PSY100H1 Chapter Notes - Chapter 12: Sigmund Freud, Hierarchical Database Model

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26 Mar 2012

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Chapter 12 - Personality
Personality: characteristics, emotional responses, thoughts, and behaviors that are relatively
stable over time and across circumstances
Personality trait: a characteristic, a dispositional tendency to act in a certain way over time
and across circumstances
Dan McAdams: believes that to know people well, we need to know everything about them,
including the personal narratives of their whole lives
Gordon Allport: believed that the best working definition of personality is “the dynamic
organization within the individual of those psychophysical systems that determine his
characteristic behaviour and thought
-Allport highlights the psychological nature of personality while clearly reorganizing that
personality arises from the basic biological process
-Allport’s definition stresses that personality causes people to think, behave and feel in
relatively consistent ways over time
-Allport published the first major textbook of personality psychology, which defined the field.
He also championed the stud of individuals and established traits as a central concept in
personality research
Contemporary understanding of personality: the notion of organization indicates that
personality is not just a list of traits but a coherent whole
-this organized whole is dynamic, in that it is goal seeking, sensible to context, and adaptive
to the environment
Sigmund Freud
-Psychology theory: Freudian theory that unconscious forces, such as wishes and
motives, influences behaviour
-Referred to these psychic forces as instincts, defining them as mental representations
arising out of biological or physical need
-Proposed that people have a life instinct that is satisfied by following the pleasure
principle, which directs people to seek pleasure and avoid plain
-The energy that drives the pleasure principle is called libido
-Psychological forces can be in conflict, which was what Freud viewed as the essential
cause of mental illness, with most of the conflicts between various psychological forces
occurring below the level of conscious awareness
-Topographical model: proposed that the structure of the mind, was divided into
three different zones of mental awareness
oConscious level: people are aware of their thoughts
oPreconscious: consists of content that is not currently in awareness but could
be brought to awareness, it is roughly analogous to long-term memory
oUnconscious: contains material that the mind cannot easily retrieve, contains
wishes, desires and motives that are associated with conflict, anxiety, or pain
and are therefore not accessible to protect the person from distress. But
sometimes, this info leaks into consciousness, such as occurs during a
Freudian slip, in which a person accidently reveals a hidden motive
-Believed that early childhood experiences had a major impact on the development of
-Believed that children went though developmental stages that corresponded to their
pursuit of satisfaction of libidinal urges
-At each psychosexual stage, libido is focused on one of the erogenous zones: mouth,
anus, and genitals
oOral stage: lasts from birth to approximately 18 months, during which time
pleasure is sought through the mouth
oAnal phase: when children are 2 or 3 years old, toilet training leads them to
focus on the anus, therefore learning to control the bowels is the key focus of
the anal phase
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oPhallic stage: from 3 to 5, children libidinal energies are directed toward the
genitals. Children often discover the pleasure of rubbing their genitals during
this time, although they have no sexual intent per se.
During this stage children desire an exclusive relationship with the
opposite-sex parent
The same-sex parent is therefore a rival, children develop hostility
toward the same-sex parent, with for boys is known as the Oedipus
complex, after mother
Believed children develop unconscious wishes to kill the one parent in
order to claim the other, and they resolve this conflict through
identification with the same-sex parent, taking on many of his or her
values and ideals
oLatency stage: brief, in which libidinal urges are suppressed or channeled into
schoolwork or building friendships
oGenital stage: adolescents and adults work to attain mature attitudes about
sexuality and adulthood, libidinal urges are centered on the capacity to
reproduce and contribute to society
-An integrated model of how the mind is organized – Psychodynamic theory
oID: most basic level, completely submerged in the unconscious, operates
according to the pleasure principle, acting on impulses and desires, innate
forces driving the id are sex and aggression
oSuperego: the internalization of societal and parental standards of conduct,
acting as a brake on the id. Develops during the phallic phase, the superego is
a rigid structure of morality, or human conscience
oEgo: tries to satisfy the wishes of the id while being responsive to the dictates
of the superego, it operates according to the reality principle: which involves
rational thought and problem solving
-Conflicts between the id and superego lead to anxiety, which the ego copes with by
employing a variety of defense mechanisms: unconscious mental strategies the
mind uses to protect itself from conflict and distress
oPeople often rationalize their behaviour by blaming situational factors over
which they have little control, i.e. you didn’t call your parents because you were
too busy studying
oContemporary researchers believe that these mechanisms protect self-esteem
rather than relieve unconscious conflict over libidinal desires
-For instance, reaction formation occurs when people ward off an uncomfortable
thought about the self by embracing its opposite
-Psychodynamic theories have largely been abandoned
oDenial: refusing to acknowledge source of anxiety
oRepression: excluding source of anxiety from awareness
oProjection: attributing unacceptable qualities of the self to someone else
oReaction formation: warding off an uncomfortable thought by
overemphasizing its opposite
oRationalization: concocting a seemingly logical reason or excuse for
behaviour that might otherwise be shameful
oDisplacement: shifting the attention of emotion from one object to another
oSublimation: channeling socially unacceptable impulses into constructive,
even admirable, behaviour
-B. F. Skinner argued that patterns of reinforcement determined response tendencies
Humanistic approaches: emphasizes personal experience and belief systems, and propose
that people seek personal growth to fulfill their human potential
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