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Chapter 12

Chapter 12 Notes

8 Pages
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Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYB30H3
Professor
Marc A Fournier

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Chapter 12: Writing Stories of Lives: Biography and Life CoursePSYB30
ICARUS: AN ANCIENT STORY
Icarus was boy that made wings to fly towards sun, only to have them melt, leaving him to fall to
the sea
Grope was student at Harvard who participated in Henry A. Murrays investigation in the 30s and
40s
oWrote short autobiography, was interviewed and given tests such as TATT
oViewed his life as cycle of success and mediocrity, he saw himself was mediocre at
Harvard and was awaiting an ignition to success
oValued money, power, glory and fame
Icarus complex: themes in personality function that are modelled on Greek story of Icarus
oFirst theme is urethral erotismthematic association between hot sexuality and wet
urination
oSecond theme is ascensionismsudden rising, literally or metaphorically for success
oThird theme is cynosural narcissismcraving for unsolicited attention and admiration
oFourth them is failing/precipitation - ascension-descension cycles, what comes up must
come down, and crashes
Gropes life had all these themes
Icarus story is a way for Murray to make sense of Gropes life, it is Murrays story about Grope
Personality psychology uses paradigmatic mode of knowing (using scientific method to find cause
and effect relations), but sometimes use narrative mode of knowing (informed biographies of
individual cases)
oE.g. Grope was related to Icarus to best convey aspects of his personality
Murrays interpretation is an example of a case study
PERSONOLOGY AND THE STUDY OF LIVES
MURRAY AND THE HARVARD PSYCHOLOGICAL CLINIC
Murray was hired as assistant to Morton Prince, a psychologist at Harvard
Murray was a physician with PhD in biochemistry, Jung inspired him to take interest in
personality psychology
Murray succeeded Prince and became director of Psychological Clinic at Harvard
Prince had started clinic as place where undergrads could learn about abnormal psychology, with
clinical demonstrations
oThis was frowned upon by Harvard and separated from proper psychology department
Murray put person at center of inquiry, required researchers to know participants in detail
oDiagnostic Councils were established, where people would compare and integrate their
views of the person into one
Interdisciplinary and famous people visited the clinic, wanted to complex understanding of the
whole person
oDid longitudinal studies of normal people when American psychology glorified
experiments
Murray was interested in human motivation, and psychoanalysis
Published the explorations in personality
oEnvisioned personology as interdisciplinary and wanted to understand the person as a
whole
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Chapter 12: Writing Stories of Lives: Biography and Life CoursePSYB30
oLooked for themes in behaviour, as opposed to discrete processes
Murray believed personality is household for competing personas
oHow they interact with each other produces our narrative of life
oCertain personas take over temporarily, only to be changed
Saw human lives as set in time
oWe can only get aspects of life by asking someone about their life at that moment
oOur lives are our history, an interpretation of the past based on what followed and the
expected future
Proceeding: Smallest meaningful unit of time in behaviour
oA single instance of interaction between a person and the environment
Multiple proceedings are what we call multitasking
Our uniqueness comes from our different sums of proceedings
Durance: Sum of overlapping proceedings during a period of time
oCan be any short scenes or chapters in life (e.g. new job)
Serials: long and directed proceedings (long durances)
oe.g. Marriages
Serial programs: Subgoals that help us meet our end state
oGive us direction and purpose
Human behaviour is proceedings, durances, serials, and serial programs organized in time
Unity-thema: Pattern or related needs and press
oGives meaning to large parts of our lives
oE.g. Gropes Icarus complex
oA thema is a recurrent need-press interaction, unity-thema is when a large part of life is
dominated by a need-press interaction
THE PERSONOLOGICAL TRADITION
Murray directed personality assessments for foreign espionage for World War II, based on
principles of personology
oWanted to evaluate candidates as a whole, was basically the Harvard psychological
clinical applied to foreign espionage
Murray influenced the study of lives (interdisciplinary inquiry in social sciences)
oRobert White was spokesperson for study of lives
Academic psychology didnt favour generalist, qualitative and person drive approaches such as
Murrays
oFavoured quantitative and specific approaches
oHas seen a revival in last 25 years
Six general propositions that characterize Murrays personological approach
1. Personology is shaped by numerous and various forceslives are shaped inconsistent forces and
factors
2. Personology is complex, lifelong, never ending enterprise - Lives are in progress, situated in time,
cant capture it in at one specific time
3. Personology focuses on the close examination of mental life conscious and unconscious those
that are creative blend conscious with unconscious
4. Personology requires a multidisciplinary approach – need a variety of methods to assess
personality
www.notesolution.com
Chapter 12: Writing Stories of Lives: Biography and Life CoursePSYB30
5. Personology studies living, historical, fictional, and mythological figures as well as special human
“complexesunderstanding of human life can come outside of sciences
6. Personology encompasses a wide range of concerns, from specific practical issues to human
values and urgent global problemsis affected by social policies, and cultural forces. Believed we
need democratic world government and humanistic philosophy to get rid of impersonal science
and authoritarian religions
Whites health personality development involves:
1. Stabilization of ego identity – w/ time people develop clearer understanding of who they are
2. The freeing of personal relationshipsfreeing of negatives from the past, collaboration with
interpersonal relationships
3. The deepening of interestscompetence in things important to the self
4. The humanizing of valuesgreater complexity and tolerance for other points of view
5. The expansion of caring – as we mature, investment in others is deepened
SCIENCE AND THE SINGLE CASE
Murray, white and others insist that personality has to be studied the long way, through a case
study of a single human life
Case studies can be used to:
oExemplify theories
oComparison – compare theories or constructs
Critics have said case studies are too subjective, and dont apply to all people
5 criticisms of case studies:
1. Reliability
2. Internal coherence does it make sense, we are prone to making sense of almost anything
3. Interpretive truth
4. External validity – single person may not be representative of general population
5. The problem of discovery vs. Justification in the study of lives
Murray advocated for using Diagnostic Councils to blend qualitative with quantitative data
Single case may not apply to all, uses qualitative data that has no explicit rules for quantifying,
interjudge reliability may be low
Allport criticized Freud for trying too hard to confirm his own theories and ignoring new and
unique things
Pattern-matching plan: Look for conceptual pattern in data that makes logical and psychological
sesne (case study matches theoretical assumptions)
oPersonologist uses this to get a internally coherent interpretation of a person
What is true in a story can be looked at in terms of objective truth (facts) and narrative truth
oNarrative truth is how well a story convinces us of its truth (i.e. what we think is a good
story)
Hermeneutics: Art and science of interpreting texts
oInvestigator looks at text and tries to find signs and symbols to find truth
A good narrative truth is: internally coherent, logical events, closure, aesthetically pleasing
A good interpretation may be one that fits the criteria of a good scientific theory
oComprehensive, simple, internally coherent, hypotheses that can be tested, valid
according to empirical studies, is useful and generates new ideas
Critics say many people measured less in depth is more representative of general population, such
as correlational studies
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Description
Chapter 12: Writing Stories of Lives: Biography and Life Course PSYB30 ICARUS: AN ANCIENT STORY Icarus was boy that made wings to fly towards sun, only to have them melt, leaving him to fall to the sea Grope was student at Harvard who participated in Henry A. Murrays investigation in the 30s and 40s o Wrote short autobiography, was interviewed and given tests such as TATT o Viewed his life as cycle of success and mediocrity, he saw himself was mediocre at Harvard and was awaiting an ignition to success o Valued money, power, glory and fame Icarus complex: themes in personality function that are modelled on Greek story of Icarus o First theme is urethral erotism thematic association between hot sexuality and wet urination o Second theme is ascensionism sudden rising, literally or metaphorically for success o Third theme is cynosural narcissism craving for unsolicited attention and admiration o Fourth them is failingprecipitation - ascension-descension cycles, what comes up must come down, and crashes Gropes life had all these themes Icarus story is a way for Murray to make sense of Gropes life, it is Murrays story about Grope Personality psychology uses paradigmatic mode of knowing (using scientific method to find cause and effect relations), but sometimes use narrative mode of knowing (informed biographies of individual cases) o E.g. Grope was related to Icarus to best convey aspects of his personality Murrays interpretation is an example of a case study PERSONOLOGY AND THE STUDY OF LIVES MURRAY AND THE HARVARD PSYCHOLOGICAL CLINIC Murray was hired as assistant to Morton Prince, a psychologist at Harvard Murray was a physician with PhD in biochemistry, Jung inspired him to take interest in personality psychology Murray succeeded Prince and became director of Psychological Clinic at Harvard Prince had started clinic as place where undergrads could learn about abnormal psychology, with clinical demonstrations o This was frowned upon by Harvard and separated from proper psychology department Murray put person at center of inquiry, required researchers to know participants in detail o Diagnostic Councils were established, where people would compare and integrate their views of the person into one Interdisciplinary and famous people visited the clinic, wanted to complex understanding of the whole person o Did longitudinal studies of normal people when American psychology glorified experiments Murray was interested in human motivation, and psychoanalysis Published the explorations in personality o Envisioned personology as interdisciplinary and wanted to understand the person as a whole www.notesolution.com
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