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Chapter Eight

Chapter Eight

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Chapter Eight

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  1. Chapter Eight The Psychoanalytic Perspective

  2. Basic Themes • Conflict between aspects of personality • Defense mechanisms to manage threat • Human experience suffused with lust, aggression, sexuality, and death • Perspective is highly metaphorical

  3. Topographical Model of the Mind The mind is organized into levels of functioning • Conscious Level Common characterization • Preconscious Level • Unconscious Level Freud’s contribution

  4. The Conscious Level • Contains elements about which a person is currently aware • Contents can be articulated verbally • Contents can be thought about in a rational/logical manner

  5. The Preconscious Level • Represents elements in ordinary memory— those outside of current attention • Contents are easily brought to current awareness • Examples: • What you had for dinner last night • Your grandmother’s first name

  6. The Unconscious Level • Elements of the mind that are actively kept from consciousness • Generally, a repository for images, feelings and ideas associated with anxiety, fear, and pain • Contents cannot be brought to consciousness directly, but can only enter awareness in distorted form • Even though they are outside of awareness, the contents of the unconscious can have a dynamic influence on personality

  7. The Structural Model • Complements the Topographical Model • Describes the three components of personality functioning • ID (Latin for “It”) • Ego (Latin for “I”) • Superego (Latin for “over I”)

  8. The Id • Is the original part of personality; present at birth • Embodies inherited, instinctive, and primitive aspects of personality • Tied to biological functions • Operates entirely in the unconscious • Functions as the engine of personality, through which all psychic energy comes • Conforms to the “Pleasure Principle”

  9. Pleasure Principle • Asserts that the true purpose of life is the immediate satisfaction of all needs • Gives no consideration to risk, environment, social constraints or problems in satisfying needs • Unmet needs result in a state of aversive tension • Mechanism for discharge of tension = “Primary Process”

  10. Primary Process • Primary way for id to satisfy needs • Formation of mental image of desired object, activity that would meet need • Act of forming such an image = “Wish Fulfillment” • Examples NeedImage • Hunger Juicy cheeseburger, pizza • Thirst Fresh lemonade, cool stream • Lonely Friends from home • Problems • Can’t distinguish between objective and subjective states • Doesn’t care how needs are met • Can be irrational, reckless, immoral

  11. The Ego • Evolves out of the id because id functions cannot deal effectively with objective reality • Operates primarily at the conscious and preconscious, but also at the unconscious • Operates according to the = “Reality Principle” • No moral sense, simply wants to fulfill needs given the constraints of reality

  12. Reality Principle • Introduces a sense of rationality and logic into personality functioning • Idea that behavior is governed by an external, objective world • Focus on effectively expressing id impulses by taking into account the external world • If risk is associated with need, fulfilling behavior is too high • Directs behavior to another way to meet need • Delays to later, safer, or more sensible time • Mechanism for matching tension and producing need to a real object/activity = “Secondary Process”

  13. Secondary Process • Formally refers to process of finding a match between image of needed object/activity and actual object/activity • Informally refers to processes of higher-order thought (e.g., problem solving, planning) called “reality testing” • Problems • Built-in opportunity for conflict between id and ego

  14. Superego • Embodiment of parental and societal values • Arises from complex feeling resulting from relationship with parents • Love and affection—obtained by doing what parents think is right • Punishment and disapproval—obtained by avoiding what parents think is wrong • Introjection: the process of incorporating values from an external source (i.e., mostly parents, sometimes society) • Operates at all levels of consciousness • Interesting implication: Feelings of guilt for no apparent reason

  15. Components of the Superego • Ego-Ideal • Consists of rules about good behavior and standards of excellence • Conforming behavior results in feeling of pride and worthiness • Conscience • Consists of rules about bad and prohibited behavior • Non-conforming behavior results in feelings of guilt and shame

  16. Goals of Superego • Inhibit any id impulse that would cause disapproval from parents • Force ego to act morally, rather than rationally • Guide person toward perfection in thought, word and behavior • Problem: While it exerts a civilizing effect, its perfectionism is not realistic

  17. Balancing the Forces • Must find a way to release tension (id demand) immediately, in a way that is socially acceptable (superego demand) and realistic (external environment) • Ability to function effectively, despite these conflicting forces = “ego strength” Superego Id Ego External Environment

  18. Ego Strength • Little ego strength: Torn among conflicting pressure • More ego strength: Manage pressures without problems • Too much ego strength: Very rational and efficient but may be boring, cold, or distant • Key point: Balance is an important feature of Freud’s perspective

  19. The Drives of Personality • Basic Assumptions: • People are complex energy systems • Energy used in psychological work is released through biological processes • These processes, which operate through the id = “drives” • Two elements to drives • Biological need state • Psychological representation

  20. Two Classes of Drives • Life or sexual drives (Eros) • Concerned with survival, reproduction, and pleasure • Examples: Hunger, pain avoidance, sex • Energy resulting from Eros = “Libido” • Death drives (Thanatos) • The goal of all life is death • Usually held back by Eros • No label for energy resulting from Thanatos • Physiological analog: Apoptosis (programmed cellular suicide) • Redirected harm toward self onto others may represent the foundation of aggression

  21. Catharsis • The release of the tension resulting from an unmet drive • Implications for aggressive energy • Overcontrolled aggression—exaggerated ego and superego processes in which there is a strong inhibition against aggression (straw that broke the camel’s back syndrome) • Mixed effects on the reduction of arousal following aggressive acts • Mixed findings on the effects of future aggression

  22. Anxiety • Aversive inner motivation state • Freud saw it as warning signal to the ego • Types of Anxiety • Reality anxiety—fear of something real in the world • Neurotic anxiety—fear of punishment resulting from id impulses getting out of control • Moral anxiety—fear of violating moral/ethical codes arising from the superego

  23. Responses to Anxiety • Increase rational problem-oriented coping • Conscious activity to deal with the threat • Works best with reality anxiety • Activate defense mechanisms • Tactics developed by ego to deal with anxiety • All defense mechanisms can operate unconsciously • All distort, transform, or falsify reality in some way

  24. Repression • An unconscious act of forcing something out of consciousness • Conscious repression = Suppression • Important in restraining id impulses • Also applies to painful or upsetting information, memories, or behaviors • Not always an all-or-nothing act. Can have partial repression

  25. Denial • A refusal to believe an event took place or a condition exists • Generally deals with threats that originate outside the dynamics of the mind • Effective at keeping anxiety at bay, but requires constant psychic energy • Because of the energy cost of repression and denial, other strategies have developed to free-up energy

  26. Projection • Ascription of unacceptable impulses, desires, or qualities to someone else • Serves to express the id’s desire, thus releasing energy required to suppress it • Masks the expression of an impulse in such a way that it is not recognized by the ego or superego

  27. Rationalization • Finding a reason/excuse for a behavior done for unacceptable reasons • Rationalization after a failure maintains self-esteem • Common response to success and failure experiences (fundamental attribution error)

  28. Intellectualization • Thinking in a cold, analytical, or detached way about things that normally evoke distress • Allows disassociation of thought from feelings • Suggests that the intellectual part of an idea can exist in the conscious mind, while the emotional quality of the idea remains unconscious

  29. Displacement and Sublimation • Considered less neurotic and more adaptive than other defense mechanisms • Displacement • Shifts an impulse from one target to another • New target is less threatening, thus anxiety is reduced • Sublimation • Transforms the impulse into a more socially acceptable form • The expressed impulse is more acceptable, thus anxiety is reduced • Considered the most mature defense mechanism

  30. Psychosexual Development • Sequential progression through stages • Each stage is characterized by a crisis • Adult personality is influenced by how crises are resolved during each stage • Stages: • Oral • Anal • Phallic • Latency • Genital

  31. Oral Stage • Birth–18 months • Mouth is source of tension reduction • Crisis = being weaned from mother • Two phases: • Oral incorporative—dependency, gullibility, jealousy • Oral sadistic—verbal aggressiveness • Oral personalities • Preoccupied with food and drink • When stressed, reduce tension through oral activities (smoking, nail biting) • When angry, engage in verbal aggression

  32. Anal Stage • 18 months–3rd year • Anus is the source of pleasure from stimulation that results from defecation • Crisis = toilet training • Two orientations to toilet training: • Praise for successful elimination at desired time and place • Result—value in producing things by whatever means possible • Basis for adult productivity and creativity • Punishment and ridicule for failures • If child reacts with rebellion—anal expulsive traits result (messy, cruel, destructive, hostile) • If child reacts by withholding—anal retentive traits result (rigid, obsessive, stingy, obstinacy, orderliness)

  33. Phallic Stage • 3rd year-5th year • Genitals become the source of pleasure • Crisis = attraction toward opposite-sex parent • Patterns somewhat different for boys and girls: • Boys • Attracted to mother wants to replace father (Oedipus complex) • Fears retaliation on part of father (castration anxiety) • Repress feelings toward mother, begins to identify with father • Identification with father gives rise to super ego • Girls • Attracted to father abandons love for mother (Electra complex) • Wants father because he possesses penis (penis envy) • Repress feelings toward father, begins to identify with mother • Identification with mother gives rise to super ego

  34. Latency Period • 6 years old–early teens • Period of relative calm, no new developmental conflicts • Attention is focused on other pursuits (intellectual or social)

  35. Genital Stage • Late adolescence and adulthood • Libidinal energy still organized around the genitals • Focus on mutual sexual gratification • Develop the ability to share in warm and caring relationships and have concern for other’s welfare • Demonstrate greater control over impulses • Represents an ideal, rather than an absolute, endpoint of development

  36. Psychopathology ofEveryday Life • Not random, but arises from impulses/urges in the unconscious • Error of memory, word mix-ups, and accidents (parapraxes; from the German “faulty achievement”) reflect our unconscious • Forgetting = repression • Slips of the tongue or pen = unsuccessful repression

  37. Dreams • “Royal road to the unconscious”—Freud • Two Aspects • Manifest Content—actual sensory images • Latent Content—the source of the manifest content; the meaning underlying the dream • Sources • Concurrent sensory stimulation (e.g., barking dog, ringing phone)—guardians of sleep • Current concerns—thoughts, feelings, concerns in life • Unconscious id impulses—present in all dreams

  38. Projective Assessment Techniques • Represent formal approaches to assessing unconscious processes • Projective hypothesis: Provide people with ambiguous, unstructured stimuli and they will apply projection in their interpretations of what they see

  39. Rorschach Inkblot Test • Chosen for ability to evoke different responses from different psychiatric patients • 10 bilaterally symmetrical blots • 5 all black • 2 red and black • 3 pastels • Administration in predetermined order • Administration in two stages • Free response format—respondent indicates what she sees in the blots, or what they resemble or suggest • Systematic questioning—reminded of previous responses and requested to indicate what about the blot made her say what she said

  40. Rorschach Scoring • Based on three factors • Location of response—part vs. whole, commonly noted detail vs. rarely noted detail, blot vs. space surrounding • Response based on whole blot indicative of conceptual thinking • Determinants of response—form, shading, color, texture, or perceived movement in location of response • Response based on color indicative of emotionality • Response based on human movement indicative of imagination • Content of response—subject matter • Conveys overt meaning and symbolic meaning

  41. Problems and Behavior Change • Problems arise from overuse of defenses • Unresolved conflict resulting in fixation • Broad libidinal repression of basic needs • Repressed trauma • Goal of therapy is to free-up energy by releasing need to repress through awareness and insight • Consequences of therapy • Resistance—actively fighting against awareness of repressed conflicts and impulses • Transference—displacements onto therapist

  42. Problems and Prospects • Controversial • Prominent sexual themes • Many determinants of behavior that are outside of awareness • Difficult to test empirically • Ambiguous terms or ill-defined concepts • Heavy reliance on a small number of potentially biased case studies • Confusion of fact with inference • Even so, Freud offers a significant and important contribution to the discussion of personality and human behavior