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Myers EXPLORING

PSYCHOLOGY
Module 33
The
Psychoanalytic
Perspective
What is Personality?
Personality: An individuals characteristic pattern of
thinking, feeling, and acting.
Four basic perspectives
Psychoanalytic: Childhood sexuality and
unconscious motivations influence personality.
Humanistic: Focuses on our inner capacities
for growth and self-fulfillment.
Trait: Identifies personality dimensions that
account for our consistent behavior patterns.
Social-cognitive: Emphasizes how we shape
and are shaped by our environment.
The Psychoanalytic Perspective
Exploring the Unconscious
Psychoanalysis: Freuds
theory of personality that
attributes our thoughts and
actions to unconscious
motives and conflicts
Psychoanalysis: Technique of
treating psychological
disorders by seeking to
expose and interpret
unconscious tensions.
The Psychoanalytic Perspective
Exploring the Unconscious
Motivation
Ultimately, the driving force behind all we do
comes from two different instincts:

Libido: Life or sexual instinct
Thanatos: Death or aggressive instinct
Exploring the Unconscious
Basic Beliefs of Psychoanalysis
The Psychoanalytic Perspective
Exploring the Unconscious
Personality Structure
Id: Provides the push for behavior by seeking to
satisfy basic biological needs.
Operates on the pleasure principle.
Ego: Mediates between the demands of the id,
the superego and reality.
Operates on the reality principle
Seeks to meet the demands of the id in
realistic ways
Superego: Internalized ideals.
Creates conscience
The Psychoanalytic Perspective
Exploring the Unconscious
Free Association: Method whereby patients
merely say the things which come readily to
mind, thus, hopefully, revealing and releasing
painful unconscious memories.
Freudian slips
Transferences
Dreams: Manifest vs. Latent Content
Hypnosis
The Psychoanalytic Perspective
Exploring the Unconscious
Personality Development
Personality forms in the first few years of life
Problems with personality arise from
unresolved conflicts from early childhood.
Children pass through a series of psychosexual
stages during which the ids pleasure seeking
energies focus on distinct pleasure sensitive
areas of the body called erogenous zones.
The Psychoanalytic Perspective
Exploring the Unconscious
Personality Development
Psychosexual Stages
The Psychoanalytic Perspective
Exploring the Unconscious
Defense Mechanisms
Because we are social, we can not act out our
sexual and aggressive impulses.
When ego fears losing the battle between id
and superego, anxiety results.
Anxiety is the price we pay for civilization
The ego uses Defense Mechanisms to reduce
anxiety by unconsciously distorting reality.
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The Psychoanalytic Perspective
Assessing the Unconscious
Significant influences on our personalities arise
from the unconscious, which contains residues
from early childhood experiences.
Even though we can see hints of the
unconscious mind at times, we need a tool.
The tool of choice for assessing
unconsciousness would be a psychological x-
ray.
Projective tests provide such a view.
The Psychoanalytic Perspective
Assessing the Unconscious
Projective Tests
Thematic Apperception Test
As seen in the
assessment of
achievement motivation.
Draw a person
Complete sentences (My
mother)
Rorschach inkblot test
The Psychoanalytic Perspective
Assessing the Unconscious
Projective Tests
Are projective tests good? Are they reliable and
valid? Not really!
Different raters would score a Rorschach
differently if they had different training.
They are not predictive of future behaviors.
However, as a suggestive lead that
supplements other information, it might have
its uses.
The Psychoanalytic Perspective
Review of Basic Ideas
Libido and Thanatos drive our behavior
Personality structures of id, ego, and superego
Unconscious very important in our personality
Personality shaped in childhood
Dynamics of anxiety and defense mechanism
The Psychoanalytic Perspective
Evaluating the Psychoanalytic Perspective
Freuds Early Descendants and Dissenters
Alfred Adler and Karen Horney
Both agreed that childhood tensions shape
personality, but believed they were social
tensions, not sexual tensions.
Adler felt that much of behavior is driven by
efforts to conquer childhood feelings of
inferiority that trigger our quest for power
(inferiority complex).
Horney believed that childhood anxiety caused
by feelings of helplessness, triggers our desire
for love and security.
The Psychoanalytic Perspective
Evaluating the Psychoanalytic Perspective
Freuds Early Descendants and Dissenters
Carl Jung
Downplayed the role of sex as a primary
motivator of behavior.
The unconscious contains more than our
repressed thoughts, he believed we
also have a collective
unconscious, a common
reservoir of images derived
from our species universal
experiences.
The Psychoanalytic Perspective
Evaluating the Psychoanalytic Perspective
Freuds Ideas in the Light of Modern Research
Personality fixed in childhood
Childhood trauma
Parents as primary source of personality
Dreams as wish fulfillment
Sexual repression as cause of mental illness
The Psychoanalytic Perspective
Evaluating the Psychoanalytic Perspective
Freuds Ideas in the Light of Modern Research
Is Repression a Myth?
Entire theory rests on the assumption that the
human mind represses painful experiences
88% of university students believe that painful
experiences get pushed out of consciousness
However, if it ever occurs, it is very rare
The Psychoanalytic Perspective
Evaluating the Psychoanalytic Perspective
Freuds Ideas as Scientific Theory
Offers after-the-fact
explanations, cannot predict
Freud did not come up with
his ideas
Freud may have caused his
patients to say what he
wanted them to say
(remember recovered
memories!)
Theories derived from few objective observations
Case studies
Hypotheses are untestable