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Chapter 10

Chapter 10 - Interpersonal Theories and Interpersonal Styles

4 Pages
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Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYC 2740
Professor
Stephen Lewis

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Chapter 10 Interpersonal Theories and Interpersonal Stylesy Our interpersonal styles and how people view our interpersonal traits can play an enormous role in life outcomes and the quality of our relationshipsHarry Stack Sullivan y His personality theory rests on the basic premise that relationships are not just critical they are vital y Noteworthy because it was the first systematic personality theory that was entirely interpersonal y Notion that personality has meaning only in how people interact with each other in the initial stages of development parents play a crucial roley Defined personality is the relatively enduring pattern of recurrent interpersonal situations which characterize a human life y Placed greater influence on communal common experiences and felt that individuality was not as important as most people imaginedy The selfsystem from its nature its communal environmental factors organization and functional activity tends to escape influence by experience which is incongruous with its current organization and functional activity y Sullivans theorem of escape incorporates the notion that we resist experiences that evoke feelings of anxiety o The self system is derived wholly from the interpersonal aspects of the necessary environment of the human being it is organized because of the extremely uncomfortable experience of anxiety and it is organized in such a way as to avoid or minimize existent or foreseen anxietyy Theorem of reciprocal emotions notion that other people influence our emotions and we in turn influence their emotions as well y Culture plays a role is represented by social expectations and dictates that may be quite dissonant with the developing childs actual desires The Developmental Epochs y Sullivan identified 6 developmental epochs or stages that must be worked through before becoming an adult o Infancy birth to 30 months as speech begins to appear o Childhood focused on relationships with friends and companions o The juvenile elementary school years gradual focus of a need for intimacy with a similar other o Preadolescence keen interest in issues involving the genitals sexuality and puberty establishing an intimate relationship with a member of the opposite sex o Early adolescence lust urges into a loving relationship with another persono Late adolescencey Initially the need for security is evident in infancy and is a critical motivating factor that facilitates the developing selfsystemy Initial tension in the infant creates a corresponding tension in the mother that is experienced by the mother as a syndrome called tendernesso Compels the mother to satisfy the infants needs y Sullivan emphasized the infants sense of powerlessness and an agentic need to develop a sense of power y Early social experiences shape the selfcocept in keeping with the symbolic interactionism view y We construct our selfimages from the appraisals provided to us by significant othersThe Good Me The Bad Me and The Not Me y Sullivan suggested that each child develops a sense of the good me vs the bad me as a result of the feedback received from and the pressures of the socialization process y Anxiety stems from the bad me follows from negative reactions from significant othersy The not me is the unknown and unintegrated aspects of ourselves that are often repressed Personifications are mental prototypes cognitive categories y Sullivans concept y Provided the early theoretical basis for contemporary research on the self and cognitive processing of interpersonal information and the self in relation to othersy Prototypes formed early in life used as a guide that assists us with the perception of current relationshipsy Contemporary research focuses on something similar relational schemas which are also hypothesized cognitive structures that guide perception and cognition Evaluating Sullivans Theory y Sullivan made extensive contributions however his overall contribution has been limited because many of his tenets are abstract and difficult to test with empirical research y Little research that directly tests aspects of his theory y Another issue is whether Sullivans theory is overextended because of its purely interpersonal emphasisThe Interpersonal Dimensions
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