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Chapter 14

Psych 101 Detailed Textbook Notes: Chapter 14

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Kathy Foxall

Psych Chapter 14 PSYCHODYNAMIC THEORIES OF PERSONALITY Personality: a distinctive and relatively stable pattern of behaviour, thoughts, motives, and emotions that characterizes an individual Trait: a characteristic of an individual describing a habitual way of behaving, thinking, or feeling Psychoanalysis: a theory of personality and a method of psychotherapy developed by Sigmund Freud; it emphasizes unconscious motives and conflicts Psychodynamic theories: theories that explain behaviour and personality in terms of unconscious energy dynamics within the individual Freud and Psychoanalysis The Structure of Personality o Id  Defn: the part of personality containing inherited psychic energy, particularly sexual and aggressive instincts  Present at birth  Reservoir of unconscious psychological energies and the motives to avoid pain and obtain pleasure  Contains two competing instincts:  Life or sexual instinct (fuelled by the libido)  Death or aggressive instinct  As energy builds in the id, tension results o Ego  Defn: the part of personality that represents reason, good sense, and rational self-control  Referee between the needs of instinct and the demands of society  Both conscious and unconscious o Superego  Defn: the part of personality that represents conscience, morality, and social standards  Represents morality and parental authority  Judges the activities of the id – praise and guilt where deserved  Partly conscious but largely unconscious  If a person feels anxious or threatened when the wishes of the id conflict with social rules, the ego has defence mechanisms o Defn: methods used by the ego to prevent unconscious anxiety or threatening thoughts from entering consciousness  Five primary defence mechanisms: 1. Repression  When a threatening idea, memory, or emotion is blocked from consciousness  A frightening childhood experience she cannot remember 2. Projection  When a person’s own unacceptable or threatening feelings are repressed and then attributed to someone else  Embarrassed about being a night rider – “those people are dirty-minded” 3. Displacement  When people direct their emotions (especially anger) toward things, animals, or other people that are not the real object of their feelings  A boy unable to express anger toward his father may take it out on his toys  Sublimation – when it serves a higher cultural or socially useful purpose 4. Regression  When a person reverts to a previous phase of psychological development  8 year old boy anxious about divorce may regress to thumb sucking  Adults may regress to immature behaviour when they don’t get their way 5. Denial  When people refuse to admit that something unpleasant is happening, that they have a problem, or that they are feeling a forbidden emotion  Protects a person’s self-image and preserves the illusion of invulnerability  It can’t happen to me The Development of Personality  Develops in a series of psychosexual stages o Defn: the idea that sexual energy takes different forms as the child matures; the stages are oral, anal, phallic (Oedipal), latency, and genital o Each new stage produces a certain amount of frustration, conflict, and anxiety o If these are not resolved, a child may remain fixated at the current stage  Oral stage o Occurs during the first year of life o Babies experience the world through their mouths o Adults fixated in this stage will seek oral gratification  Smoking, nail biting, overeating  Anal stage o Ages 2-3 o Toilet training and control of bodily wastes o Adults fixated in this stage might become anal retentive  Obsessive about neatness and cleanliness o Or anal expulsive  Messy and disorganized  Phallic (Oedipal) stage o Ages 3-6 o Most crucial stage for the formation of personality o The child unconsciously wishes to possess the parent of the other sex and to get rid of the parent of the same sex o Labelled the Oedipus complex after King Oedipus who killed his father and married his mother o Boys and girls go through this stage differently  Boys:  Discovering the pleasure and pride of having a penis  When they see a naked girl for the first time they are horrified  Believes her penis has been cut off by her powerful father  Causes the boy to repress his desire for his mother and identify with his father – superego has emerged  Girls:  Would panic that she only had a clit instead of a penis  Concludes that she had already lost her penis  Girls do not have the powerful motivating fear to give up their Oedipal feelings  Have a lingering sense of “penis envy”  When the Oedipus complex is resolved, the child’s personality is fundamentally formed  Child settles into the latency stage, and then the genital stage which begins at puberty  Freud welcomed women into the profession of psychoanalysis – and liked gays Other Psychodynamic Approaches Jungian Theory  One of Freud’s closest friends until it ended with a fight about the nature of the unconscious  All human beings share a vast collective unconscious containing universal memories, symbols, images, and themes, which he called archetypes o Defn: universal symbolic images that appear in myths, art, stories, and dreams; to Jungians, they reflect the collective unconscious  The shadow archetype reflects the prehistoric fear of wild animals and represents the bestial, evil side of human nature  People are motivated by their future goals and their desire to fulfill themselves  Among the first to identify extroversion/introversion as a dimension of personality  Psychotic breakdown after his split with Freud – supported the Nazis The Object-Relations School  Defn: psychodynamic approach that emphasizes the importance of the infant’s first two years of life and the baby’s formative relationships, especially with the mother  Central problem is to find a balance between the need for independence and the need for others  The way we react to separations is determined by our experiences in the first year or two of life  The child creates a mental representation of the mother – kind or fierce, protective or rejecting  Children of both sexes identify first with the mother  Girls are treated as an extension of the mother  Boys need to break away to develop a masculine identity – mother encourages this Evaluating Psychodynamic Theories  Psychodynamic theories are guilty of three scientific failings: 1. Violating the principle of falsifiability  A theory that is impossible to disconfirm in principle is not scientific  Followers accept an idea because it seems right or they can relate  Anyone else is accused of being defensive or in denial 2. Drawing universal principles from the experiences of a few atypical patients  Freud often generalized from a few people, often in therapy, to all humans  Fails to confirm observations by studying larger samples - different ages  A child who masturbates is normal, and doesn’t mean they’ve been sexually molested 3. Basing theories of personality development on the retrospective accounts of adults  Failed to observe samples of children at different ages  Instead they created theories based on adult recollections of childhood  Memory is often inaccurate, influenced by past and present  Not getting along with mother – will think of all the times she was mean  Creates an illusion of causality  If A came before B, then A caused B  Ex. mother spent time in the hospital when child is at a young age, and today you feel shy and insecure in college, object-relations analyst might draw a connection when it could be many other reasons like being away from home  Following people from childhood to adulthood often get a different picture of causality from the one that emerges by looking backward THE MODERN STUDY OF PERSONALITY  Early Greek philosophers thought our personalities fell into four fundamental categories depending on mixes of bodily fluids o If you were an angry, irritable person – excess of choler o If you were a sluggish, unemotional person – excess of phlegm Popular Personality Tests  Myers-Briggs Type Indicator o Popular in business, motivational seminars, and matchmaking services o 2.5 million Americans a year take it o Assigns one of sixteen types  How the person scores on the dimensions of introverted or extroverted  And logical or intuitive o Not very reliable o Useless info to predict which types are apt to steal, take drugs, or be disloyal  Objective tests (inventories) o Defn: standardized questionnaires requiring written responses; typically include scales on which people are asked to rate themselves o Provide information about hundreds of different aspects of personality  Ex. needs, values, interests, self-esteem, emotional problems, etc. Core Personality Traits  Not all traits have equal weight and significance in people’s lives  We have 5-10 central traits that reflect a characteristic way of behaving, dealing with others, and reacting to new situations o Some people see the world as hostile, others see it as fun  There are also secondary traits which are more changeable aspects of personality o Music preferences, habits, casual opinions  Factor analysis o Defn: statistical method for analyzing the intercorrelations among various measures or test scores; clusters of measures or scores that are highly correlated
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