[12.3] Psychodynamic and Humanistic Approaches to Personality Flashcards Preview

🚫 PSY100H1: Introduction to Psychology (Winter 2016) with J. Vervaeke > [12.3] Psychodynamic and Humanistic Approaches to Personality > Flashcards

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Unconcious Processes and Psychodynamics

  • conscious mind: your current awareness, containing everything you are aware of right now 
  • unconscious mind: a much more vast and powerful but inaccessible part of your consciousness, operating without your conscious endorsement or will to influence and guide your behaviours
  • because the unconscious is fairly inaccessible to consciousness and is much more powerful than the conscious mind, it is the primary driver of our behaviours 
  • e.g. "Fruedian slips" are when a person's conscious mind intends to say something appropriate to the circumstances, but their unconscious mind leads them to say what they were “really thinking” 


The Structure of Personality

  • id: represents a collection of basic biological drives, including those directed toward sex and aggression 
    • is driven by an energy called the libido: controls sexual energy and other biological urges such as hunger
    • operates according to the pleasure principle: motivating people to seek out experiences that bring pleasure, with little regard for the appropriateness or consequences of their realization
    • we are driven by our id when we're younger, and only learn restraint because society imposes it on us
  • superego: comprised of our values and moral standards 
    • tells us what we ought to do
    • forms over time as we become socialized into our family and larger community, and taught the norms of our society
    • when we do something wrong, the superego chastises us
  • ego: the decision maker, frequently under tension, trying to reconcile the opposing urges of the id and superego
  • one dynamic is that people will have personalities due to the relative strengths of their id, ego, and superego
  • the second dynamic is how we react to anxiety, which the ego has to deal with
  • from Freud’s perspective, the psyche is a constant battleground, with the ego trying to keep both the id and superego happy, while protecting itself from anxiety 


Defence Mechanisms

  • defence mechanisms: unconscious strategies the ego uses to reduce or avoid anxiety 
  • denial: refusing to ackknowledge pleasant information, particularly about onself; e.g. a kid plugging his ears and running into his closet when his parents are arguing
  • rationalization: attempting to hide one's true motives (even from oneself) by providing what seems like a reasonable explanation for unacceptable feelings or behaviours; e.g. a CEO not hiring someone of a particular ethnic group then reasoning the applicant didn't seem impressive or professional
  • repression: keeping distressing information out of conscious awareness by burying it in the unconscious; e.g. survivors of domestic violence or other forms of abuse
  • displacement: transforming an unacceptable impulse into a less unacceptable or neutral behaviour; e.g. slamming your door shut after an argument with your parents
  • identification: unconciously assuming the characteristics of a more powerful person in order to reduce feelings of anxiety or negative feelings about the self; e.g. the bullied turning into a bullier
  • projection: keeping yourself unaware of undesirable qualities that you possess by instead attributing those qualities to other groups or people; e.g. selfish people who just think it's a "dog-eat-dog" world
  • reaction formation: altering an impulse that one finds personally unacceptable into its opposite; e.g. men who are homophobic show more penile arousal when looking at homosexual porn (compared to non-homophobic men)
  • sublimation: transforming unacceptable impulses into socially acceptable or even pro-social alternatives; e.g. someone with aggression issues playing football
  • although defence mechanisms may keep us from feeling anxiety in the moment, they are ultimately dysfunctional 
    • undesirable tendencies are not confronted and problems are not dealt with; instead, immense energy is devoted to maintaining the defence mechanisms and trying to feel okay


Personality Development: The Psycho-Sexual Stages

  • Freud developed several stages of development; at each stage, the libido manifests in particular areas of the body, depending on what areas are most important for providing the person with pleasure
  • fixation: becoming preoccupied with obtaining the pleasure associated with a particular stage
    • can happen due to exessive parental intereferance or allowing the child to overindulge in pleasure-seeking behaviour
  • oral stage: infants who are fixated at this stage fail to fully develop their ego and fall prey to types of indulgence (e.g. addiction, overeating, being orally aggressive) in adulthood
  • anal stage: becoming fixated at this stage turns one into an "anally retentive" adult; someone with a rather rigid personality excessively concerned with cleanliness and order, with a high need for control and not a great deal of emotional openness
    • parents who are too lenient at this stage produce an "anal expulsive adult" who is disorganized and irresponsible
  • phallic stage: when the Oedipus complex develops
    • castration anxiety: little boys who know their mothers don't have penises reason that it must have been cut off, and that it might happen to them; due to the antagonistic father figure, they fear castration by their fathers (metaphorical for castration)
    • penis envy: little girls also want to be involved sexually with their mothers, but realize they don't have a penis; they redirect their sexual interest to their fathers, and men in general, because having a child with a man provides the girl with a penis (sort of)
    • since girls never entirely resolve their Oedipus complex, they don't fully develop superegos, and have a less reliable morality
  • latency stage: people don't get fixated at this age because personality is formed by the end of the phallic stage; people become generally free to pursue their interests if they pass the previous three stages
  • genital stage: the person emerges into an adult, with a fully developed capacity for productive work and stisfying and loving relationships
  • most psychodynamic psychologists agree that Freud's stages of psychosexual development aren't entirely accurate
  • however, clinical psychologists have measured attachments to the same-sex parent in children (but without sexual desire or murderous intent)
  • even so, it's difficult for Freudian thinkers to be able to empirically measure things like the workings of the unconcious


Exploring the Unconcious with Projective Tests

  • projective tests: personality tests in which ambiguous images are presented to an individual to elicit responses that reflect unconscious desires or conflicts
  • Rorschach inkblot test: people are asked to describe what they see on the inkblot, and psychologists interpret this description using a standardized scoring and interpretation method 
  • Thematic Apperception Test (TAT): asks respondents to tell stories about ambiguous pictures involving various interpersonal situations 
  • however, projective tests have not fared well in empirical research, receiving criticism for low reliability and validity 
  • use of projective tests have decreased, but researchers continue to look for projection in other areas


Perceiving Others as a Projective Test

  • people have a seemingly natural inclination to make assumptions about what others are like, even if only very limited information is available 
  • we make guesses as to what other people are like by using our own self-concepts as a guide
  • reserchers who applied the Big Five test to projection identified a general trend in which people who view themselves positively (as agreeable, intelligent, and satisfied with life) are likely to view others the same way
  • psychologists cannot make precise predictions about a rater’s personality based on that individual’s ratings of others, but rather can make only general statements 


Alternatives to the Psychodynamic Approach

  • developed by Carl Jung (1875-1961), analytical psychology: focuses on the role of unconscious archetypes in personality development 
  • personal unconcious: a vast repository of experiences and patterns that were absorbed during the entire experiential unfolding of the person’s life
  • collective unconscious: a separate, non-personal realm of the unconscious that holds the collective memories and mythologies of humankind, stretching deep into our ancestral past 
  • archetypes: images and symbols that reflect common “truths” held across cultures, such as universal life experiences or types of people 
  • proposed by Alfred Adler (1870-1937), inferiority complex: the struggle many people have with feelings of inferiority, which stem from experiences of helplessness and powerlessness during childhood 
  • Karen Horney (1885-1952) focussed on the importance of social and cultural factors, and advoated against Freud's phallocentrism
    • she argued that men actually have "womb envy" and attempted to compensate for their deficients by focussing on work and devaluating and subjugating women
  • but modern psychodynamic psychologists do share many of the core attributes of psychoanalytic thought:
    • an emphasis on the unconscious
    • internal conflicts between opposing forces within personality
    • and the influence of early experiences on adult personality 


Humanistic Perspectives on Personality

  • emphasized the individual’s free will, highlighted positive motivations for personal growth and development, and explored the upper ranges of human experience, such as feelings of transcendence, love, and fulfillment
  • launched by Rogers, person-centred perspective: people are basically good, and given the right environment their personality will develop fully and normally
  • self-actualization: the drive to grow and fulfill one’s potential
  • positive psychology: approached the same questions as humanists, but using more rigorous, empirical methods; focussed on neglected areas such as fulfillment, compassion, kindness, joy, and gratitude 

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