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Chapter 9

PSYB30H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 9: Giant Panda, Psychosexual Development, Penis Envy

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Lisa Fiksenbaum

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Ch. 9 Psychoanalytic Approaches to Personality (Intrapsychic Domain)
The case of Ross Cheit (who had forgotten, and later remembered, being abused at a camp) is an example
of: repression.
Sigmund Freud: Biography
Freud lived most of his life in: Vienna; but he was born in Frieberg, Moravia.
Before psychoanalysis, Freud did research in the field of: neurology.
Freud began developing the idea that portions of the human mind were outside conscious awareness.
The unconscious is the part of the mind about which the conscious mind has no awareness.
Freud began to surmise that the unconscious mind operated under its own poverty, subject to its own
motivations and according to its own logic.
He devoted the rest of his career to exploring the nature and logic of the unconscious mind.
The unconscious: is the part of the mind about which the conscious mind has no awareness.
Freud published his first book, "The Interpretation of Dreams," in: 1900.
He descried how the unconscious mind was expressed in dreams and how dreams contained cues to
our innermost secrets, desires, and motives.
The analysis of dreams became a cornerstone of his treatment.
The Freudian idea of: the talking cure is basic to most psychotherapies.
Fundamental Assumptions of Psychoanalytic Theory
Freuds model of human nature relied on the motion of psychic energy to motivate all human activity.
What were the forces that motivated people to do one thing and not another or that motivated people
to do anything at all?
Freud proposed a source of energy that is within each person and used the term “psychic energy” to
refer to this fountain of motivation.
Freud believed that psychic energy operated according to the law of conservation of energy: the
amount of psychic energy an individual possessed remained constant throughout his or her lifetime.
Personality change was viewed as a redirection of a person’s psychic energy.
According to Freud, the amount of psychic energy in a person: always remains constant.
Basic Instincts: Sex & Aggression
What was the basic source of psychic energy? Freud believed that there were strong innate forces that
provided all the energy in the psychic system. He called these forces instincts.
Freuds originally theory of instincts was influenced by Darwin’s theory of evolution.
In Freuds initial formulation, there were two fundamental categories of instincts: “self-preservation
instincts” & “sexual instincts” (these corresponded to two major components of Darwins theory of
natural selection: selection by survival & selection by reproduction).
In Freud’s later formulation, he collapsed the self-preservation & sexual instincts into one — “life instincts”.
After WW2, he developed the idea of a “death instinct”; he postulated that humans had a fundamental
instinct toward destruction and this instinct was manifest in aggression toward others.
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The life instinct & death instinct were referred to as libido for the life instinct and thanatos for the death
Freud's two basic instincts are: sex and aggression.
Although the libido was considered sexual, Freud also used this term to refer to any need-satisfying, life-
sustaining, or pleasure-oriented urge.
Thanatos was considered to be the death instinct, but Freud used this term in a broad manner to refer
to any urge to destroy, harm, or aggress against others or oneself.
B/c each person possesses a fixed amount of psychic energy, according to Freud, the energy used to direct
one type of behaviour is NOT available to drive other types of behaviours.
If a man invests most of his death instinct in a socially acceptable behavior (like football), Freud
would expect that person to be: less aggressive in other ways
B/c psychic energy exists in a fixed and limited amount within each person, it can be directed and
redirected in various ways.
Unconscious Motivation: Sometimes We Don’t Know Why We Do What We Do
According to Freud, the human mind consists of 3 parts: conscious, preconscious, unconscious.
The conscious mind is the part that contains all the thoughts, feelings, and perceptions that you are
presently aware of.
Whatever you are currently perceiving or thinking about is in your conscious mind; these thoughts
represent only a small fraction of that information available to you.
According to Freud, the: conscious mind is the part of the mind that contains thoughts and feelings of
which you are currently aware.
You also have a vast number of memories, dreams, and thoughts that you could bring to mind if you so
This information is stored in the preconscious mind.
Any piece of information that you are NOT presently thinking about, but could easily be retrieved
and made conscious, is found in the preconscious mind.
I ask you to recall your mother's maiden name.
This information resides in the preconscious mind, according to Freud.
According to Freud, the preconscious mind is the part of the mind that contains all the information that you
are not currently thinking about, but could easily bring to mind.
You are answering this question—therefore, Freud would say the information is in the
The unconscious is the third and, according to Freud, largest part of the human mind.
According to Freud, the unconscious mind is the part of the mind that contains unacceptable
information that can only be brought into awareness with great effort.
The memories, feelings, thoughts, or urges that are so troubling or distasteful that being aware of
them, would make the person anxious, hence, why they are in the unconscious mind.
Since society does NOT allow people to express freely all of their sexual & aggressive instinct;
people learn to control their urges by keeping them from entering conscious awareness in the first
Freud used the metaphor of an iceberg to describe the three parts of the mind.
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The part of the iceberg above the water represents the conscious mind — the top level is the
perception & consciousness, which he abbreviated “pept-es”.
The part that you can just see below the water surface is the preconscious mind — the middle level is
the preconscious.
And the part of the iceberg hidden from view (the majority) represents the unconscious mind — the
lower level is the unconscious view.
Psychic Determinism: Nothing Happens by Chance
Freud maintained that: nothing happens by chance or accident— there is a reason behind every act, thought
& feelings.
Everything we do, think, say, and feel is an expression of the mind— the conscious, preconscious, or
Freudian slips” (slip of the tongue, mix-ups, or forgetting a person’s name) are: a result of the
motivated unconscious.
Freud taught that most symptoms of mental illness are caused by unconscious motivations.
To Breuer & Freud, hysterical symptoms did not occur by chance; rather, they were physical
expressions of repressed traumatic experiences.
oFreud adopted & refined the technique developed by Breuer for effecting the “talking
cure”; Freud believed that for a psychological symptom to be cured, the unconscious
cause of the symptoms must first be discovered.
As unconscious thoughts, feelings, and urges can take on a life of their own, Freud called this part
of the mind the: motivated unconscious
A Closer Look: Examples of the Unconscious: Blindsight & Deliberation-without-Awareness
Blindsight: evidence of the unconscious
Another example of the unconscious at work concerns the phenomenon of deliberation-without-awareness
of the “let me sleep on it” effect.
Structure of Personality
Psychoanalytic personality theory describes how people cope with their sexual and aggressive instincts
within the constraints of a civilized society.
Sexual & aggressive instincts often lead to drives & urges that conflict with society and with reality.
One part of the mind creates these urges (id); another part has a sense of what civilized society
excepts; (superego) and another part tries to satisfy the urges within the bounds of reality and society
Id: Reservoir of Psychic Energy
Id was the most primitive part of the human mind. Freud saw the id as something we are born with and as
the source of all drives & urges.
The id is like a spoil child— selfish, impulsive, and pleasure-loving.
According to Freud, the id operates according to the pleasure principle, which is the desire for
immediate gratification.
The id cannot tolerate any delays in satisfying its urges.
During infancy, the id dominates
Freud believed that when his female patients reported being sexually seduced as children, the
patients were probably: fulfilling unconscious wishes with fantasies.
B/c the id operates according to the pleasure principle, it does not listen to reason, does not follow
logic, and has no values or morals, and it has very little patience.
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