1. Psychoanalytic explanation of personality

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PERSONALITY THEORIES AND
ASSESSMENT
Dr. Richard H. Corrigan
PERSONALITY
A person’s internally based
characteristic ways of
acting and thinking
THE JOURNEY…
The Psychoanalytic Approach to Personality
The Humanistic Approach and the SocialCognitive Approach to Personality
Trait Theories of Personality and Personality
Assessment
THE PSYCHOANALYTIC APPROACH
TO PERSONALITY
Freudian Classical
Psychoanalytic Theory of
Personality
Neo-Freudian Theories
of Personality
FREUDIAN CLASSICAL
PSYCHOANALYTIC THEORY OF
PERSONALITY
FREUDIAN CLASSICAL PSYCHOANALYTIC THEORY OF PERSONALITY
Developed by Sigmund Freud in the late
nineteenth century and continued until his death
in 1939
 Freud received a medical degree and established a
practice as a clinical neurologist treating patients with
emotional disorders
 Believed sex was a primary cause of emotional
problems and was a critical component of his
personality theory
Remains an important influence in Western
culture
Write down anything you think you know about Freud
FREUD’S THREE LEVELS OF AWARENESS
1. The conscious mind is what you are presently aware of, what you
are thinking about right now
2. The preconscious mind is stored in your memory that you are not
presently aware of but can gain access to
3. The unconscious mind is the part of our mind of which we cannot
become aware
 It contains, however, the primary motivations for all of our actions
and feelings – our biological instinctual
drives (such as for food and sex)
and repressed unacceptable
thoughts, memories, and
feelings, especially
unresolved conflicts
from our early
childhood experiences
Which one do you think will be dominant? Why?
FREUD’S
THREE-PART PERSONALITY STRUCTURE
Id
Ego
Superego
THE ID
Is the original personality, the only part present at birth and
the part out of which the other two parts of our personality
emerge
 Resides in the unconscious mind
 Includes our biological instinctual drives, the primitive parts of
our personality located in our unconscious
 Life instincts for survival, reproduction, and pleasure
 Death instincts, destructive and aggressive drives detrimental to
survival
 Operates on a pleasure principle; that is, it demands
immediate gratification for these drives without the concern
for the consequences of this gratification
 Make a list of at least five urges the id would seek to gratify.
THE EGO
Starts developing during the first year or so of life to find
realistic and socially-acceptable outlets for the id’s needs
 Operates on the reality principle, finding gratification for
instinctual drives within the constraints of reality (the norms and
laws of society)
 Part of the ego is unconscious (tied to the id) and part of the ego
is conscious and preconscious (tied to the external world)
 Serves as the executive manager of the personality
 What practical concerns might the id have to navigate/account
for?
THE SUPEREGO
Represents one’s conscience and idealized standards of
behavior in their culture
 Operates on a morality principle, threatening to overwhelm us
with guilt and shame
 The demands of the superego and the id will come into conflict
and the ego will have to resolve this turmoil within the constraints
of reality
 To prevent being overcome with anxiety because of trying to
satisfy the id and superego demands, the ego uses what Freud
called defense mechanisms, processes that distort reality and
protect us from anxiety
Where might our ideas about what is morally permissible originate?
FREUD’S DEFENSE MECHANISMS –
LACK OF BALANCE BETWEEN PARTS
Repression
Regression
Displacement
Unknowingly placing an
Not remembering a
unpleasant memory or
traumatic incident in
thought in the unconscious which you witnessed a
crime
Reverting back to
Throwing temper tantrums
immature behavior from an as an adult when you
earlier stage of
don’t get your way
development
Redirecting unacceptable
Taking your anger toward
feelings from the original
your boss out on your
source to a safer substitute spouse or children by
target
yelling at them and not
your boss
FREUD’S DEFENSE MECHANISMS
Sublimation
Replacing socially
unacceptable impulses
with socially acceptable
behavior
Channeling aggressive
drives into playing football
or inappropriate sexual
desires into art
Reaction
Formation
Acting in exactly the
opposite way to one’s
unacceptable impulses
Being overprotective of
and lavishing attention on
an unwanted child
Projection
Attributing one’s own
unacceptable feelings and
thoughts to others and not
yourself
Accusing your boyfriend
of cheating on you
because you have felt like
cheating on him
Rationalization Creating false excuses for
one’s unacceptable
feelings, thoughts, or
behavior
Justifying cheating on an
exam by saying that
everyone else cheats
UNHEALTHY PERSONALITIES
Develop not only when we become too dependent upon defense
mechanisms, but also when the id or superego is unusually strong or the ego
unusually weak.
Can you think of any reasons why this might occur?
FREUD’S
PSYCHOSEXUAL STAGE THEORY
Was developed chiefly from his own childhood memories and from
his years of interactions with his patients and their case studies that
included their childhood memories
An erogenous zone is the area of the body where the id’s pleasureseeking psychic energy is focused during a particular stage of
psychosexual development
 A change in erogenous zones designates the beginning of a new
stage
Fixation occurs when a portion of the id’s pleasure-seeking energy
remains in a stage because of excessive gratification or frustration of
our instinctual needs and continue throughout the person’s life and
impact their behavior and personality traits
FIVE PSYCHOSEXUAL STAGES
Oral Stage (birth to 18 months)
Anal Stage (18 months to 3 years)
Phallic Stage (3 to 6 years)
Latency Stage (6 years to puberty)
Genital Stage (puberty to adulthood)
FREUD’S PSYCHOSOCIAL STATES
OF PERSONALITY DEVELOPMENT
Stage (age range)
Erogenous Zone Activity Focus
Oral
(birth to 1½ years)
Mouth, lips, and
tongue
Sucking, biting, and
chewing
Anal
(1½ to 3 years)
Anus
Bowel retention and
elimination
Phallic
(3 to 6 years)
Genitals
Identifying with same-sex
parent to learn gender role
and sense of morality
Latency
(6 years to puberty)
No erogenous
zone
Cognitive and social
development
Genital
(puberty to
adulthood)
Genitals
Development of sexual
relationships, moving
toward intimate adult
relationships
POTTY TRAINING
Parents try to get the child to have self-control during toilet
training
 If the child reacts to harsh toilet training by trying to get even with the
parents by withholding bowel movements, an anal-retentive
personality with the traits
of orderliness, neatness, stinginess,
and obstinacy develops
 The anal-expulsive personality
develops when the child rebels
against the harsh training and
has bowel movements
whenever and wherever
he desires. This leads to a personality with cruelty, emotional outbursts,
disorganization, self-confidence, artistic ability, generosity,
rebelliousness and general carelessness
PHALLIC STAGE CONFLICTS
In the Oedipus conflict, the little boy becomes sexually attracted
to his mother and fears the father (his rival) will find out and
castrate him
In the Electra conflict, the little girl is attracted to her father
because he has a penis; she wants one and feels inferior without
one (penis envy)
IDENTIFICATION
In the process of identification, the child adopts the
characteristics of the same-sexed parents and learns their
gender role (the set of behaviors expected of someone of
a particular sex)
It is during identification that the superego begins to
develop
Do you think children adopt gender roles based on the
parents? Why do you think this?
EVALUATION OF FREUD’S
PSYCHOANALYTIC THEORY OF PERSONALITY
Freud’s notion of an “unconscious” level of awareness is
not accessible to anyone and is impossible to examine
scientifically
 Indeed, unconscious information processing does impact our
thinking and behavior
 However, the unconscious is not a storehouse of instinctual drives,
conflicts, and repressed memories and desires
Although early childhood experiences are indeed
important, there is little evidence for his psychosexual
stages impacting development
So where did this idea come from do you think?
EVALUATION OF FREUD’S
PSYCHOANALYTIC THEORY OF PERSONALITY
Contemporary researchers think repression, seldom, if ever, really occurs
 We understand today how Freud’s questioning during therapy may have created such
“repressed’ memories in his patients
 How might people develop ‘false’ repressed memories?
There is evidence we fight hard to maintain self-esteem, but not necessarily
through defense mechanisms as Freud described them
NEO-FREUDIAN
THEORIES OF PERSONALITY
Agree with many of Freud’s basic ideas, but differ in
one or more important ways. We will be looking at
some of these in more detail soon.
Carl Jung’s
Collective
Unconscious
Alfred Adler’s
Striving for
Superiority
Karen Horney
and the
Need for
Security
RECAP AND CONSOLIDATE
 What are the id, the ego and the superego? What roles do they perform?
 What happens when there is an imbalance between these parts of the mind?
 Describe at least two of the psychosexual stages.
 What happens if a person cannot move through a psychosexual stage successfully?
 What are some of the strengths and weaknesses of Freud’s theory?
 What did Freud mean by ‘repressed memories’?
NEO-FREUDIAN THEORIES
OF PERSONALITY
CARL JUNG’S
COLLECTIVE UNCONSCIOUS
The collective unconscious
is the accumulated universal experiences of
humankind, with each of us inheriting the same
cumulative storehouse of all human experiences
These experiences are manifested in archetypes,
which are images and symbols of all the
important themes in the history of humankind
(e.g., God, mother, hero)
Notions of collective unconscious and archetypes
are more mystical than scientific and cannot be
empirically tested
CARL JUNG’S
COLLECTIVE UNCONSCIOUS
Jung proposed two main personality attitudes, extraversion and
introversion
Jung also proposed four functions/styles of gathering
information
 Sensing is the reality function in which the world is carefully perceived
 Intuiting is more subjective perception
 Thinking is logical deduction
 Feeling is the subjective emotional function
The two personality attitudes and four functions are the basis for
the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, still in wide use today
ALFRED ADLER’S
STRIVING FOR SUPERIORITY
Adler thought the main motivation was what he termed
“striving for superiority” – to overcome the sense of
inferiority that we feel as infants given our totally helpless
and dependent state
A healthy person learns to cope with these feelings,
becomes competent, and develops a sense of self-esteem
Inferiority complex is the strong feeling of inferiority felt
by those who never overcome this initial feeling of
inferiority
KAREN HORNEY AND
THE NEED FOR SECURITY
Focused on dealing with our need for security, rather than a sense
of inferiority
A child’s caregivers must provide a sense of security for a healthy
personality to develop or else basic anxiety, a feeling of
helplessness and insecurity in a hostile world, will result
Three neurotic personality patterns
 Moving toward people
A compliant, submissive person
 Moving against people
An aggressive, domineering person
 Moving away from people
A detached, aloof person
FINAL REFLECTIONS
Do you think any of these Neo-Freudian theories improve upon Freud’s original ideas?
In what way?
Is there anything we can learn from Freud, or are his idea nothing more than an historical
curiosity?
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