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- Freudian Theories -

Ψ  How do people tend to think, feel, & behave--and what causes these tendencies? These are the questions addressed by personality theory & research.


Ψ  Personality is the complex of all the attributes--behavioral, temperamental, emotional and mental--that characterize a unique individual.

Ψ   Freud's Psychodynamic Theory encompasses:

•  Conscious versus unconscious forces
  •  Conscious thoughts
    •  Unconscious forces
      •  Unconscious motivation

Ψ   Techniques to discover the unconscious:

1. Free association
  1. Dream interpretation
    1. Freudian slips

It's a Mickey Mouse World , isn't it?

Ψ   Divisions of the Mind

1.   Id: pleasure seeker, operates on the Pleasure principle - Contains two biological drives: Sex & Aggression!
1.   Ego: negotiator between id and superego, operates on the Reality principle
1.   Superego: regulator / conscience, operates on Guilt feelings


Freudian Defense mechanisms:

1. Rationalization: supplying a logical or rational reason as opposed to the real reason
1. Denial: arguing against an anxiety provoking stimuli by stating it doesn't exist
1. Repression: pulling into the unconscious (forgetting)
1. Projection: placing unacceptable impulses in yourself onto someone else
1. Reaction formation: taking the opposite belief because the true belief causes anxiety
1. Displacement: taking out impulses on a less threatening target
1. Sublimation: acting out unacceptable impulses in a socially acceptable way

Freud - Five Stages of Development

1. Oral - Focus is on the mouth, teeth, & gums.
 2. Anal
  3. Phallic - Oedipus complex
   4. Latency - Really not a stage but an interlude.
    5. Genital

Age: birth - 1.5 year
Age: 1.5 to 3 years
Age: 3 to 6 years
Age: 7- 11 years
Age: from 12 on

Ψ  Fixation: According to Freud strong conflicts can fixate people at an early developmental stage.

Ψ   Oral fixation has two possible outcomes.

• The Oral receptive personality is preoccupied with eating/drinking and reduces tension through oral activity such as eating, drinking, smoking, biting nails. They are generally passive, needy &sensitive to rejection. They will easily 'swallow' other people's ideas.

•  The Oral aggressive personality is hostile &verbally abusive to others, using mouth-based aggression.

Ψ   Anal fixation, which may be caused by too much punishment during toilet training, has two possible outcomes.

•  The Anal retentive personality is stingy, with a compulsive seeking of order and tidiness. The person is generally stubborn and perfectionist.

•  The Anal expulsive personality is an opposite of the Anal retentive personality, & as a lack of self control, being generally messy and careless.

Ψ   Phallic fixation

•  At the age of 5 or 6, near the end of the phallic stage, boys experience the Oedipus Complex while girls experience the Electra conflict, which is a process through which they learn to identify with the same gender parent by acting as much like that parent as possible.

•  Boys may experience castration anxiety.

•  Girls may display penis-envy.

•  Fixated males: Anxiety & guilty feelings about sex, fear of castration, & narcissistic personality.

Ψ  Freud's Followers & Critics

•  Carl Jung - the collective unconscious
 •  Alfred Adler - social urges, individual psychology
  •  Karen Horney - social interactions
   •  Neo-Freudians - Erik Erikson

entry pointentry pointentry point Humanistic Theories entry pointentry pointentry point

Three characteristics of humanistic theories:

1. Phenomenological perspective - perception (even if inaccurate) is reality!
1. Holistic view
1. Self-actualization - need to be all you can be!

Abraham Maslow Hierarchy of Needs:

Major areas: Deficiency needs (levels 1,2,3,4) - Growth needs (level 5)

The Hierarchy (top down):


 •  Self-actualization
     •  Esteem
         •  Love & belonging
             •  Safety
                 •  Physiological


Carl Rogers: Self theory (self-actualization theory)

•  Link to more information on Carl Rogers

     Rogers sees people as basically good or healthy -- or at very least, not bad or ill. In other words, he sees mental health as the normal progression of life, and he sees mental illness, criminality, and other human problems, as distortions of that natural tendency. Roger's self-actualizing tendency can be defined as the built-in motivation present in every life-form to develop its potentials to the fullest extent possible.


Note: Projective tests such as the Rorschach inkblot test & the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) tend to have relativity low reliability & validity, however combined with other assessment techniques they can be helpful.

General Psychology
Robert C. Gates