what he or she does?”
- Children begin to compare themselves with other children (classmates), and
they develop a sense of competence and achievement. They believe that if
they work hard enough their strengths and abilities can do most things they
desire to do.
- Sense of Industry: feeling as if they can work to achieve what they want
- Sense of Inferiority: feeling they don’t have the talent or ability to get ahead
5. Identity vs. Role Confusion
- Starts in adolescence
- “Who am I?” “Do others recognize me for who I think I am?”
- Experimenting with identities is common at this stage in life (i.e. one year an
athlete and the next year a punk rocker)
- Eventually most people make some decisions about what is important, what
they value and w