Final Exam Notes Chapter 14 Personality
-Sigmund Freud first to say what we do is often irrational and that the reasons for our
behavior are seldom conscious.
-Began association with prominent physician Josef Breuer. They published a seminal book
“Studies on Hysteria” and one of the cases that cited in it was of Anna O. who suffered from
a staggering number of symptoms; loss of speech, disturbance in vision, headaches,
paralysis and loss of feeling in right arm.
-Under hypnosis she could tell when her symptoms began.
-They began when she was unable to express a strongly felt emotion. While under hypnosis,
she experienced these emotions again, and the experience gave her a relief from her
symptoms. It was as if the emotions had been bottled up and relieving the original
experiences had uncorked them. –This relief of energy was called catharsis which
presumably eliminated her symptoms. However Ellenberger (1972) discovered through
hospital results that Anna O. wasn’t in fact cured and she continued to take morphine for
the distress caused by the disorders Breuer had supposedly cured.
-Freud concluded from his observations that all human behavior is motivated by instinctual
drives, which when activated supply “psychic energy”. This energy is aversive because the
nervous system seeks a state of quiet equilibrium. According to Freud, if something
prevents the psychic energy caused by activation of a drive from being discharged,
psychological disturbance will result. He believed instinctual drives are triggered by the
events in a person’s life. Traumatic events can seriously threaten the desired state of
psychic energy equilibrium. A person tends to try to deny or hide his strong emotional
reaction rather than express it.
-If we don’t express our strong emotions and suppress the psychic energy that fuels them,
then the emotions may be expressed neurotically excessive anxiety. The individual won’t
be able to recall his extreme emotional reactions because they’ll be embedded in the
“unconscious”, the inaccessible part of the mind.
-Unconscious emotions still exert control over conscious thoughts and actions.
-Freud also believed that the mind actively prevents unconscious memories of traumatic
events from reaching conscious awareness. The mind represses the memories of traumatic
events most of which are potentially anxiety provoking, from being consciously discovered.
-He used the idea of an iceberg as a metaphor to describe the mind; only the tip is visible