Personality: What makes us different? An individual’s characteristic pattern of thinking, feeling, and acting
Sigmund Freud • Austrian physician • Worked with patients who had nervous disorders • Complaints could not be explained by physical causes • A patient who lost all feeling in their hand, yet had no nerve damage • Could neurological disorders have psychological causes? • Created the first comprehensive view of personality • Major components of his theory: • Unconscious mind • Psychosexual stages • Defense mechanisms • Free association and psychoanalysis
Believed that.. • A person’s thoughts and behaviors emerge from tension generated by unconscious instincts/drives and unresolved childhood conflicts • Sexual instinct = ANY form of pleasure • Nothing is accidental • Freudian slips: A financially stressed patient (when given pills to take) – “I don’t want any large bills, because I cannot swallow them.”
View of the mind • Conscious Mind - the thoughts and feelings one is currently aware of • Preconscious Mind - region of the mind holding information that is not conscious but is retrievable into conscious awareness • Unconscious Mind - region of the mind that includes unacceptable thoughts, wishes, feelings, and memories • These have been repressed (forcibly blocked) because they would be too unsettling to acknowledge • Most of the mind is hidden • Could be tapped through free association
Model of Mind The mind is like an iceberg. It is mostly hidden, and below the surface lies the unconscious mind. The preconscious stores temporary memories.
Exploring the unconscious • Free Association: saying whatever comes to mind; a chain of thoughts that leads to painful, embarrassing, unconscious memories • This is psychoanalysis (Freud’s form of therapy) • Dream Analysis: Interpreting manifest and latent content of dreams • Manifest: actual happenings of dream • Latent: unconscious wishes present in the dream
Personality Structure • Our personalities arise from a conflict between impulse and restraint • Need to express impulses in ways that bring satisfaction without also bringing guilt or punishment • Composed of three interacting systems: id, ego, superego
The “Id” (“It” in latin) • Part of personality that consists of unconscious energy that strives to satisfy one’s drives to survive, reproduce, and aggress • Operates on the “pleasure principle” - demands immediate gratification • “Seat” of our impulses • Present from birth • Completely unconscious • Not in contact with the real world!
the “Ego” • Part of personality that mediates the demands of the id without going against the restraints of the superego • Controls all thinking and reasoning activities • Personality executive • Negotiates with the id, pleases the superego • Follows the reality principle – intelligent reasoning • Operates consciously, preconsciously, and unconsciously • Seen by others
the “Superego” • Part of personality that consists of internalized ideals and standards • One’s conscience; focuses on what the person “should” do • Moral watchdog/compass • Strives for perfection • Judges decisions and produces positive feelings of pride or negative feelings of guilt • Not present at birth (children are amoral – do whatever is pleasurable)
Personality development • Focuses on how we satisfy sexual instinct during the course of life • How does one deal with the sexual impulses of the id? (sexual…probably closer to “sensual”) ` • Energy (the libido) becomes focused on various sensitive parts of the body (erogenous zones) during development (it is sequential) • Personality is the product of conflict during these stages
Oedipus Complex • Develops during the phallic stage • Children develop an attachment to the parent of the opposite sex • Also become jealous of the same-sex parent • Oedipus for boys • Electra for girls (this was named post-Freud) • Most children resolve this conflict by identifying with the parent of the same sex (adopting values and characteristics of them) • Thus forming the superego
Fixation • If a child is deprived of pleasure or allowed too much gratification from the part of the body that dominates a certain stage, some energy remains tied to that part of the body • Person then doesn’t move on in a normal sequence (which would give the person a fully integrated personality) • This (fixation) leads to immature forms of sexuality or certain personality characteristics later in life • Could lead to neurosis (anxiety disorder)
Defense mechanisms • Threats to the balance of the id, ego, and superego can result in anxiety • Protective behaviors (defense mechanisms) are used to cope with anxiety • Repression • Sublimination • Rationalization (not in your book) • Excuses are made for anxiety-producing behavior • Displacement • Reaction Formation • Projection • Denial • Regression • Identification • These allow us to channel self-destructive/painful energy into constructive/ managable behavior