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Chapter 14

Psychology 1000 Chapter Notes - Chapter 14: Unconscious Mind, Personal Unconscious, Psychosexual Development

Course Code
PSYCH 1000
Derek Quinlan

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Personality: the distinctive and relatively enduring ways of thinking, feeling, and
acting that characterize a person’s responses to life situations
―Thoughts, feelings, and actions‖ that reflect one’s personality often have 3
o 1) Seen as
components of identity
that distinguish that person from others
o 2) Behaviours viewed as being
primarily by
internal factors
o 3) Behaviours seem to ―fit together‖ – suggesting
inner personality
guides/directs behaviour
Look for the causes of behaviour in a
dynamic interplay
of inner forces that
often conflict with one another
Also focus on
determinants of behaviour
Freud’s Psychoanalytic Theory
Freud intended on becoming a medical researcher
Offered a fellowship with neurologist Charcot
Freud conducted experiments with patients suffering from conversion hysteria
(physical symptoms appearing with no physical cause)
Freud was convinced that the patients’ symptoms were related to painful
memories/feelings that have been repressed
When patients re-experienced these repressed memories, their physical
symptoms disappeared or improved
Freud was then convinced that an
part of the mind exerts
influences on behaviour
He then conducted self-analysis in attempts to relieve his depression wrote
―The Interpretation of Dreams‖
Psychic Energy & Mental Events
Freud considered personality to be an
energy system
Instinctual drives generate psychic energy, which powers the mind and
constantly presses for either indirect or direct release
Mental events may be
, or
o Conscious mind events we are presently aware of

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o Pre-Conscious mind memories, thoughts, feelings, and images that we
are unaware of at the moment but can be called into conscious awareness
o Unconscious mind wishes, feelings, and impulses that lie beyond our
The Structure of Personality
Freud divided personality into 3 structures: id, ego, superego
Id: exists totally within the unconscious mind
o Innermost core of personality
o Only structure present at birth
o Source of all psychic energy
o No direct contact with reality
o Functions in an irrational manner
o Pleasure Principle: seeks immediate gratification/release regardless of
rational considerations
Ego: functions primarily at a conscious level
o Reality Principle: tests reality to decide when and under what conditions
the id can safely discharge its impulses and satisfy its needs
Superego: moral arm of personality
o Develops by age 4-5
o Ideals of society internalized by a child through identification with their
o Strives to control the instincts of the id, particularly sexual and
aggressive impulses
o Tries to block gratification permanently
o Moralistic goals take precedence over realistic ones
Conflict, Anxiety, & Defense
Observable behaviour often represents compromises between motives, needs,
impulses, and defenses
Anxiety serves as a danger signal and motivates the ego to deal with the
problem at hand
Defense Mechanisms: ego may resort to defense mechanisms that deny or
distort reality when realistic strategies are ineffective in reducing anxiety
o Ex: repression, denial, displacement, intellectualization, projection,
rationalization, reaction formation, sublimation
Repression: ego uses some of its energy to prevent anxiety-arousing memories,
feelings, and impulses from entering consciousness

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Sublimation: completely masking forbidden underlying impulses
Defense mechanisms operate unconsciously
Freud argued that excessive reliance on defense mechanisms was a primary
cause of maladaptive or dysfunctional behaviour
Psychosexual Development
Freud believed personality is moulded by experiences in the first years of life
Children pass through
psychosexual stages
during which the id’s pleasure-
seeking tendencies are focused on specific
erogenous zones
(ex: mouth, anus,
Deprivations or overindulgences can arise during any stage, resulting in a
(instincts become focused on particular psychic theme
Oral 0-2 Years Mouth
Anal 2-3 Years Anus
Phallic 4-6 Years Genitals
Latency 7-Puberty None
Genital Puberty-On Genitals
Research on Psychoanalytic Theory
Freud tested his ideas through case studies and clinical observations; he
opposed experimental research
Believed observations of everyday behaviour and clinical phenomena to be the
best evidence
o Could not be studied under controlled conditions
Research does continue to address aspects of psychodynamic theory
of psychoanalytic theory many of its concepts are
ambiguous and difficult to operationally define and measure
Evaluating Psychoanalytic Theory
Often criticized on scientific grounds
Many of its specific propositions have no held up under the scrutiny of research
Also hard to test because it often explains too much to allow clear-cut
behavioural predictions
Some psychoanalytic hypotheses are untestable
Freud’s Legacy: Neo-Analytic & Object Relations Approaches
Neo-Analysts: psychoanalysts who disagreed with certain aspects of Freud’s
thinking and developed their own theories
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