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Chapter 12

Chapter 12 Text Notes.docx


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYCH 2550A/B
Professor
Kelly Olson
Chapter
12

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CHAPTER 12
Part V: The Phenomenological-Humanistic Level
- Work at this level began as a protest movement by psychologist who cared about personality, particularly by clinical psychologists working with disturbed and distressed
people after WWII
o This was against psychoanalytic work of Freud and his followers that dominated clinical psychology and psychiatry at the time
Critique: Freudian approach was too focused on pathology and disordered aspects of personality, and too inattentive to its potential strengths
Increasing doubts about therapeutic efficacy and practical usefulness of psychoanalysis, and scientific validity
o Also against behaviourism and ‘rat psychology’, which dominated most academic psychology departments in US
- George Kelly what is most important about personality is what has been left out how the person views or ‘contrues’ the world in different ways
o These contrues guide the way people think, feel, do, and become
o People are free to change the way they construe and appraise themselves and the world
- Carl Rogers developed a theory that focused on the individual’s potential for personal growth and genuineness and on the nature of the self
Some questions at the phenomenological-humanistic level you might ask about yourself:
- What am I really feeling? How do I see myself? How do I see my parents?
- What do I feel about myself when I don’t meet my parents’ expectations?
- How is my real self different from the self I would ideally like to be?
- What is my ideal self?
- Am I happy? Fulfilled? Where am I going? What is my identity? Who do I want to become?
Sources of Phenomenological-Humanistic Perspectives
- Examine the nature of subjective experience and see how people perceive their world
Defining Humanistic Psychology, Phenomenology, Existentialism
- Raw materials of theories that deal with the person’s subjective internal experiences, personal concepts, and the self
o Many are influenced by phenomenology and existentialism
- Humanistic psychology: movement within personality psychology that grew beginning in the 1950s in the US mostly as a protest movement to the then dominant forces
within the field
-
Journal of humanistic psychology
by Maslow and Rogers
o Promoted ‘holistic psychology’ that would study the individual as a whole person, focusing on subjective experience and the self, rather than on subprocesses
like learning or perceiving
- Phenomenology: study of consciousness and the appearances of things and events as the individual perceives and experiences them
- Existentialism: human beings are completely free and responsible for their own behaviours (personality psychology)
o Began with philosopher Kierkegaard and was expanded by Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, Heidegger, and others
o This responsibility is at the root of the deep dread and anxiety that characterizes human beings
o Humanistic psychology emphasizes on the idea that it gives the individual a greater degree of freedom and potential for self-change than had been recognized
in earlier personality theories
- Theories at this level are distinctive both in concepts they reject and in ones the emphasize
o Reject most of the dynamic and motivational concepts of the psychoanalytic level and most assumptions of the trait and behavioral levels
Persons are viewed as experiencing begins in the ‘here and now’ rather than victims of the unconscious psychodynamic conflicts
- Approaches in this chapter stress people’s positive strivings and their tendencies toward growth and self-actualization
IN FOCUS 12.1 Pioneers At Different Levels Of Analysis At Work And War In The Same Place
- Allport, Murray, and Skinner were competing with each other are various levels

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- Each played an important role in the history of phenomenological-humanistic level
- Allport and Murray - championed the internal or ‘experiential’ view
- Skinner - leader of the behaviorism against which the phenomenological-humanistic protest was aimed
o Insisted that phenomena like human consciousness and internal experiences are outside the turf of scientific psychology
- Murray - Disagreed with Skinner’s beliefs
o Developing the TAT for the study of human motives, imagination, and fantasy, and launched his intensive study of lives and experiences
- Allport - Further developing:
o His versions of trait theory and his focus on the uniqueness of each individual
o The routes for assessing not just the person’s external acts but also the inner motives and values and self that underlie them
- All of their findings have contributed to our current understandings of personality at different levels
Allport’s Functional Autonomy
- Gordon Allport (1937): most influential, to emphasize the uniqueness of the individual and of the integrated pattern that distinguish each person
- Noted the lack of motivational continuity during the individual’s life probably influenced by his traumatic meeting with Freud in Vienna
- Behaviour is motivated originally by instincts, but later it may sustain itself indefinitely without providing any biological gratifications
- Functional autonomy: a habit, say practicing the violin at a certain hour each day, need not be tied to any earlier motive of infancy
- The extent to which an individual’s motives are autonomous is a measure of maturity
- Contemporaneity of motives: motives are to be understood in terms of their role in the present regardless of their origins in the past
o Past is not important unless it is shown to be active in the present
o A persons history doesn’t explain his/her motive today
- Later motives do not necessarily depend on earlier ones
- Allport focused on the individual’s currently perceived experiences, his or her phenomenological self and unique pattern if adaptation
- Favored holistic view of the individual as an integrated, biosocial organism, rather than a bundle of traits and motives
TABLE 12.1 Some Distinguishing Features of Individuality According to Allport (1961)
1. Motives become independent of their roots (functional autonomy)
2. A
proprium
or self develops, characterized by:
Bodily sense
Self-esteem
Self-identity
Rational thought
Self-image
3. A unique, integrated pattern of adaptation marks the person as a whole
Lewin’s Life Space
- These theories were developed in the context of social psych
- Saw behaviour as determined by the person’s psychological life space by the events that exist in the total psychological situation at the moment rather than by past
events or enduring, situation-free dispositions
- Kurt Lewin field theory: the way in which an object is perceived depends on the total context or configuration of its surroundings
- What is perceived depends on the relationships among components of a perceptual field
- Life space: totality of facts that determine the behaviour (B) of an individual at a certain moment.
o Includes the person (P) and the psychological environment (E)
o Behaviour is a function of the person and the environment:
B = f (P,E)

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- Ordinary cause: something past is the cause of present events
- Teleological theories assume that future events influence present events
- LEWINS THESIS: neither past nor future, by definition, exists at the present moment and therefore neither have an effect on the present
- Principle of contemporaneity: according to Lewin, the psychological life space that takes into account on only what is happening and experiences at a given point in time
momentary or current
- Permeable boundaries: boundaries between the person and the psychological environment and between the life space and the physical world they can be easily crossed
- Psychologist might concentrate on describing and explaining a concrete psychological situation in terms of field theory rather than trying to predict the future
- Lewin rejected the notion of constant, entity-like personality characteristics (e.g. Unchanging traits)
- Habits are not frozen associations, but rather the result of forces in the organism and its life space
- A need in Lewin’s theory corresponds to a tension system
- Interested in rewards and punishment
o Rewards devices for controlling behaviour in momentary situations by causing changes in the psychological environment and in the tension system of the
person
- Behaviour and development are functions of the same structural and dynamic factor
o Both are a function of the person and the psychological environment
- In general, with increasing maturity there is a greater differentiation of the person and psychological environment
Phenomenology And Existentialism : The Here And Now
- Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow - personality psychologists who forcefully advanced the phenomenological-humanistic level of analysis
- Carl Rogers view of personality in which private experiences, subjective perceptions, and the self all have an important part
- Maslow emphasis on human growth motivation moves the individuals through hierarchically ordered degrees of human to ultimate self-actualization
- Behaviour is goal directed, striving, purposeful, and motivated by higher needs to realize or self-actualize one’s human potential rather than by primary biological drives
alone
- Rollo May, an American proponent of existential psychology
o Existentialist’s focus on phenomenological experience, on the ‘here and now’ rather than on distant historical causes in the person’s early childhood
o Existential orientation sees the human being as capable of choice and responsibility in the moment rather than as the victim of unconscious forces or of habit
from the past
- Binswanger (a Swiss existential psychiatrist) commented that Freudian theory pictured human beings not yet as people in the full sense, but only as creatures buffeted
about by life
o For a person to be fully himself actualized he must ‘look fate in the eyes’
o Human life is determined by forces and conditions -> this is only one side of the truth
o Other side we along determine these forces as our fate
- Phenomenological and existential orientation humans are seen as beings whose actualization requires much more than the fulfillment of biological needs and of sexual
aggressive instincts
- Existentialist propose that we are inevitably the builders of our own lives and that each person is:
1. a choosing agent unable to avoid choices throughout the course of life
2. a free agent who freely sets life goals
3. a responsible agent accountable personally for his or her life choices
- Our existence in life is given, but our essence is what we make of it
- Existential quest find satisfying values, guide our lives accordingly, give life meaning
- Existential anxiety: an awareness of the nothingness and death that necessarily accompanies being and that must be resolved by enhanced attention to how we choose to
lead our lives ( in existential theories)
- The antidote for such anxiety is facing lives responsibly, meaningfully, and with courage and awareness
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