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Chapter 4

Chapter 4 - Reading Notes

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York University
PSYC 2130
Frank Marchese

Study Notes: Chapter #4 – Freud’s Psychoanalytic Theories Four Characteristics of Freud’s Theories  Freud’s theories all share some common characteristics and assumptions, including that: o 1) there is a dynamic flow of psychic energy among “Structures” of personality o 2) human behavior is determined by innate drives o 3) personality is organized in several layers of “Structure” and functions o 4) all people progress through a fixed developmental sequence of psychosexual stages Dynamic:  Dynamic -> refers to the exchange and transformation of energy within the personality  Like most later psychoanalysts, Freud believed that the source of human motivation was psychic energy aka libidinal energy  Freud theorized that people have a fixed amount of psychic energy that is used for all psychological functions  His psychic energy system is a closed system = energy cannot be added to the system, no existing energy can escape or be depleted o each person has a fixed quantity of psychic energy that is invested in (Devoted to) various behaviors (e.g., one’s artistic performance ), people (e.g., a parent), and ideas (e.g., philosophic or religious principles)  cathexis -> an investment of psychic energy  psychic energy cannot actually be invested in (attached to) people or activities, but in the mind psychic energy can be cathected to mental representation in the form of thoughts, images, and fantasies  the strength of a cathexis is the amount of energy invested in it  the greater the amount of energy devoted to one cathexis, the less psychic energy available for other cathexes and mental activities  a young man who is constantly thinking of a woman friend has difficulty doing other things (e.g. a reading assignment)  cathexes are not permanent  when we turn our attention to another activity or person the energy transfers to the new focus  concept of psychic energy has never been quantified, so the question of whether or not anyone has more psychic energy than others cannot be answered o what is important is that each person has a fixed amount of psychic energy that places limits on actions, thoughts, and feelings  reduction of psychic tension (internal pressure to satisfy drives) us necessary for a person to function  because tension is unpleasant or painful, reducing tension produces a highly pleasurable experience  pleasure principle -> tendency to reduce tension immediately  if individual’s psychic energy has no opportunity to discharge in normal or socially acceptable ways, pressure will increase  Freud used analogy to explain nature of psychic energy: the pressure of psychic energy builds in the same way water pressure builds in a hydraulic system o e.g., pressure in water-filled pipes where external valve is closed. If pressure increases and there is no outlet for the water, the pipe will burst at its weakest point to reduce the pressure Deterministic:  according to Freud, all behavior is determined or caused by some force within the person  all behavior has meaning, no behavior occurs by chance  even the simplest actions can be traced to complicated psychological factors of which the person may be totally unaware  perhaps the best-known occurrences are “Freudian slips” – errors made in speech, writing, and reading that presumably reveal something about the person’s “inner” thoughts or “real” intents  Freud analyzed and interpreted incidents like these to understand facets of personality that would not otherwise be accessible Organizational/Structural:  Freud divided personality into three separate structures: o 1) id -> primitive, pleasure-seeking impulses o 2) ego -> rational self o 3) superego -> internalized values of society  For Freud, natural biological instincts (id) such as the need for food elimination and sexual gratification are inevitably in conflict with the restraints of realty (ego) and the rules of society (superego)  These conflicts determine an individual’s specific actions Developmental:  Importance of early childhood development in determining adult personality is a cornerstone of Freud’s theory  Freud believed that adult personality is established by approx... 5 years of age  All psychoanalysts agree that early childhood experiences are important  Freud theorized that personality development follows a more or less set course from birth  He divided development into a series of discrete stages through which every human being passes  Most post-Freudians agree with Freud that personality development follows a course of discrete stages o Have however suggested various sets of stages that differ as to when they occur and what transpires in them Freud’s Levels of Consciousness:  Freud divided the mind into three levels of awareness o 1) conscious -> includes what we are aware f at a given point in time  This definition is close to the everyday use of the term  Freud contended that only a small;; fraction of a person’s thoughts, images, and memories is conscious  The Freudian mind, like an iceberg, is nine-tenths below the surface o 2) preconscious -> includes thoughts of which we are not immediately aware (conscious) but that can easily be brought to awareness  You may have had the experience of concentrating on a topic, as in an intense conversation and suddenly finding yourself thinking about a completely unrelated topic  These unrelated thoughts were present but had been in your preconscious  By definition, the content of the preconscious is accessible with minimal effort  By contrast, a great deal of mental content is not readily accessible o 3) unconscious -> mental content that is not available for conscious recall is stored here – in the dominant part of the mind  Freud thinks most behavior is motivated by forces of which the person is totally unaware  Impulses, memories, and feelings that might be harmful or threatening to us are actively kept out of conscious awareness through a process called repression  Repression -> an ego defense mechanism  These unconscious thoughts enter consciousness only in disguised or symbolic form  Freud held that these parts of the mind are universal; all people possess a vast unconscious realm within  He thinks it’s an important part of the mind for everyone, not just for those who are sick or neurotic  Psychoanalysis aka depth psychology because a primary aim is to plumb the depths of the mind to unearth material previously “hidden away” in the unconscious  Jung proposed variations to Freud’s levels of consciousness Jung’s Divisions of Consciousness:  Jung also divided personality into three levels of consciousness: o 1) conscious ego -> perceptions, thoughts, feelings, and memories of which a person is aware – essentially equivalent to Freud’s conscious o 2) Personal unconscious -> contains some mental images that we are not immediately aware of but that can readily become part of the conscious ego, and other mental images that are being repressed.  We’re unaware of some unconscious material because we are attending to other matters aka images in personal unconscious are actively repressed because they are threatening to the conscious ego  Has features similar to Freud’s preconscious and unconscious  However, Jung’s ideas about personal unconscious diverge from Freud’s in 3 important ways:  1) Jung rejected idea that unconscious is “monstrous”  2) Jung believed that the personal unconscious not only stores past experiences but also anticipates the future  3) Jung argued that the personal unconscious serves and adaptive function by balancing out conscious attitudes that lean too heavily in one direction  Adjustment is accomplished by allowing the appropriate opposite tendency to occur in dreams and fantasies o 3) collective unconscious -> personality, for Jung, is more than just a product of personal experiences common to all humans throughout the evolution of species – the dominant aspect of personality  Concept has no direct parallel in Freud’s theory and is Jung’s most original and controversial idea **  Collective conscious contains archetypes (meaning predispositions) to think and act in particular ways  Archetypes are inherited, general tendencies to form representations of mythological themes  Specific content of each theme (Archetype) varies considerably according to time and place but always retains its fundamental pattern  How a person’s thoughts and actions are influenced by any given archetype depends on where and when the person lives  Ex. Hero archetype could assume form of medieval knight, a Chinese warlord, an explorer, a basketball player, a civil rights leader, etc.  Hero archetype can be considered flexible mold underlying the idea of a hero; idea requires culture to fill it with myth  Jung spent much of his career discovering the archetypal images that frequently a[pear in myths from diverse cultures, in dreams and fantasies (including his own), and in art  Mother is another archetype – can be elicited by any mothering figure or virgin Mary  Has dual nature: positive or good, and negative or evil – evil mother often appears in fairy tales as the wicked witch  Shadow archetype represents dark side of peoples’ personalities  Animus is archetype of masculine aspects of women  Anima -> archetype of feminine aspects of men o Jung and Freud both believed in the bisexuality of human personality o Animus produces opinions (solid conviction) in women o Anima produces moods (often expressed in sudden changes) of men Structures of Personality  Initially Freud organized personality in terms of levels of consciousness o Emphasized role of unconscious  Later he described id, ego, superego o Proposed that ego and superego function at all three levels of awareness but mainly the unconscious level  The id, ego, and superego are theoretical constructs  They do not physically exist within the brain  They represent the desiring and pleasure seeking (id) realistic and rational (eg0 and moral and ideal (superego) aspects of human behavior Id:  Freud viewed newborn as more akin to demon than angel  At birth, personality consists of a single structure, the id  The term comes from the German das es, meaning the it  Id is a reservoir for all drives and derives power directly from bodily needs and processes  As bodily needs such as hunger and thirst build up, they must be satisfied  Resulting increase in tension must be discharged  When id governs this discharge, gratification is immediate  Id cannot tolerate delay in gratification  Id is regulated by what Freud called the pleasure principle, which demand immediate tension reduction – meaning instant pleasure and no pain  Id uses 2 basic techniques to reduce tension: reflex action and primary process o Reflex action -> at most primitive level, id works by this o it reacts automatically and immediately to internal and external irritants to the body o tension or distress from the irritants is thus quickly removed o reflex action includes inborn mechanisms such as sneezing, blinking, and coughing  because Id cannot tolerate any delay of gratification or any tension, we would expect very young children to cry the instant an appetite or need arises  this seems to be just what happens  if object need not immediately available, id forms a mental image of it  primary process -> imagery production aimed at gratification o when infant is hungry, for example, primary process can instantly supply an image of food o this experience is called wish fulfillment because the desire is temporarily fulfilled o adult experiences (e.g., sexual encounter with movie star) is remnant of wish fulfillment  primary process is a crude mechanism o no distinction made between what is actually required and a mere mental image of what is required o thus food and mental image of food are equivalent o id is satisfied with image but image obviously does not actually reduce tension o one cannot survive long on mental pictures of food o if infant’s real needs were met immediately, as they were before birth, primary process would be satisfactory o inevitably, life after birth, gratification must be delayed – no mother can be constantly available to tend her baby o infant’s capacities to tolerate delay of gratification develop as they become aware of a separate external world o children grow aware of something that is not me, that must be taken into account and considered apart from, but interrelated with themselves o this occurs with the development of the second aspect of personality, the ego Ego:  ego emerges, during first 6 months of life while infant is in oral stage of psychosexual development  Freud called this structure of personality ‘das ich’, literally the I  ego borrows some of id’s psychic energy for its own functions  because there is limited amount of psychic energy, transfer of energy means less for the id  one consequence of this is being more willing to wait for gratification  in contrast to id’s pleasure principal, ego is governed by reality principle -> postpones discharge of energy until an appropriate situation or object in the real world appears  pleasure principal is oriented inward and reality principle I s oriented outward toward the constraints of the real world  ego does not challenge the id’s pleasure-seeking motivation, it temporarily suspends pleasure for the sake of realistic constraints  ego is representative of the external world  id is primary process identifies object or situation necessary to satisfy a particular need (e.g., image of food)  ego’s secondary process creates a strategy for obtaining the actual object or situations (e.g., going to the cookie)  ego then is characterized by realistic thinking and problem solving  it is the seat of intellectual processes  daydreaming is an example of a secondary process and illustrates the reality-bound nature of the ego  people enjoy the pleasurable fantasy of a daydream but they do not mistake the fantasy for reality as they do with a nocturnal dreams (which is a primary process)  humans function as individuals and as members of society  to do so they must learn to deal with direct constraints of physical reality and to follow social norms and prohibitions o must also conform to society’s laws, even in absence of external monitors or immediate threats of apprehension, punishment, or failure o around age of 3 or 4, children begin to evaluate their own behavior independently of immediate threat or reward o this is the function of the third structure of personality, the superego Superego:  superego aka ‘das uberich’ (the over-I)  superego is an internal rep. of values of parents and societies  it strives for ideal rather than real  it judges an act as right or wrong – as consistent or inconsistent with moral values – independent of its usefulness  when our actions are acceptable, we experience pride, satisfaction and worthiness,  when our behavior is unacceptable we experience guilt  superego functions can be divided into two spheres: conscience and ego ideal  conscience fosters morally right behavior in 2 ways: o 1) by inhibiting id impulses for pleasure o 2) by persuading the ego to attend to moral concerns  Ego ideal promotes idealistic and perfectionistic goals  Superego develops through process of incorporation: taking in the values of parents in a manner analogous to the way we take in food o Begins around age 4 o Through process called defensive identification Freud believed the child absorbs and internalizes the moral values of the same-sex parent o Children also come to value both parents because of the love, warmth, and comfort they provide o By association, children also come to value their parents’ moral standards and ideals Interaction among the Id, Ego, and Superego:  At birth, only id exists  Later, in response to demands of reality, ego develops  Finally, superego emerges as societal representative in personality  When all three aspects have developed, the psychic energy that once belonged solely to the id is divide among the id, ego, and supergo and flows and fluctuates among them  Ego serves as mediator among three basic forces o 1) demands of id o 2) requirements of reality o 3) limitations imposed by superego  Ego ensures instinctual needs are met in a realistic and socially approved manner  Intrapsychic conflict -> arises when aims of one aspect of personality are at odds with the aims of one or both of the other aspects o Most often erupts because of id demands in pressing for immediate satisfaction o Aims of all 3 aspects of personality can be in conflict  3 logical possibilities of resolving intrapsychic conflicts: o 1) eliminating the drive o 2) directly expressing the drive o 3) redirecting the drive o It’s assumed a drive can never be completely elimination, it can be banished from consciousness but not from the total personality o Direct expression rarely occurs; if an id drive were allowed total expression, ego would be overwhelmed with excitation and person would experience intense anxiety o Thus, most intrapsychic conflicts are handled by redirection of a drive, which entails a compromise between the personality structures involved  Ec. In an id-ego conflict over your desire to hit someone who has angered you, you may choose to say something nasty instead o Intrapsychic conflicts are part of normal personality functioning o Their resolution is a defensive process performed by the ego, which requires psychic energy o The more successfully the ego minimizes intrapsychic conflicts, the more energy remains for the ego’s higher mental functions, such as problem solving and creative pursuits Table 4.1 Possible Conflicts among the Aspects of Personality Conflict Example Id Vs. Ego choosing between a small immediate reward and a larger reward that requires some period of waiting (i.e. delay of gratification) Id Vs. Superego Deciding whether to return the difference when you are overpaid or undercharged Ego Vs. Superego Choosing between acting in a realistic way (e.g., telling a “white lie”) and adhering to a potentially costly or unrealistic standard (e.g., always telling the truth) Id and Ego Vs. Superego Deciding whether to retaliate against the attack of a weak opponent or to turn the other cheek Id and Superego Vs. Ego Deciding whether to act in a realistic way that conflicts with both your desires and your moral convictions (e.g., the decision faced by devout Roman Catholics regarding use of contraception) Ego and Superego Vs. Id Choosing whether to act on the impulse to steal something you want and cannot afford; the ego would presumably be increasingly involved in such a conflict as the probability of being apprehended increased. Anxiety and Defense  Freud suggested anxiety is a signal of impeding danger  Source of danger can be either external or internal  Freud thought anxiety is usually the result of something internal-an id impulse seeking expression  Freudian theory distinguishes 3 types of adult anxiety: o 1) neurotic anxiety -> results from an id-ego conflict – id seeks to discharge an impulse – ex. Fending off your impulse to respond angrily when a professor criticizes you in class o 2) moral anxiety -> generated by id-superego conflict – id impulse (e.g., to shoplift) is in opposition to the moral and ideal standards od society (“thou shalt not steal) – is experienced by individual by guilt or shame o 3) objective anxiety -> produced when a realistic, external threat is present, such as a fire or a street thug  in objective anxiety, danger is external  it can be dealt with by taking realistic steps to eliminate or reduce the actual threat  neurotic and moral anxiety are cue to an impending intrapsychic danger  they must be coped with by internal means – namely the defense mechanisms of the ego Ego Defense Mechanisms  ego defense mechanisms -> unconscious ego processes that keep disturbing and unconscious thoughts from being expressed directly  we are unaware of these processes as they operate in ourselves but we may be able to detect their operation in others  material being defended against can be an impulse, an object loss, or a failure experience  a fundamental assumption of the psychoanalytic view is that conscious awareness of all of our myriad conflicting motives, impulses, and feelings would overwhelm us  thus, defense mechanisms of ego protect the individual from being immobilized by unmanagable dread and anxiety  Freud viewed defense mechanisms as an absolute necessity for survival in human society  he believed that at the most basic level the interests and drives of the individual are in constant conflict with the needs of civilized society  so to avoid anarchy, needs of individual must be expressed only through restricted and socially approve outlets o consider what might happen at a party if everyone felt free to grab food, drinks and mates from one ano
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