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Chapter 14

Psychology 1000 Chapter Notes - Chapter 14: Collective Unconscious, Autonomic Nervous System, Impulsivity

Course Code
PSYCH 1000

of 12
Personality 1
Chapter 14: Personality
Arises from the spectrum of human individualitywe observe people differ
meaningfully in the ways they customarily think, feel, and act
Some theorists say we are like all other people, like some other people or like no other
Rests on the observation that people seem to behave somewhat consistently over time
and across different situationsgives notion to personality traits
Personalitythe distinctive and relatively enduring ways of thinking, feeling, and acting that
characterize a person’s responses to life situations
The thoughts, feelings, and actions that are seen as reflecting an individual’s personality
typically have 3 characteristics:
1. They are seen as components of identity that distinguish that person from other
2. The behaviours are viewed as being caused primarily by internal rather than
environmental factors
3. The person’s behaviours seem to “fit together” in a meaningful fashion, suggesting
an inner personality that guides and directs behaviour
The study of personality has been guided by psychodynamic, humanistic, biological,
behavioural, cognitive, and sociocultural perspectives
Look for the causes of behaviour in a dynamic interplay of inner forces that often conflict with
one another. They also focus on unconscious determinant of behaviour
Freud’s psychoanalytic theory
Was awarded a fellowship with Jean Charcot treating patients with conversion hysteriawas
convinced their symptoms were related to painful memories being repressedthis convinced
him a part of the unconscious mind exerts great influence on behaviour and started
experimenting with hypnosis, free association, and dream analysis
Psychic energy and mental events
Freud considered personality to be an energy system, like the steam engines of his day
Instinctual drives generate psychic energy, which powers the mind and constantly
presses for either direct or indirect release
Mental events may be conscious, preconscious, or unconscious
Personality 2
Conscious mindmental events that we are presently aware of
Preconscious mindcontains memories, thoughts, feelings, and images that we are
unaware of at the moment but that can be called into conscious awareness
Unconscious minddynamic realm of wishes, feelings, and impulses that lies
beyond our awareness. Only when impulses from the unconscious are discharged
some way, such as in dreams, slips of the tongue, or some disguised behaviour, does
the unconscious reveal itself
Freud believed the unconscious was the largest and most important area of the
The structure of personality
Freud divided it into 3 separate but interacting structures: id, ego, and superego
Idexists totally within the unconscious mind. It is the innermost core of the
personality, the only structure present at birth, and the source of all psychic energy.
The id has no direct contact with reality and functions in a totally irrational manner.
Operating according to the pleasure principle, it seeks immediate gratification or
release, regardless of rational considerations and environmental realities (want?
Id cannot directly satisfy itself because it has no contact with outer world.
Therefore, a new structures forms that has direct contact with realityego
Egofunctions primarily at a conscious level, and it operates according to the
reality principle. It tests reality to decide when and under what conditions the id
can safely discharge its impulses and satisfy its needs. Tries to delay gratification
until conditions are safe and appropriate
Superegolast to develop. The moral arm of the personality. Developed by the age
of 4 or 5, and was the repository for the values and ideals of society. These ideals are
internalized by what parents teach is right and wrong. Like the ego, strives to
control the instincts of the id, particularly the sexual and aggressive impulses. The
superego, in its quest for perfection, tries to block gratification permanently
With the development of the superego, the ego is squarely in the eye of the psychic
storm. It must achieve compromise between the demands of the id, the constraints
of the superego, and the demands of realitythis earns the ego the title “executive
of the personality
Conflict, anxiety, and defense
There is a never-ending struggle between the id trying to discharge its instinctive
energies and the opposing forces generated by the ego and superego
When the ego confronts impulses that threaten to get out of control or is faced with
dangers from the environment, anxiety results
Anxiety serves as a danger signal and motivates the ego to deal with the problem at
When realistic strategies are ineffective in reducing anxiety, the ego may result to
defense mechanisms that deny or distort reality
Repressionthe primary means by which the ego “keeps the lid on the id”. The ego
uses some of its energy to prevent anxiety-arousing memories, feelings, and
Personality 3
impulses from entering consciousness. Repressed thoughts and wishes remain
in the unconscious, striving for release, but they may be expressed indirectly, as
in slips of the tongue or in dreams
Sublimationa repressed impulse is released in the form of a socially acceptable
or admired behaviour (a man with strong hostile impulses becomes a lawyer)
See table 14.1: psychoanalytic ego defence mechanisms
Psychosexual development
Freud proposed that children pass through psychosexual stages during which the
id’s pleasure-seeking tendencies are focused on specific pleasure-sensitive
areas of the body called erogenous zones
Deprivations of overindulgences can arouse during any of these stages, resulting
in fixation, a state of arrested psychosexual development in which instincts are
focused on a particular psychic theme
Research on psychoanalytic theory
Freud opposed experimental research, believing that the complex phenomena he
had identified could not be studied under controlled conditions
Predictions of dream content based on psychodynamic theory have been
testedWegner examined whether wishes suppressed during the day appear in
dreams by having students think about 2 things, suppressing one. Students
dreamed more often of the suppressed targets than the nonsuppressed targets,
consistent with psychodynamic theory
Major shortcominghard to define and measure
Cognitive psychologists developed methods to identify and measure
nonconscious processing of info
Cognitive neuroscience has provided methods of tapping into mental processes
as they occur by measuring brain activity
Evaluating psychoanalytic theory
Why is it criticized?
Many of its specific propositions have not held up under the scrutiny of research
It is hard to testit often explains too much to allow clear-cut behavioural
Reaction formationproduces exaggerated behaviours that are the opposite of the
Freud’s legacy: nonanalytic and object relations approaches
Neoanalysts—psychoanalysts who disagreed with certain aspects of Freud’s
thinking and developed their own theories
Alder, Horney, Erickson, and Jung believed that Freud did not give social and
cultural factors a sufficiently important role in development and dynamics of
personality and believed he stressed infantile sexuality too much