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Chapter 14

Psychology 1000 Chapter Notes - Chapter 14: Collectivism, C. Robert Cloninger, Observational Learning

Course Code
PSYCH 1000

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What is Personality?
Distinctive and relatively enduring ways of thinking, feeling, and acting that characterize a person’s
responses to life situations
Typically have three characteristics
o Components of identity that distinguish that person from another
o Behaviours are viewed as being caused primarily by internal rather than environmental factors
o Person’s behaviours seem to fit together in a meaningful fashion – suggesting an inner
personality that guides and directs behaviour
Guided by psychodynamic, humanistic, biological, behavioural, cognitive and sociocultural perspectives
Psychodynamic Perspective
Look for causes of behaviour in interplay of inner forces that often conflict with one another
Focus on unconscious determinants of behaviour
Freud Psychoanalytic Theory
Neurologist Jean Charcot
o Treating patients who suffered from disorder called conversion hysteria
o Symptoms: paralysis & blindness appeared suddenly and with no cause
Freud - patients convinced him that symptoms were related to painful memories & feelings that seemed
to have been repressed
When patients were able to re-experience traumatic memories & unacceptable feelings - often sexual
or aggressive - symptoms often disappeared or improved
Psychic Energy and Mental Events
Considered personality to be an energy system
Instinctual drives generate psychic energy
Which powers mind and constantly presses for either direct or indirect release
o Ex. Build-up of energy from sexual drives might be discharged directly through sexual activity or
indirectly through sexual fantasies, farming, or painting
Mental events may be:
o Conscious
Presently aware of
o Preconscious
Unaware of at the moment but that can be called into conscious awareness
Ex. 16th birthday mentioning it brings it to conscious mind
o Unconscious
Freud believed that it was bigger in size and importance
Wishes, feelings, & impulses that lie beyond awareness
Impulses discharged in some way dreams, slips of tongue, disguised behaviours
The Structure of Personality
Freud divided personality into three separate structures
o Id
Exists totally within unconscious mind
Innermost core of personality
Only structure present at birth
Source of all psychic energy
Functions in an irrational manner
Operates according to Pleasure Principle
Seeks immediate gratification or release regardless of rational considerations

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No contact with outer world - cannot directly satisfy itself by obtaining what it needs from
environment leads to ego
o Ego
Functions primarily at conscious level
Operates according to Reality Principle
Tests reality to decide when and under what conditions the id can safely
discharge impulses and satisfy needs
Must achieve a compromise between demands of the id and moral constraints of
“Executive of the personality”
o Superego
Last to develop - developed by age 4-5
Moral arm of personality
Repository for values and ideals of society
Ideals are internalized by the child through identification with parents explicit training
as to what is right and wrong
Self-control takes over from the external controls of rewards & punishments
Strives to control instincts of the id particularly sexual and aggressive impulses
Tries to block gratification permanently impulses condemned
Moralistic goals take precedence over realistic ones, regardless of the potential cost to
the individual
Ex. Cause a person to experience intense guilt over sexual activity even within marriage
because it internalized idea: sex is “dirty”
Conflict, Anxiety, and Defence
Dynamics of personality - never-ending struggle between id & opposing forces
Observable behaviour represents compromises
o Ego confronts impulses that threaten to get out of control or is faced with dangers from the
o Serves as a danger signal
o Motivates ego to deal with problem
o Reduced by realistic coping
o Defense Mechanisms
Used when realistic coping is not effective
Deny or distort reality
Some permit release of impulses from id in disguised forms that will not conflict with
limits imposed
Operate unconsciously unaware that they are using self-deception to ward of anxiety
Excessive reliance on defence mechanism primary cuase of maladaptive or
dysfunctional behaviour
o Primary means by which ego keeps the lid on the id
o Ego uses some of its energy to prevent anxiety-arousing memories, feelings and impulses from
entering consciousness
o Repressed thoughts & wishes
Remain in unconscious
Strive for release
Expressed indirectly
Can be channelled into socially desirable behaviours through defence mechanism of
Completely masking the forbidden underlying impulses
Ex. hostile impulses used in tracking down criminals or being a successful trial
Major Defence Mechanisms

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Active defensive process through which anxiety-arousing impulses or
memories are pushed into unconscious mind
Person who was sexually abused in childhood develops
amnesia for the event
Person refuses to acknowledge anxiety-arousing aspects of the
environment. Denial may involve either the emotions connected with
the event or the event itself
Man who is told he has terminal cancer refuses to consider
possibility that he will not recover
An unacceptable or dangerous impulse is repressed, and then
directed at a safer substitute target
Man who is harassed by boss experiences no anger at work,
but abuses his wife and children
Emotion connected with an upsetting event is repressed Situation is
dealt with as intellectually interesting event
Person who has been rejected in an important relationship
talks in a highly rational manner about “unpredictability of
love relationships.”
Unacceptable impulse is repressed, and then attributed to (projected
onto) other people.
Woman with strong repressed desires to have an affair
accuses her husband of being unfaithful to her
Person constructs a false but plausible explanation or excuse for an
anxiety-arousing behaviour or event that has already occurred
Student caught cheating on an exam justifies act by pointing
out that professor's tests are unfair & everybody was
Anxiety-arousing impulse is repressed, & its psychic energy finds
release in an exaggerated expression of the opposite behaviour
Mother who harbours feelings of hatred for her child
represses them & becomes overprotective of child
Repressed impulse is released in a socially acceptable or even
admired behaviour
Man with strong hostile impulses becomes an investigative
reporter who ruins political careers
Psychosexual Development
Freud believed personality is powerfully moulded by experiences in the first years of life
Children pass through series of psychosexual stages during which id's tendencies are focused on
specific pleasure-sensitive areas of body called erogenous zones
Potential deprivations or overindulgences - results in fixation
o State of arrested psychosexual development in which instincts are focused on a particular
psychic theme
Theory of psychosexual development - most controversial
Research on Psychoanalytic Theory
Believed careful observations of everyday behaviour & clinical phenomena best source of evidence
Opposed experimental research - complex phenomena he had identified could not be studied under
controlled conditions
Research continues to address aspects of psychodynamic theory
Many concepts are ambiguous and difficult to operationally define and measure
Cognitive Psychologists
o Developed methods to identify & measure nonconscious
o Growing body of research - shown a lot of moment-to-moment mental and emotional life does
occur outside our awareness
Cognitive Neuroscience
o Provided methods for tapping into mental processes as they occur by measuring brain activity
Evaluating Psychoanalytic Theory
Criticized on scientific grounds
o Many of its specific propositions have not held up under the scrutiny of research
o Hard to test - often explains too much to allow clear-cut behavioural predictions
o Ex.
Predict that participants in experimental condition will behave aggressively but behave
instead in a loving manner
Is the theory wrong, or is the aggression being masked by the defence mechanism:
reaction formation (produces exaggerated behaviours that are opposite of impulse)
Research shows that nonconscious mental and emotional phenomena do indeed occur and can
powerfully affect our behaviour
Freud's Legacy: Neoanalytic & Object Relations Approaches
Generated disagreement within his own circle of analysts
o Alfred Adler, Karen Horney, Erik Erickson, & Carl Jung
o Believed Freud
Did not give social & cultural factors sufficiently important role in development and
dynamics of personality
Believed that he stressed infantile sexuality too much
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