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Chapter 14

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Western University
Psychology 1000
Derek Quinlan

CHAPTER 14: PERSONALITY WHAT IS PERSONALITY? Personality: the distinctive and relatively enduring ways of thinking, feeling, and acting that characterize a persons responses to life situations Thoughts, feelings, and actions that reflect ones personality often have 3 characteristics: o 1) Seen as components of identity that distinguish that person from others o 2) Behaviours viewed as being caused primarily by internal factors o 3) Behaviours seem to fit together suggesting inner personality that guides/directs behaviour THE PSYCHODYNAMIC PERSPECTIVE Look for the causes of behaviour in a dynamic interplay of inner forces that often conflict with one another Also focus on unconscious determinants of behaviour Freuds 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 unconscious 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 conscious, preconscious, or unconscious o Conscious mind events we are presently aware of 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 awareness 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 parents 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 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 ids pleasure- seeking tendencies are focused on specific erogenous zones (ex: mouth, anus, genitals) Deprivations or overindulgences can arise during any stage, resulting in a fixation (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 Major shortcoming 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 Freuds Legacy: Neo-Analytic & Object Relations Approaches Neo-Analysts: psychoanalysts who disagreed with certain aspects of Freuds thinking and developed their own theories o Adler, Horney, Erickson, Jung o Believed that Freud did not give social and cultural factors a sufficiently important role in the development and dynamics of personality o Believed he stressed infantile sexuality too much o Believed Freud laid too much emphasis on the events of childhood as determinants of adult personality o Adler insisted humans are motivated by social interest care about others, cooperate with them, place general social welfare above selfish personal interests General motive of striving for superiority Jung Analytic Psychology: expanded Freuds notion of the unconscious in unique directions o Believed humans possess a personal unconscious, as well as a collective unconscious, that consists of memories accumulated throughout the entire history of the human race o These memories represented by archetypesinherited tendencies to interpret experience in certain ways Object Relations theorists focus on the mental representations that people form of themselves and other people as a result of early experience with caregivers o Internal representations of important adults become working models through which later social interactions are viewed o People who have difficulties forming and maintaining intimate relationships tend to mentally represent themselves and others in negative ways Bowlby Attachment Theory o Research relates early attachment experiences to later adult relationships Today, large proportion of psychodynamic theorists rely more heavily on Object Relations concepts than on classical Psychoanalytic Theory o Concepts are easier to define and measure THE HUMANISTIC PERSPECTIVE Embrace a positive view that affirms the inherent dignity and goodness of the human spirit Central role of conscious experience Self-Actualization: total realization of ones human potential
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