THIS IS A POWERPOINT PRESENTATION!Assignment ContentCreate a 10- to 12-slide PowerPoint® presentation that discusses Freud, Erikson, and two other psychoanalytic or neo-psychoanalytic theorists.Di

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  1. Create a 10- to 12-slide PowerPoint® presentation that discusses Freud, Erikson, and two other psychoanalytic or neo-psychoanalytic theorists.


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    • Why was Freud’s work so influential?
    • How did the analysts that followed Freud dissent from his viewpoint?
    • What links the theorists in the psychoanalytic theory group?
    • What are three or more psychoanalytic concepts relevant to today’s culture? Explain their relevance and provide an example of each.

Aligned with assessment


  • 2.2

    2.2 Evaluate current research studies that address psychoanalytic concepts.

    Goal Set & Category

    PSYCH_645Course Objective

  • 2.3

    2.3 Evaluate the influence of Freud’s theories on contemporary personality theory.

    Goal Set & Category

    PSYCH_645Course Objective

 THIS IS A POWERPOINT PRESENTATION!Assignment ContentCreate a 10- to 12-slide PowerPoint® presentation that discusses Freud, Erikson, and two other psychoanalytic or neo-psychoanalytic theorists.Di
CHAPTER 3 A PSYCHODYNAMIC THEORY: FREUD’S PSYCHOANALYTIC THEORY OF PERSONALITY QUESTIONS TO BE ADDRESSED IN THIS CHAPTER SIGMUND FREUD (1856–1939): A VIEW OF THE THEORIST FREUD’S VIEW OF THE PERSON The Mind as an Energy System The Individual in Society FREUD’S VIEW OF THE SCIENCE OF PERSONALITY FREUD’S PSYCHOANALYTIC THEORY OF PERSONALITY Structure Levels of Consciousness and the Concept of the Unconscious Dreams The Motivated Unconscious Relevant Psychoanalytic Research Current Status of the Concept of the Unconscious The Psychoanalytic Unconscious and the Cognitive Unconscious Id, Ego, and Superego Process Life and Death Instincts The Dynamics of Functioning Anxiety, Mechanisms of Defense, and Contemporary Research on Defensive Processes Denial Projection Isolation, Reaction Formation, and Sublimation Repression Growth and Development The Development of the Instincts and Stages of Development Erikson’s Psychosocial Stages of Development The Importance of Early Experience The Development of Thinking Processes MAJOR CONCEPTS REVIEW Chapter Focus The number-one player on the tennis team is getting ready to play for the state title. She has never met her opponent before, so she decides to introduce herself before the match. She strolls onto the court where her opponent is warming up and says. “Hi, I’m Amy. Glad to beat you.” You can imagine how embarrassed Amy was! Flustered, she corrected her innocent mistake and walked over to her side of the court to warm up. “Wow,” Amy thought, “where did that come from?” Was Amy’s verbal slip so innocent? Freud wouldn’t have thought so. In his view, Amy’s silly mistake was actually a very revealing display of unconscious aggressive drives. Freud’s psychoanalytic theory is illustrative of a psychodynamic and clinical approach to personality. Behavior is interpreted as a result of the dynamic interplay among motives, drives, needs, and conflicts. The research consists mainly of clinical investigations as shown in an emphasis on the individual, in the attention given to individual differences, and in attempts to assess and understand the total individual. Contemporary researchers, however, devote much attention to the challenge of studying psychodynamic processes in the experimental laboratory. QUESTIONS TO BE ADDRESSED IN THIS CHAPTER How did Freud develop his theory, and how did historical and personal events shape this development? What are the key features of Freud’s theoretical model of the human mind? How do people protect themselves against experiences of anxiety, and in what ways (according to Freud) are these anxiety-reduction strategies a centerpiece of personality dynamics? How important is early childhood experience for later personality development? SIGMUND FREUD (1856–1939): A VIEW OF THE THEORIST Sigmund Freud was born in Moravia (in what is now the city of Fribor of the Czech Republic) in 1856. His family soon moved to Vienna, where he spent most of his life. Freud was the first child of his parents, but his father, 20 years older than his mother, had two sons by a previous marriage. His parents then had seven more children after his birth. Within this large group of family members, the intellectually precocious Sigmund was his mother’s favorite—and he knew it. Later in life, Freud famously commented, from experience, that a man who has been the indisputable favorite of his mother “keeps for life the feeling of a conqueror, that confidence of success that often induces real success” (Freud, 1900, p. 26). Sigmund Freud As a boy, Freud had big dreams. He wanted to become a great general or government official. But anti-Semitism limited the possibility for advancement in these fields for Freud, who was Jewish. He thus pursued a career in medicine instead. Freud’s medical training, at the University of Vienna, profoundly shaped his later theorizing about personality. A key figure in this training was a professor of physiology named Ernst Brücke, who took part in an intellectual movement known as mechanism. The mechanist movement addressed questions about the nature and possibilities of the science of biology. It is best understood by contrasting it with an opposing movement, “vitalism.” Vitalists argued that biological science could not fully explain biological life because life arose from nonmaterial forces (like a soul, or spirit, that animates an otherwise lifeless body). Mechanists argued that the principles of natural science could, in fact, provide comprehensive explanation. Basic physical and chemical factors could fully explain the functioning of organisms, including life itself (Gay, 1998). The mechanist position, which is taken for granted today, opened the door for a complete natural science of persons. Brücke’s rejection of vitalism and embrace of the scientific principles of mechanism provide a foundation for the dynamic view of personality Freud developed later in life (Sulloway, 1979). After earning his medical degree, Freud worked in the field of neurology. Some of his early research involved a comparison of adult and fetal brains. He concluded that the earliest structures persist throughout life—a view that was a precursor to his later views of personality development. However, for financial reasons, including the need to support a family, Freud abandoned this research career and became a practicing physician. In 1897, the year following his father’s death, Freud was plagued by periods of depression and anxiety. To understand his problems, Freud began an activity that proved utterly fundamental to the development of psychoanalysis: a self-analysis. Freud analyzed the contents of his own experiences, concentrating in particular on his dreams, which he thought would reveal unconscious thoughts and desires. He continued this self-analysis throughout his life, devoting the last half-hour of each workday to it. In his therapeutic work, Freud tried various techniques to uncover psychological causes of his patient’s problems. One was hypnosis, which he learned about from the renowned French psychiatrist Jean Charcot. But finding that not all patients could be hypnotized, he explored other methods. The one that proved crucial to his work was free association. In the free-association technique, the person being analyzed allows all of his or her thoughts to come forth without inhibition or falsification of any kind. By letting thoughts flow freely, one may discover hidden associations among ideas. For Freud, the free-association technique was both a therapy and a scientific method; it provided the primary evidence for his theory of personality. In 1900, Freud published his most significant work, The Interpretation of Dreams. Here, Freud no longer was concerned merely with treating patients. He was developing a theory of mind—a conceptual model of the mind’s basic structures and working principles. The book, though brilliant, was slow to catch on; in its first eight years of publication, The Interpretation of Dreams sold only 600 copies. Freud’s views about the psychology of childhood (which you’ll learn below) were ridiculed. Medical institutions that taught Freud’s views were boycotted. An early follower, Ernest Jones, was forced to resign a neurological appointment for inquiring into the sexual life of his patients, in the manner that Freud’s theory suggested. At a personal level, during World War I Freud lost his financial savings and feared for the lives of two sons in the war. In 1920, a daughter, age 26, died. This historical context may have partly contributed to Freud’s development, at age 64, of a theory of the death instinct—a wish to die, in opposition to the life instinct or a wish for survival. Yet Freud persevered and gradually achieved widespread recognition. Lectures in the United States in 1909 greatly enhanced his profile outside of Europe. An International Psychoanalytic Association was founded in 1910. During these and subsequent years, Freud published prolifically, had a waiting list of patients, and achieved increasing fame. Thanks to his efforts and those of his followers, by the time of his death in London on September 23, 1939 (he had fled Vienna a year earlier to escape the Nazis), he was an international celebrity. Today, Freud’s ideas and his psychoanalytic terminology are known even to people who never have read a word of his writing or taken a single psychology course. Among 20th-century figures, Freud’s contributions to Western intellectual life are exceeded perhaps only by those of Einstein. Many glorify Freud as a compassionate, courageous genius. Others, noting his battles and breaks with colleagues, see him as an authoritarian, intolerant figure (Fromm, 1959). Whatever one’s view of his personality, Freud unquestionably pursued his work with great courage. He bravely presented personal details of his own life to illustrate his theory. He withstood the criticism of colleagues and the scorn of society at large. He did this, as he wrote to an associate, “in the service” of “a dominating passion … a tyrant [that] has come my way … it is psychology” (Gay, 1998, p. 74). FREUD’S VIEW OF THE PERSON Throughout this book, when we introduce a theory of personality, we first will review the life of the theorist (as above, for Freud). Then, prior to detailing the given theory’s treatment of personality structures and processes, we will present its overall view of the person. Each major theory of personality contains a broad conception of human nature, or a view of the person. We present these conceptions at the outset for two reasons: (1) They provide a foundation for understanding. You quickly will gain knowledge of the most important ideas of a given theory—knowledge you can build upon when reading subsequent material. (2) These “View of the Person” sections answer a question you might be asking yourself: “Why should I bother to learn about this personality theory?” The answer is that, in all cases in this book, the given personality theory addresses big ideas: the nature of mind, human nature, and society. These “big picture” ideas are summarized in the View of the Person sections of the text. THE MIND AS AN ENERGY SYSTEM Freud’s theory of personality is fundamentally a theory of mind—a scientific model of the overall architecture of mental structures and processes. In formulating a model of mind, Freud explicitly “[considers] mental life from a biological point of view” (Freud, 1915/1970, p. 328). He recognizes the mind as part of the body, asks what the body is like, and derives principles of mental functioning from overall principles of physiological functioning. As we noted, to Freud the body is a mechanistic energy system. It follows, then, that the mind, being part of the body, also is a mechanistic energy system. The mind gets mental energies from the overall physical energies of the body. An energy-system view of mind contrasts with alternative perspectives one could adopt. For example, instead one could view the mind as an information system. In an information system, material is merely stored somewhere and drawn upon when needed. Information on the hard drive of your computer, or information written into a book on the shelf of a library, is like this—it merely sits there inertly, in storage, to be accessed as needed. In Freud’s energy model, however, mental contents do not merely sit in storage inertly. Mental contents do things. The mind contains instinctual drives that are “piece[s] of activity” that exert “pressure … [an] amount of force” (Freud, 1915/1970, p. 328) on the overall psychic apparatus. The overall mind, then, is a system that contains and directs these energetic forces. If one takes this view, then the major scientific problem is to explain what happens to mental energy: how it flows, gets sidetracked, or becomes dammed up. Freud’s view of mental energy includes three core ideas. One is that there is a limited amount of energy. If much energy is used in one way, less is available for other purposes. Energy used for cultural purposes, for example, is no longer available for sexual purposes, and vice versa. A second idea is that energy can be blocked from one channel of expression and, if it is blocked, the energy does not “just go away.” Instead, it gets expressed in some other manner, along a path of least resistance. Finally, fundamental to Freud’s energy model is the idea that the mind functions to achieve a state of quiescence (Greenberg & Mitchell, 1983). Bodily needs create a state of tension, and the person is driven to reduce that tension to return to a quiet internal state. A simple example is that if you are lacking food, you experience the state of tension we call hunger, and this drives you to seek some object in the environment that satisfies your hunger, eliminating the tension and returning you to a state of quiescence. (Of course, Freud explores examples of dramatically greater complexity than this one, as you will see.) The goal of all behavior, then, is the pleasure that results from the reduction of tension or the release of energy. The personality theory of Freud that you will learn about in this chapter is basically a detailed model of the personality structures and processes that are responsible for this dynamic flow of mental energy. Why the assumption that the mind is an energy system? It derives from developments in physics in Freud’s time. The 19th-century physicist Hermann von Helmholtz had presented the principle of conservation of energy: Matter and energy can be transformed but not destroyed. Not only physicists but also members of other disciplines were studying the laws of energy changes in systems. Freud’s medical training included the idea that human physiology could be understood in terms of physical forces that adhere to the principle of conservation of energy. The age of energy and dynamics provided scientists with a new conception of humans: “that man is an energy system and that he obeys the same physical laws which regulate the soap bubble and the movement of the planets” (Hall, 1954, pp. 12–13). Freud developed this general view into a well-specified theory of personality. In psychoanalysis, then, ideas have mental energy that remains stored in the mind; that is, the energy is conserved within the mind. However, under special circumstances the energy associated with an idea can be released. The question of how this occurs is central to psychoanalytic theory. Interestingly, the answer to this question did not first come from Freud but from an associate of his, the Viennese physician Joseph Breuer. In the summer of 1882, in an event of incalculably great importance to the development of psychoanalytic thought, Breuer told Freud about a patient of his named Anna O. Anna O. suffered from a bizarre collection of symptoms whose biological causes could not be determined: partial paralysis, blurred vision, persistent cough, and difficulty conversing in her native language, German, despite being able to speak fluently in her second language, English. Symptoms of this sort are known as hysterical symptoms, that is, symptoms of the disorder hysteria. Since the days of ancient Greek medicine, the term hysteria has been used to refer to a disorder in which people experience physical symptoms (especially involving disturbed motor movement or perceptual experience) that are caused by emotional problems rather than by ordinary physical disease or disability (Owens & Dein, 2006). In contemporary psychology and psychiatry, hysteria is known as conversion disorder, because an emotional problem is transformed, or converted, into a psychological problem involving motor movement or perception. (Conversation disorder is also known as a type of “somatic” disorder because psychological content affects the functioning of the body, or soma.) Anna O. herself stumbled upon a treatment for her hysterical symptoms. She found that she would experience relief from a symptom if she could trace it to a traumatic event in her past. If she managed to become aware of a long-forgotten event that was the original cause of the symptom, and if she relived the original emotional trauma associated with that event, the symptom would then either be reduced in severity or completely go away. Breuer, and then Freud, referred to this psychological experience as a catharsis. Catharsis refers to a release and freeing of emotions by talking about one’s problems. (In colloquial terms, we might say that in catharsis the person gets an experience “off his chest” or gets it “out of his system.”) By reexperiencing a traumatic event that she had stored away in her memory, Anna O. experienced a cathartic release of the pent-up mental energy that was causing her symptoms. Freud applied the cathartic method of treating hysterical symptoms to his own patients and reported great success. The notion of catharsis has two implications for understanding the human mind. One is that, to Freud, it further confirms his view that the mind is an energy system. It is the release of the energy associated with long-forgotten memories that allows for the patient’s improvement. The second implication is the following. Before a cathartic experience, Freud’s patients appeared totally unaware that their symptoms were caused by the contents of their mind. The traumatic events that originally caused their symptoms seemingly were completely forgotten. Yet the symptoms continued. This means that mental contents of which people were unaware were continuously active within their own minds. The mind, then, appears to have more than one part. It not only has a region of ideas of which people are consciously aware but also a more mysterious, hidden region of ideas that lie outside of awareness. Freud refers to these ideas as unconscious. Freud’s notion (which we review in detail below) that our day-to-day psychological life is governed by ideas that are unconscious revolutionized people’s understanding of human nature. When mental energy cannot be released, it does not merely disappear. It is conserved (as suggested by the physics principle of conservation of energy). Energy that would otherwise be released in the pursuit of sexual pleasure, but that is inhibited, may be channeled into other activities. A wide range of activities—indeed, Freud believed the whole range of cultural productivity—were expressions of sexual and aggressive energy that were prevented from expression in a more direct way. Personality and the Brain Hysteria (Conversion Disorder) When you first learn about hysteria, it probably sounds kind of weird. People experience disruptions in movement or perception—paralysis; blurred vision—that are caused by emotional problems? Could this be true? One reason it might not be true is that people are faking. Maybe they really have emotional problems, but, if nobody is paying attention to their problems, they feign injury or illness to attract more attention from others. When Freud first started studying hysteria, some of his peers in fact thought that hysterics were fakers. How could you find out if hysterical symptoms are real or fake? One possibility is to turn to contemporary evidence on personality and the brain. Researchers (Voon et al., 2010) have used brain-imaging techniques to study patients with conversion disorder (the contemporary term for hysteria; Owens & Dein, 2006). They studied 16 people diagnosed with the disorder. These individuals exhibited unexplained motor-movement symptoms such as tremors, tics, or abnormal movements when walking. The researchers compared this group of patients to a group of 16 psychologically and biologically healthy volunteers. Individuals from both groups had their brains scanned using fMRI (see Chapter 2) as they viewed pictures of faces that were displayed on a video screen. The faces displayed varying emotions: happiness, fear, or neutral (i.e., an emotionally neutral facial expression). With this research procedure, the researchers could determine whether brain activity in patients and healthy volunteers differed in response to emotional stimuli. There are, logically, two types of results. One possibility is that the brains of the two groups of people (patients and healthy volunteers) would not differ. The other, of course, is that their brains would differ, and perhaps in a way that revealed a biological basis for the connection hypothesized by Freud: a connection between emotional distress and symptoms of hysteria. And differ they did. Brain activation among conversion disorder patients differed from brain activation in healthy volunteers when emotional faces were displayed (Voon et al., 2010). The nature of the difference is fascinating. Within the brains of patients, there were stronger connections between regions of the brain associated with emotion and those associated with motor movement—exactly what Freud might have expected! As the researchers explain, these connections could generate the symptoms of the disorder. Among conversion disorder patients, emotional arousal would connect to, and disrupt, the normal functioning of those parts of the brain that produce motor movements. Subsequent research results similarly led to the conclusion that, in conversion disorder, regions of the brain involved in emotional response may “hijack” (Voon, Brezing, Gallea, & Hallett, 2011, p. 2402) the brain’s normal systems for controlling movements of the body. This research employed a technology unimaginable in Freud’s day. But it revealed exactly the sort of connection between emotion and bodily movement that he had in mind all along. THE INDIVIDUAL IN SOCIETY A second major aspect of Freud’s view of the person concerns the relation between the individual and society. Freud’s view contrasts with an alternative perspective that had been central to Western culture. The alternative sees people as essentially good. Society, however, corrupts them. People are born innocent but experience a world of temptations and fall from grace. This is the story of the Old Testament: Adam and Eve, created in God’s image, are born with inherent innocence and goodness but are corrupted through the temptation of Satan. This view also is prominent is Western philosophy. The great French philosopher Rousseau argued that, prior to the development of contemporary civilization, people were relatively content and experienced primarily feelings of compassion toward others. Civilization, he thought, changed things for the worse by creating competition for resources that, in turn, fostered feelings of jealousy and suspicion. Freud turned this conception on its head. In psychoanalysis, sexual and aggressive drives are an inborn part of human nature. Individuals, functioning according to a pleasure principle, seek the pleasurable gratification of those drives. The role of society is to curb these biologically natural tendencies. A major function of “civilization [is] to restrict sexual life” (Freud, 1930/1949, p. 51). Society teaches the child that biologically naturally drives are socially unacceptable, and society maintains social norms and taboos that drive this lesson home. Civilized society, then, does not cause innocent children to “fall from grace.” Children are far from grace when born; they possess erotic desires and aggressive drives that society takes steps to restrict. The response of civilization to these sexual drives of the individual is akin to the response of a politically dominant segment of society trying to maintain its power against a suppressed underclass: “fear of a revolt by the suppressed elements drives it to stricter precautionary measures” (Freud, 1930/1949, p. 51). Freud’s overall theory, then, includes not only a radical view of the mind but also this equally radical rethinking of the relation between the individual and society. FREUD’S VIEW OF THE SCIENCE OF PERSONALITY Freud’s view of science, within the study of personality, is complex. On the one hand, he was completely committed to a natural science of persons. Physics was his model. Freud was “passionately committed to a scientific model that would mirror physics, the paragon of the natural sciences (Tauber, 2010, p. 27). This commitment caused Freud to appreciate the relationship between theory and research, and the need for theoretical concepts that are sharply defined. Yet, in the conduct of his work, Freud proceeded in ways that you might not expect for someone so thoroughly committed to a scientific worldview. Scientists often construct theories carefully and only after accumulating great bodies of evidence. Freud, however, theorized boldly. He created a theory of enormous breadth, based on a body of evidence—his encounters with his patients—that was relatively narrow. Freud looked forward to scientific advances, in his lifetime and beyond, that might confirm his core insights. A second way in which Freud’s work violates one’s expectations about a scientific worldview concerns the type of data that he did, and did not, draw upon. Unlike all the other personality theorists you will learn about in this book, Freud neither ran experiments in a laboratory nor created or used standard psychological tests. He placed faith in only one of the three forms of evidence you learned about in Chapter 2: case study evidence. Freud analyzed case studies via the method of free association. This evidence, he felt, was necessary and sufficient for building a scientific theory of personality. The free-association method pursued by Freud and his followers provided a wealth of information about individual clients. Probably no other method in psychology even approximates the information about the individual that is yielded in a psychoanalytic case study. Yet contemporary scientists generally doubt that the evidence it yields is sufficient for theory building. They particularly question Freud’s lack of interest in laboratory research. “Instead of training scientists,” one scholar writes, “Freud ended up training practitioners in a relatively fixed system of ideas” (Sulloway, 1991, p. 275). Only after Freud’s lifetime did large numbers of research psychologists investigate the psychoanalytic phenomena through experimental methods; you’ll see their findings later in our coverage of psychoanalytic theory. FREUD’S PSYCHOANALYTIC THEORY OF PERSONALITY Chapter 1 explained that personality theories address personality (1) structures, (2) processes, and (3) development. Let’s see how Freud’s theory addresses these three topics now. STRUCTURE Freud’s goal in analyzing personality structure was to provide a conceptual model for understanding the human mind. He asked, “What are the basic structures of the mind, and what do they do?” The highly original answers he provided are complex. Freud provided not one but two conceptual models of the mind; the models complemented one another. One model addressed levels of consciousness: Are the contents of mind something that we are aware of (conscious) or not (unconscious)? The other concerns functional systems in the mind: What does a given mental system do? We review these models in turn. CURRENT QUESTIONS WHAT PRICE THE SUPPRESSION OF EXCITING THOUGHTS? Freud suggested that the price of progress in civilization is increased inhibition of the pleasure principle and a heightened sense of guilt. Does civilization require such an inhibition? What are the costs to the individual of efforts to suppress wishes and inhibit “unbridled gratification” of desires? Research by Daniel Wegner and his associates suggests that the suppression of exciting thoughts may be involved in the production of negative emotional responses and the development of psychological symptoms such as phobias (irrational fears) and obsessions (preoccupation with uncontrollable thoughts). In this research, subjects were told not to think about sex. Trying not to think about sex produced emotional arousal, just as it did in subjects given permission to think about sex. Although arousal decreased after a few minutes in both groups, what followed differed for subjects in the two groups. In the first group, the effort to suppress exciting thoughts led to the intrusion of these thoughts into consciousness and the reintroduction of surges of emotion. This was not found when subjects were given the opportunity to think about sex. The researchers suggest that the suppression of exciting thoughts can promote excitement; that is, the very act of suppression may make these thoughts even more stimulating than when we purposefully dwell on them. In sum, such efforts at suppression may not serve us well either emotionally or psychologically. Source: Petrie, Booth, & Pennebaker, 1998; Wegner, 1992, 1994; Wegner et al., 1990. Levels of Consciousness and the Concept of the Unconscious What’s going on in your mind? What thoughts are in your head? We generally answer this question by paying attention to our flow of thinking; for example, right now you may be thinking about the material in this chapter or about things you would prefer to be doing if you didn’t have to read this chapter for class. This flow of thoughts—the mental contents that you are aware of just by paying attention to your own thinking—are called “conscious” thoughts. One of Freud’s great insights is that the flow of conscious thoughts is not a complete answer to the question, What’s going on in your mind? Far from it. To Freud, conscious thoughts are just a fragment of mental contents—a tip of the iceberg. According to psychoanalytic theory, there are substantial variations in the degree to which we are aware of mental phenomena. Freud proposed three levels of awareness. The conscious level, as noted, includes thoughts of which we are aware at any given moment. A preconscious level contains mental contents of which we easily could become aware if we attended to them. For example, before reading the present sentence, you probably were not thinking about your phone number; it was not part of your consciousness. But you easily could think of your phone number (indeed, you may be doing so right now!); it is a simple matter to attend to information that is in the preconscious and to bring it to consciousness. The third level is the unconscious. Unconscious mental contents are parts of the mind of which we are unaware and cannot become aware except under special circumstances. Why not? According to Freud, it is because they are anxiety provoking. We possess thoughts and desires that are so traumatic or socially unacceptable that consciously thinking about them provokes anxiety. “The reason why such ideas cannot become conscious is that a certain force opposes them” (Freud, 1923, p. 4). Our desire to protect ourselves from the anxiety these thoughts elicit forces them to reside outside of conscious awareness, in the unconscious. Freud was not the first person to recognize that parts of mental life are unconscious. He was, however, the first to explore qualities of unconscious life in scientific detail and to explain a range of everyday behavior in terms of unconscious mental forces. How did he do this? Freud attempted to understand the properties of the unconscious by analyzing a variety of psychological phenomena: slips of the tongue, neuroses, psychoses, works of art, rituals. Of particular importance was his analysis of dreams. Dreams The content of dreams vividly reveals that the mind contains unconscious contents that differ dramatically from conscious thinking. In psychoanalytic theory, dreams have two levels of content: a manifest content, which is the storyline of a dream; and a latent content, which consists of the unconscious ideas, emotions, and drives that are manifested in the dream’s storyline. What Freud found in analyzing dreams is that unconscious life can be utterly bizarre. The unconscious is alogical (opposites can stand for the same thing). It disregards time (events of different periods may coexist). It disregards space (size and distance relationships are neglected so that large things fit into small things and distant places are brought together). It deals in a world of symbols, where many ideas may be telescoped into a single word and where a part of any object may stand for many things. Through processes of symbolization, a penis can be represented by a snake or nose; a woman by a church, chapel, or boat; and an engulfing mother by an octopus. An everyday action such as writing may symbolize a sexual act: The pen is the male organ and the paper is the woman who receives the ink (the semen) that flows out in the quick up-and-down movements of the pen (Groddeck, 1961). In The Book of the It, Groddeck gives many fascinating examples of the workings of the unconscious and offers the following as an example of the functioning of the unconscious in his own life. I cannot recall her [my nurse’s] appearance. I know nothing more than her name, Bertha, the shining one. But I have a clear recollection of the day she went away. As a parting present she gave me a copper three-pfennig piece. A Dreier…. Since that day I have been pursued by the number three. Words like trinity, triangle, triple alliance, convey some thing disreputable to me, and not merely the words but the ideas attached to them, yes, and the whole complex of ideas built up around them by the capricious brain of a child. For this reason, the Holy Ghost, as the Third Person of the Trinity, was already suspect to me in early childhood; trigonometry was a plague in my school days…. Yes, three is a sort of fatal number for me. Source: GRODDECK, 1923/1961, p. 9 Freud’s theory of dreams had a second component. In addition to positing two levels of dreams—their manifest and latent content—Freud proposed a particular relation between the two levels. The latent content consists of unconscious wishes. The manifest content is a wish fulfillment; the storyline of the dream (the manifest content) symbolically represents the fulfillment of unconscious wishes that it may be impossible to fulfill in everyday waking life. In the dream, the person can satisfy a hostile or sexual wish in a disguised and therefore safe way. A vengeful unconscious desire to kill someone, for example, may be expressed in a dream of a battle in which a particular figure is killed. In The Interpretation of Dreams, Freud analyzes a large number of dreams in the style of a detective, with each element of the dream treated as a clue to the underlying wish that the dream represents, but in disguised form. The Motivated Unconscious Although Freud believed the unconscious to be a region of mind that stores mental contents, it is critical to recognize that the nature of the storage is very different than, for example, the storage of books in a library. In a library, books are assigned their place based on logical grounds (a library classification system). Once on the shelf, the books just sit there doing nothing (until someone takes one off the shelf). The unconscious is nothing like this. It is not purely logical. And the material does not “just sit there.” The unconscious is highly motivated. Motivational principles come into play in two respects. First, mental contents enter the unconscious for motivated reasons. The unconscious stores ideas that are so traumatic that, if they were to remain in conscious awareness, they would cause psychological pain. These thoughts might include, for example, memories of traumatic life experiences; feelings of envy, hostility, or sexual desire directed toward a forbidden person; or a desire to harm a loved one. In keeping with our basic desire to pursue pleasure and avoid pain, we are motivated to banish such thoughts from awareness. Second, thoughts in the unconscious influence ongoing conscious experience. Indeed, that statement may be the best one-line summary of Freud’s fundamental message to the world. Our ongoing psychological experiences—our conscious thoughts, feelings, and actions—are, according to Freud, fundamentally determined by mental contents of which we are unaware, the contents of the unconscious. Why did we have a strange slip of the tongue? A dream that seems to make no sense? A sudden experience of anxiety when nothing anxiety provoking seemed to be happening? Strong feelings of attraction toward, or repulsion from, someone we just met? Feelings of guilt that seem irrational because we can’t figure out anything that we did wrong? All such cases, to Freud, are motivated by unconscious mental forces. Relevant Psychoanalytic Research The unconscious is never observed directly. What evidence, then, supports the idea of an unconscious part of the mind? Let us review the range of evidence that might be considered supportive of the concept of the unconscious, beginning with Freud’s clinical observations. Freud realized the importance of the unconscious after observing hypnotic phenomena. As is well known, people under hypnosis can recall things they previously could not. Furthermore, they perform actions under posthypnotic suggestion without consciously knowing that they are behaving in accordance with that suggestion; that is, they fully believe that what they are doing is voluntary and independent of any suggestion by another person. When Freud discarded the technique of hypnosis and continued with his therapeutic work, he found that often patients became aware of memories and wishes previously buried. Frequently, such discoveries were associated with painful emotion. It is indeed a powerful clinical observation to see a patient suddenly experience tremendous anxiety, sob hysterically, or break into a rage as he or she recalls a forgotten event or gets in touch with a forbidden feeling. Thus, it was clinical observations such as these that suggested to Freud that the unconscious includes memories and wishes that not only are not currently part of our consciousness but are “deliberately buried” in our unconscious. While some slips of the tongue may represent merely a confusion among choice of words, others seem to illustrate Freud’s suggestion that slips express hidden wishes. What of experimental evidence? In the 1960s and 1970s, experimental research focused on unconscious perception or what was called perception without awareness. Can the person “know” something without knowing that he or she knows it? For example, can the person hear or perceive stimuli, and be influenced by these perceptions, without being aware of these perceptions? Currently this is known as subliminal perception, or the registration of stimuli at a level below that required for awareness. For example, in some early research one group of subjects was shown a picture with a duck image shaped by the branches of a tree. Another was shown a similar picture but without the duck image. For both groups the picture was presented at a rapid speed so that it was barely visible. This was done using a tachistoscope, an apparatus that allows the experimenter to show stimuli to subjects at very fast speeds, so that they cannot be consciously perceived. The subjects then were asked to close their eyes, imagine a nature scene, draw the scene, and label the parts. Would the two groups differ, that is, would subjects in the group “seeing” the picture with the duck image draw different pictures than would subjects in the other group? And, if so, would such a difference be associated with differential recall as to what was perceived? What was found was that more of the subjects viewing the duck picture had significantly more duck-related images (e.g., “duck,” “water,” “birds,” “feathers”) in their drawings than did subjects in the other group. However, these subjects did not report seeing the duck during the experiment, and the majority even had trouble finding it when they were asked to look for it. In other words, the stimuli that were not consciously perceived still influenced the imagery and thoughts of the subjects (Eagle, Wolitzky, & Klein, 1966). The mere fact that people can perceive and be influenced by stimuli of which they are unaware does not suggest that psychodynamic or motivational forces are involved. Is there evidence that such is or can be the case? Two relevant lines of research can be noted. The first, called perceptual defense, involves a process by which the individual defends against the anxiety that accompanies actual recognition of a threatening stimulus. In a relevant early experiment, subjects were shown two types of words in a tachistoscope: neutral words such as apple, dance, and child and emotionally toned words such as rape, whore, and penis. The words were shown first at very fast speeds and then at progressively slower speeds. A record was made of the point at which the subjects were able to identify each of the words and their sweat gland activity (a measure of tension) in response to each word. These records indicated that subjects took longer to recognize the emotionally toned words than the neutral words and showed signs of emotional response to the emotionally toned words before they were verbally identified (McGinnies, 1949). Despite criticism of such research (e.g., Did subjects identify the emotionally toned words earlier but were reluctant to verbalize them to the experimenter?), there appears to be considerable evidence that people can, outside of awareness, selectively respond to and reject specific emotional stimuli (Erdelyi, 1985). Another line of research has examined a phenomenon called subliminal psychodynamic activation (Silverman, 1976, 1982; Weinberger, 1992). In this work, researchers attempt to stimulate unconscious wishes without making them conscious. This generally is done by presenting material that is related to either threatening or anxiety-alleviating unconscious wishes and then observing participants’ subsequent reactions. The material is shown for extremely brief periods of time, in theory, long enough to activate the unconscious wish but short enough so that it is not recognized consciously. In the case of threatening wishes, the material is expected to stir up unconscious conflict and thus to increase psychological disturbance. In the case of an anxiety-alleviating wish, the material is expected to diminish unconscious conflict and thus to decrease psychological disturbance. For example, the content “I Am Losing Mommy” might be upsetting to some subjects, whereas the content “Mommy and I Are One” might be reassuring. In a series of studies, Silverman and colleagues produced such subliminal psychodynamic activation effects. In one study, this method was used to present conflict-intensifying material (“Loving Daddy Is Wrong”) and conflict-reducing material (“Loving Daddy Is OK”) to female undergraduates. For subjects prone to conflict over sexual urges, the conflict-intensifying material, presented outside of awareness, was found to disrupt memory for passages presented after the subliminal activation of the conflict. This was not true for the conflict-reducing material or for subjects not prone to conflict over sexual urges (Geisler, 1986). The key point here is that the content that is upsetting or relieving to various groups of subjects is predicted beforehand on the basis of psychoanalytic theory and that the effects occur only when the stimuli are perceived subliminally or unconsciously. Another interesting use of the subliminal psychodynamic activation model involves the study of eating disorders. In the first study in this area, healthy college-age women and women with signs of eating disorders were compared in terms of how many crackers they would eat following subliminal presentation of three messages: “Mama Is Leaving Me,” “Mama Is Loaning It,” “Mona Is Loaning It” (Patton, 1992). Based on psychoanalytic theory, the hypothesis tested was that subjects with an eating disorder struggle with feelings of loss and abandonment in relation to nurturance and therefore would seek substitute gratification in the form of eating the crackers once the conflict was activated subliminally through the message “Mama Is Leaving Me.” Indeed, the eating disorder subjects who received the abandonment stimulus (“Mama Is Leaving Me”) below threshold showed significantly more cracker eating than subjects without an eating disorder or subjects with an eating disorder exposed to the abandonment stimulus above threshold. This study was replicated with the additional use of pictorial stimuli—a picture of a sobbing baby and a woman walking away along with the “Mommy Is Leaving Me” message and a picture of a woman walking along with the neutral stimulus, in this case “Mommy Is Walking.” Once more, significantly more crackers were eaten by the women with eating disorders subliminally exposed to the abandonment phrase and picture than by the women with eating disorders exposed to these stimuli above threshold or by the women without an eating disorder exposed to the stimuli above or below threshold (Gerard, Kupper, & Nguyen, 1993). Some view the research on perceptual defense and subliminal psychodynamic activation as conclusive experimental evidence of the importance of psychodynamic, motivational factors in determining what is “deposited into” and “kept in” the unconscious (Weinberger, 1992). However, the experiments have frequently been criticized on methodological grounds, and at times some of the effects have been difficult to replicate or reproduce in other laboratories (Balay & Shevrin, 1988, 1989; Holender, 1986). Current Status of the Concept of the Unconscious The concept of a motivated unconscious is central to psychoanalytic theory. But how is this idea viewed more generally by psychologists in the field? At this point almost all psychologists, whether psychoanalytic or otherwise, would agree that many mental events occur outside of conscious awareness and that unconscious processes influence what we attend to and how we feel. A leading researcher who is not a follower of psychoanalytic theory concluded that “unconscious influences are ubiquitous. It is clear that people sometimes consciously plan and act. More often than not, however, behavior is influenced by unconscious processes; that is, we act and then, if questioned, make our excuses” (Jacoby, Lindsay, & Toth, 1992, p. 82). This viewpoint is supported by research, such as work in which researchers present words related to people’s unconscious themes for such a brief period of time that the words cannot be perceived consciously. The fact that people respond distinctively to those words implies that unconscious processes are at play (Luborsky & Barrett, 2006). So does this mean that most contemporary psychologists are Fredians? Not at all. Research does indicate that much of mental life occurs outside of consciousness. But, as many writers emphasize (e.g., Kihlstrom, 2002), this fact does not necessarily support Sigmund Freud’s particular conception of the unconscious—a conception based on an energy model of mind and in which two primary forms of unconscious mental energy drive a spectrum of psychological processes. CURRENT APPLICATIONS MOTIVATED UNCONSCIOUS PROCESSES IN POLITICAL JUDGMENTS When you think about candidates for political office, how do you think? Are your thoughts analytical, rational, and calm—free from emotions and motivations that might color your conclusions? Freud’s theory of personality suggests that our thinking is never free from emotional and motivational biases. Just as we psychologically defend against information threatening to ourselves, we may defend against information threatening to our favored candidates. Evidence of this comes from research conducted during a U.S. presidential election (Westen, Blagov, Havenski, Kilts, & Hamann, 2006). Researchers presented to participants information threatening to one of three target persons: (1) a political candidate they favored, (2) the opposing candidate, or (3) a well-known but neutral figure (e.g., a famous athlete). While they were exposed to, and made judgments about, this information, participants’ brain activity was recorded using fMRI. Participants’ psychological and biological responses differed depending on whether the threatening information related to their favored candidate. First, consider the psychology. When thinking about information threatening to their favored candidate, participants were defensive. They judged that such information cast a bad light on the opposing candidate, but that it did not have the same negative implications for their favored candidate. And what about the biology? When participants were making judgments about information threatening to their preferred candidate, regions of the brain associated with emotional response were particularly active. Emotional reactions, then, appeared to drive defensive information processing. Another study provides evidence not only that motivated reasoning about political candidates can occur, but that it can occur unconsciously (Weinberger & Westen, 2008). This research built on earlier evidence that stimuli presented subliminally (outside of awareness) can affect the likability ratings of a target presented afterward in awareness. The research was inspired by an actual 2000 Bush campaign advertisement, which subliminally presented (perhaps accidentally) the word RATS in association with Democrats. Could such a subliminal (unconscious) presentation affect one’s political views? In this research, conducted over the Internet, subjects completed an information page and then were presented with one of four subliminal stimuli: RATS, STAR (rats spelled backward), ARAB, or XXXX, followed by a photograph of a young man above perceptual threshold. Next, subjects were asked to evaluate the young man, presented as a political candidate, on a number of characteristics (e.g., honesty, competence, appeal as a candidate). Would the subliminal presentation of the four stimuli lead to different judgments concerning the supposed candidate? First, the investigators checked whether the participants could perceive the subliminal stimulus and threw out the data for the few for whom this was the case. In other words, the results pertained only to those subjects for whom the subliminal stimuli of interest were indeed perceived outside of awareness. Would the four subliminal stimuli affect ratings of the “candidate”? Would the effect be the same? As predicted, subliminal presentation of the RATS stimulus led to a more negative evaluation of the hypothetical candidate than did any of the other stimuli. In other words, there could be unconscious processing of information that affected subsequent judgments. In sum, the two experiments together supported the psychoanalytic view of motivated unconscious processing of information. Striking contemporary evidence of unconscious influences on everyday behavior comes from work by the social psychologist John Bargh and his colleagues (Bargh, 1997). For example, in one experiment research participants worked on a task with another individual. Unbeknownst to the participant, the other individual was part of the study—an experimental confederate. This confederate exhibited very poor abilities on the task. In this setting, then, the participant faced two conflicting goals. On the one hand, there is the goal of achieving: One is supposed to perform as well as possible. On the other hand, there is a personal or affiliation goal: Performing well might make the other person, who is doing poorly, feel bad, so one might achieve the goal of affiliating with the individual by lowering one’s own performance. Bargh and colleagues (Bargh & Barndollar, 1996) manipulated the goals in a manner that did not call participants’ conscious attention to them. Prior to the study, participants were asked to complete a word puzzle. In different experimental conditions, the words in the puzzle were related either to achievement or to affiliation. The idea is that the words would activate one versus the other goal, even if participants were unaware that this activation of goal contents was occurring. As predicted, compared to affiliation goals, activating achievement goals in the word puzzle caused participants to solve more problems when working on the task with the other individual. Importantly, participants in the study did not report being aware of the influence of the word puzzle task. Thus, their actions were caused by a goal of which they were not consciously aware. The Psychoanalytic Unconscious and the Cognitive Unconscious The previously discussed study and many others like it bring up an important point. On the one hand, the study demonstrates nonconscious influences on behavior, as Freud would have predicted. On the other hand, the content of the unconscious material in the study had little, if anything, to do with the material studied by Freud. Bargh and colleagues did not manipulate thoughts of sex or aggression. They did not study people’s emotional reactions to material of deep psychological significance. Instead, they manipulated everyday social goals on a mundane laboratory task. Their findings, then, indicate the existence of unconscious influences, but these are unconscious influences that may have little to do with the psychological experiences discussed by Freud. This distinction—between the traumatic sexual and aggressive unconscious content of interest to Freud, and the relatively mundane unconscious content studied by many contemporary researchers in personality and social psychology—suggests that one should distinguish between the psychoanalytic unconscious and what has been called the cognitive unconscious (Kihlstrom, 2008; Pervin, 2003). As we have seen, the psychoanalytic view of the unconscious emphasizes the irrational, illogical nature of unconscious functioning. In addition, analysts presume that the contents of the unconscious mainly involve sexual and aggressive thoughts, feelings, and motives. Finally, analysts emphasize that what is in the unconscious is there for motivated reasons, and these contents exert a motivational influence on daily behavior. In contrast to this perspective, according to the cognitive view of the unconscious there is no fundamental difference in quality between unconscious and conscious processes. According to this view, unconscious processes can be as intelligent, logical, and rational as conscious processes. Second, the cognitive view of the unconscious emphasizes the variety of contents that may be unconscious, with no special significance associated with sexual and aggressive contents. Third, related to this perspective, the cognitive view of the unconscious does not emphasize motivational factors. According to the cognitive view, cognitions are unconscious because they cannot be processed at the conscious level, because they never reached consciousness, or because they have become overly routinized and automatic. For example, tying one’s shoe is so automatic that we no longer are aware of just how we do it. We act similarly with typing and where letters are on the keyboard. Many of our cultural beliefs were learned in such subtle ways that we cannot even spell them out as beliefs. As noted in Chapter 1, we are not even aware of them until we meet members of a different culture. However, such unconscious contents are not kept there for motivated reasons. Nor do they necessarily exert a motivational influence on our behavior, although such an influence is possible. Indeed, there is a growing literature on what are called implicit motives, that is, motives that operate outside of awareness, as distinguished from explicit motives that operate within awareness. It is interesting that measures of conscious, explicit motives and measures of unconscious, implicit motives have little relation to one another and predict different kinds of behavior (Schultheiss, 2008). Finally, there is evidence that subliminal stimuli can affect our thoughts and feelings, but these stimuli need not be of special psychodynamic significance such as a threatening wish (Klinger & Greenwald, 1995; Nash, 1999) (Table 3.1). TABLE 3.1 Comparison of Two Views of the Unconscious: Psychoanalytic and Cognitive Psychoanalytic View Emphasis on illogical, irrational unconscious processes Content emphasis on motives and wishes Emphasis on motivated aspects of unconscious functioning Cognitive View Absence of fundamental difference between conscious and unconscious processes Content emphasis on thoughts Focus on nonmotivated aspects of unconscious functioning Many of these contrasting views are captured in the following statement by J. F. Kihlstrom, a leading proponent of the cognitive view of the unconscious: The psychological unconscious documented by latter-day psychology is quite different from what Sigmund Freud and his psychoanalytic colleagues had in mind in Vienna. Their unconscious was hot and wet; it seethed with lust and anger; it was hallucinatory, primitive, and irrational. The unconscious of contemporary psychology is kinder and gentler than that and more readily bound and rational, even if it is not entirely cold and dry. Source: KIHLSTROM, BARNHARDT, & TATARYN, 1992, p. 788 Although efforts have been made to integrate the psychoanalytic and cognitive views of the unconscious (Bornstein & Masling, 1998; Epstein, 1994; Westen & Gabbard, 1999), differences remain. In sum, although the importance of unconscious phenomena is recognized and the investigation of such phenomena has become a major area of research, the uniquely psychoanalytic view of the unconscious remains questionable for many, perhaps most, nonpsychoanalytic investigators. Concurrent with these differing views, research on the brain by neuroscientists (Chapter 9) has come upon findings of interest to both psychoanalysts and cognitive scientists. First, there is evidence that events of early childhood may leave an emotional memory that influences later functioning without the person having a conscious memory of the event. This is because a part of the brain, the amygdala, is involved at that point in time but prior to the development of more mature brain structures involved in memory, such as the hippocampus (Nadel, 2005). Beyond this, there is evidence of neural systems that are capable of keeping unwanted memories out of awareness, the kind of motivated forgetting emphasized by psychoanalysts (Anderson et al., 2004). Findings such as these will help to clarify just which parts of the psychoanalytic and cognitive views of the unconscious make most scientific sense. Id, Ego, and Superego In 1923, Freud significantly augmented his theorizing by presenting a second model of mind. He did not abandon his prior distinctions among conscious, preconscious, and unconscious regions of mind, yet he judged that “these distinctions have proved to be inadequate” (Freud, 1923, p. 7). The inadequacy was the following. For Freud there seemed to exist a psychological agency (the ego, see below) that had two important qualities. On the one hand, it was unitary in its functioning. It did a single type of thing in a coherent, consistent manner. Yet, on the other hand, it varied in its degree of consciousness. Sometimes its functioning involved conscious processes, but sometimes it functioned unconsciously. This clearly was a problem for psychoanalytic theory. Freud needed to capture the unitary quality of this psychological agency, and the distinction among levels of consciousness did not do it. Freud needed another conceptual tool. The one he forged proved to be among the most enduringly important features of psychoanalytic theory: the distinction among the id, the ego, and the superego. Each is a distinct mental system that carries out a particular type of psychological function. The id is the original source of all drive energy—the “great reservoir” (Freud, 1923, p. 20) of mental energies. The psychological functions toward which the id directs these energies are very simple. The id seeks the release of excitation or tension. It carries out a mental function described previously: the reduction of tension in order to return to a quiet internal state. In carrying out this function, the id operates according to the pleasure principle, which is particularly simple to define: The id pursues pleasure and avoids pain. The point is that the id does not do anything else. It does not devise plans and strategies for obtaining pleasure or wait patiently for a particularly pleasing object to appear. It does not concern itself with social norms and rules; “it is totally non-moral” (Freud, 1923, p. 40). The id seeks immediate release of tension, no matter what. The id cannot tolerate frustration. It is free of inhibitions. It has qualities of a spoiled child: It wants what it wants when it wants it. The id seeks satisfaction in either of two ways: through action or merely through imagining that it has gotten what it wants. To the id, the fantasy of gratification is as good as the actual gratification. In terms of the regions of mind outlined previously by Freud, the id functions entirely outside of conscious awareness. It is “unknown and unconscious” (Freud, 1923, p. 14). In marked contrast to the id is the superego. The functions of the superego involve the moral aspects of social behavior. The superego contains ideals for which we strive, as well as ethical standards that will cause us to feel guilt if we violate them. The superego, then, is an internal representation of the moral rules of the external, social world. It functions to control behavior in accord with these rules, offering rewards (pride, self-love) for “good” behavior and punishments (guilt, feelings of inferiority) for “bad” behavior. The superego may function on a very primitive level, being relatively incapable of reality testing—that is, of modifying its action depending on circumstances. In such cases, the person is unable to distinguish between thought and action, feeling guilty for thinking something even if it did not lead to action. Furthermore, the individual is bound by black–white, all–none judgments and by the pursuit of perfection. Excessive use of words such as good, bad, judgment, and trial express a strict superego. But the superego can also be understanding and flexible. For example, people may be able to forgive themselves or someone else if it is clear that something was an accident or done under severe stress. In the course of development, children learn to make such important distinctions and to see things not only in all-or-none, but also right-or-wrong, black-or-white terms. The third psychoanalytic structure is the ego. Whereas the id seeks pleasure and the superego seeks perfection, the ego seeks reality. The ego’s function is to express and satisfy the desires of the id in accordance with two things: opportunities and constraints that exist in the real world, and the demands of the superego. Whereas the id operates according to the pleasure principle, the ego operates according to the reality principle: Gratification of the instincts is delayed until a time when something in reality enables one to obtain maximum pleasure with the least pain or negative consequences. As a simple example, sexual drives in the id may impel you to make a sexual advance toward someone you find attractive. But the ego may stop you from acting impulsively; the ego would monitor reality, judging whether there is any chance that you might actually succeed and delaying action until it develops a strategy that might bring success. According to the reality principle, the energy of the id may be blocked, diverted, or released gradually, all in accordance with the demands of reality and the superego. Such an operation does not contradict the pleasure principle but, rather, represents a temporary suspension of it. The ego has capabilities that the id does not. The ego can distinguish fantasy from reality. It can tolerate tension and create compromises through rational thought. Unlike the id, it changes over time, with more complex ego functions developing over the course of childhood. Psychoanalytic Theory: Freud emphasized the concepts of id, ego, and superego as structures of personality. Although the ego may sound like the decision-making “chief executive” of personality, Freud thought that the ego was weaker than the metaphor of an “executive” implies. The ego instead is “like a man on horseback, who has to hold in check the superior strength of the horse” (Freud, 1923, p. 15). It is the horse (the id) who provides all the energy. The rider tries to direct it, but, ultimately, the more powerful beast may end up going wherever it wants. In sum, Freud’s ego is logical, rational, and tolerant of tension. In its actions, it must conform to the dictates of three masters: the id, the superego, and the world of reality. The concepts of conscious, unconscious, id, ego, and superego are highly abstract. Freud knew this. He did not intend to imply that there are three gremlinlike beings running around in your head. Instead, he judged that mental life involves the execution of three distinct psychological functions, and he posited an abstract mental system that executes each of the functions. The nature of these structures becomes clearer and less abstract when one also considers the psychological processes through which their functions are carried out. We turn to these processes now. PROCESS The p ocess aspects of personality theory are, as we have noted, concerned with motivational dynamics. Freud’s view of mental (psychic) energy is thoroughly biological. In psychoanalytic theory, the source of all psychic energy lies in states of excitation within the body. These states seek expression and tension reduction. These states are called instincts, or drives. Though both words have been used when Freud’s writing has been translated into English, the term drive captures Freud’s idea better than does the term instinct. The word instinct commonly is used to describe a fixed pattern of action (e.g., a bird instinctually builds a nest). In contrast, a drive is a source of energy that can motivate any of a variety of specific actions depending on the opportunities and constraints that are presented in a given environment. This idea, of drives, is what Freud had in mind when discussing personality processes. Within this framework, two questions naturally arise: (1) How many basic human instinctual drives are there, and what are they? (2) What happens to the energy associated with these drives? In other words, how is it expressed in everyday experience and action? Freud answers the first question by presenting a theory of life and death instincts. He answers the second by analyzing the dynamics of functioning and mechanisms of defense. Life and Death Instincts Daily life consists of a wide array of activities: work, time with friends, education, time with romantic partners, sports, arts, music, and so forth. Since most people engage in each of these activities, one might suppose that there is a basic human instinct for each one (an instinct to work, to have friends, to become educated, etc.). But this sort of “multi-instinct model” is not the sort of theory that Freud pursued. Instead, throughout his career, Freud tried to explain the diversity of human activity in terms of a very small number of instincts. He tried to achieve theoretical parsimony (as we discussed in Chapter 1), with the diverse complexities of human behavior being understood through a relatively simple theoretical formulation. Freud’s thoughts about the exact nature of mental drives changed during his career. In an earlier view, he proposed ego instincts, relating to tendencies toward self-preservation, and sexual instincts, relating to tendencies toward preservation of the species. In a later view—which stands as the final, classic psychoanalytic model—there were still two instincts, but they were the life instinct and death instinct. The life instinct includes drives associated previously with both the earlier ego and sexual instincts; in other words, the life instinct impels people toward the preservation and reproduction of the organism. Freud gave a name to the energy of the life instinct: libido. The death instinct is the very opposite of the life instinct. It involves the aim of the organism to die or return to an inorganic state. At an intuitive level, it may immediately strike you that the notion of a “death instinct” is unusual, if not implausible. Why would people have an instinct to die? Such intuitions would match those of many psychologists, including many psychoanalysts; the death instinct remains one of the most controversial and least accepted parts of psychoanalytic theory. Yet the idea of a death instinct was consistent with some ideas of 19th-century biology with which Freud was familiar (Sulloway, 1979); it reflected Freud’s idea that a basic tendency of the organism is to seek a state of calmness. It also is consistent with observations of the human condition. Sadly, many people escape psychological problems through suicide, which can be understood as a manifestation of a drive to die. Furthermore, Freud felt that the death instinct was often turned away from oneself and directed toward others in acts of aggression. This occurs so commonly that some analysts refer to the instinct as an aggressive instinct. This model of motivation processes is highly integrated with Freud’s model of psychoanalytic structures. The sexual and aggressive drives are parts of one of the psychoanalytic structures, namely, the id. The id, as you will recall, is the first of the personality structures, that is, the one with which we are born. An implication, then, is that sexual and aggressive drives are part of the basic human nature with which we are born. We do not have to learn to have sexual and aggressive drives; we are born with them. To Freud, our psychological lives are essentially powered by these two basic drives. The Dynamics of Functioning If one posits only two instinctual drives, one faces an intellectual puzzle: How can one account for the diversity of motivated human activities, many of which do not seem obviously related to sex or aggression? Freud’s creative solution to this problem was to posit that a given instinctual drive could be expressed in a wide variety of ways, that the mechanisms of the mind can redirect the energy to diverse activities. In the dynamics of functioning, what exactly can happen to one’s instincts? They can, at least temporarily, be blocked from expression, expressed in a modified way, or expressed without modification. For example, affection may be a modified expression of the sexual instinct, and sarcasm a modified expression of the aggressive instinct. It is also possible for the object of gratification of the instinct to be changed or displaced from the original object to another object. Thus, the love of one’s mother may be displaced to the wife, children, or dog. Each instinct may be transformed or modified, and the instincts can combine with one another. Football, for example, can gratify both sexual and aggressive instincts; in surgery there can be the fusion of love and destruction. It should already be clear how psychoanalytic theory is able to account for so much behavior on the basis of only two instincts. It is the fluid, mobile, changing qualities of the instincts and their many alternative kinds of gratification that allow such variability in behavior. In essence, the same instinct can be gratified in a number of ways, and the same behavior can have different causes in different people. Virtually every process in psychoanalytic theory can be described in terms of the expenditure of energy in an object or in terms of a force inhibiting the expenditure of energy, that is, inhibiting gratification of an instinct. Because inhibition involves an expenditure of energy, people who direct much of their efforts toward it end up feeling tired and bored. The interplay between expression and inhibition of instincts forms the foundation of the dynamic aspects of psychoanalytic theory. The key to this theory is the concept of anxiety. In psychoanalytic theory, anxiety is a painful emotional experience representing a threat or danger to the person. In a state of “free-floating” anxiety, individuals are unable to relate their state of tension to a specific danger; in contrast, in a state of fear, the source of threat is known. According to the theory, anxiety represents a painful emotion that acts as a signal of impending danger to the ego; that is, anxiety, an ego function, alerts the ego to danger so that it can act. The psychoanalytic theory of anxiety states that at some point the person experiences a trauma, an incident of harm or injury. Anxiety represents a repetition of the earlier traumatic experience but in miniature form. Anxiety in the present, then, is related to an earlier danger. For example, a child may be severely punished for some sexual or aggressive act. Later in life, this person may experience anxiety in association with the inclination to perform the same sexual or aggressive act. The earlier punishment (trauma) may or may not be remembered. In structural terms, what is suggested is that anxiety develops out of a conflict between the push of the id instincts and the threat of punishment by the superego. That is, it is as if the id says, “I want it,” the superego says, “How terrible,” and the ego says, “I’m afraid.” Anxiety, Mechanisms of Defense, and Contemporary Research on Defensive Processes Anxiety is such a painful state that we are incapable of tolerating it for very long. How are we to deal with such a state? If, as Freud suggests, our minds harbor sexual and aggressive instincts that are socially unacceptable, then how do we manage not to be anxious all the time? Freud’s answer to this question constitutes one of the most enduring aspects of his theory of personality. He proposed that we mentally defend ourselves against anxiety-provoking thoughts. People develop defense mechanisms against anxiety. We develop ways to distort reality and exclude feelings from awareness so that we do not feel anxious. These defense mechanisms are functions carried out by the ego; they are a strategic effort by the ego to cope with the socially unacceptable impulses of the id. Some things are too terrible to be true. Source: BOB DYLAN Denial Freud distinguished among a number of distinct defense mechanisms. Some of them are relatively simple, or psychologically primitive, whereas others are more complex. A particularly simple defense mechanism is denial. People may, in their conscious thoughts, deny the existence of a traumatic or otherwise socially unacceptable fact; the fact is so “terrible” that they deny that it is “true,” as Dylan’s lyric suggests. People may begin using the defense mechanism of denial in childhood. There may be denial of reality, as in a boy, who, in fantasy, denies a lack of power, or denial of an internal impulse, as when an irate person protests, “I do not feel angry.” The saying that someone “doth protest too much” specifically references this defense. Denial of reality is commonly seen where people attempt to avoid recognizing the extent of a threat. The expression “Oh, no!” upon hearing of the death of a close friend represents the reflex action of denial. Children have been known to deny the death of a loved animal and long afterward to behave as if it were still alive. When Edwin Meese, former attorney general in the Reagan administration, was asked how much he owed in legal bills, he replied, “I really don’t know. It scares me to look at it, so I haven’t looked at it.” The mother of former U.S. President Bill Clinton was quoted as saying, “When bad things happen, I brainwash myself to put them out of my mind. Inside my head, I construct an airtight box. I keep inside it what I want to think about and everything else stays behind the walls. Inside is white, outside is black. The only gray I trust is the streak in my hair.” A friend of one of the authors organizes her mail into three “in boxes” on her desk that are labeled “Unimportant Stuff,” “Important Stuff,” and “Stuff I’m Afraid to Look At.” Initially, such avoidance may be conscious, but later it becomes automatic and unconscious, so that the person is not even aware of “not looking.” Denial of reality is also evident when people say or assume that “it can’t happen to me” in spite of clear evidence of impending doom. This defense was seen in Jews who were victims of the Nazis. A book (Steiner, 1966) about the Nazi concentration camp Treblinka describes how the population acted as if death did not exist, in spite of clear evidence to the contrary. The extermination of a whole people was so unimaginable that individuals could not accept it. They preferred to accept lies rather than to bear the terrible trauma of the truth. Is denial necessarily a bad thing? Should we always avoid self-deception? Psychoanalysts generally assume that although the mechanisms of defense can be useful in reducing anxiety, they also are maladaptive by turning the person away from reality. Thus, psychoanalysts view “reality orientation” as fundamental to emotional health and doubt that distortions about oneself and others can have value for adaptive functions (Colvin & Block, 1994; Robins & John, 1996). Yet, some psychologists suggest that positive illusions and self-deceptions can be adaptive. Positive illusions about one’s self, about one’s ability to control events, and about the future can be good, perhaps essential, for mental health (Taylor & Armor, 1996; Taylor & Brown, 1998, 1994; Taylor et al., 2000). The answer to these differing views appears to depend on the extent of distortion, how pervasive it is, and the circumstances under which it occurs. For example, it may be helpful to have positive illusions about oneself as long as they are not too extreme. And denial and self-deception may provide temporary relief from emotional trauma and help the person avoid becoming overwhelmed by anxiety or depression. Denial may be adaptive where action is impossible, as when a person is in a situation that cannot be altered (e.g., a fatal illness) but is maladaptive when it prevents one from taking constructive action to alter a situation that can be changed. Denial. Projection Another relatively primitive defense mechanism is projection. In projection, what is internal and unacceptable is projected out and seen as external. People defend against the recognition of their own negative qualities by projecting them onto others. For example, rather than recognize hostility in the self, an individual sees others as being hostile. Much laboratory research has been devoted to the study of projection. At first, researchers found it difficult to demonstrate the phenomenon in the lab (Halpern, 1977; Holmes, 1981). However, in more recent years investigators have documented that, in fact, people tend to project their undesired psychological qualities onto others. Newman and colleagues have studied projection by analyzing specific thinking processes that might lead people to project their undesired qualities onto others (Newman, Duff, & Baumeister, 1997). The basic idea is that people tend to dwell on those features of themselves that they do not like. Whenever one dwells on a topic, the topic comes to mind easily—in the language of this research, the topic becomes “chronically accessible” (Higgins & King, 1981). So if you think that you are lazy, and you dwell on this feature of self, then the concept of laziness might come to mind relatively quickly and frequently for you. This reasoning puts one just one step away from the phenomenon of projection. This final step is that, whenever one interprets the actions of other people, one does so by using concepts in one’s own mind. If one interprets others’ actions using ideas that also are negative features of one’s own self-concept, then one ends up projecting these negative features onto others. To return to our example, if “laziness” comes to mind quickly for you, and you see a person sitting on a beach in the middle of a workday, you might conclude that this is a lazy person. Someone else, in contrast, might merely conclude that the person is relaxing, rather than being lazy. But note that central to the psychoanalytic view of projection is that the key personality feature is both projected onto others and denied as part of the self; that is, it is the other person that is lazy, not me. Experimental findings support this interpretation of projection (Newman et al., 1997). In this research, participants were exposed to bogus negative feedback on two personality attributes. They then were asked to try to suppress thoughts about one of the two attributes while they discussed the other one; such thought-suppression instructions often backfire, causing people subsequently to think about the personal quality that they were trying to suppress. Later in the experimental session, participants viewed a videotape that depicted a somewhat anxious-looking individual. Participants were asked to rate this person on a series of personality trait dimensions. Findings revealed that participants projected their suppressed negative quality onto others. In other words, they judged that the other person possessed the negative personality attribute that they themselves had been trying not to think about earlier in the experiment. The work of Newman et al. (1997) highlights a theme that we have seen earlier in this chapter. On the one hand, their findings confirm an intuition of Freud’s: People sometimes defend against their own negative qualities by projecting these qualities onto others. On the other hand, their work does not directly confirm the exact account of defensive processing provided by Freud. Unlike expectations based on Freudian theory, the findings of Newman et al. (1997) indicate that projection occurs with respect to relatively mundane psychological qualities (e.g., “laziness”) that are not in any obvious way connected to the psychosexual instincts of the id. Furthermore, in explaining their findings, Newman et al. (1997) rely on explanatory principles that are based on principles of social cognitive psychology (discussed in Chapters 12 and 13) rather than on principles of psychoanalysis. Isolation, Reaction Formation, and Sublimation In addition to denial and projection, another way to deal with anxiety and threat is to isolate events in memory or to isolate emotion from the content of a memory or impulse. In isolation, the impulse, thought, or act is not denied access to consciousness, but it is denied the normal accompanying emotion. For example, a woman may experience the thought or fantasy of strangling her child without any associated feelings of anger. The result of using the mechanism of isolation is intellectualization, an emphasis on thought over emotion and feeling, and the development of logic-tight compartments. In such cases, the feelings that do exist may be split, as in the case where a man separates women into two categories—one with whom there is love but no sex and the other with whom there is sex but no love (Madonna–whore complex). People who use the defense mechanism of isolation also often use the mechanism of undoing. Here the individual magically undoes one act or wish with another. “It is a kind of negative magic in which the individual’s second act abrogates or nullifies the first, in such a manner that it is as though neither had taken place, whereas in reality both have done so” (A. Freud, 1936, p. 33). This mechanism is seen in compulsions in which the person has an irresistible impulse to perform some act (e.g., the person undoes a suicide or homicide fantasy by compulsively turning off the gas jets at home), in religious rituals, and in children’s sayings such as “Don’t step on the crack or you’ll break your mother’s back.” In reaction formation, the individual defends against expression of an unacceptable impulse by only recognizing and expressing its opposite. This defense is evident in socially desirable behavior that is rigid, exaggerated, and inappropriate. The person who uses reaction formation cannot admit to other feelings, such as overprotective mothers who cannot allow any conscious hostility toward their children. Reaction formation is most clearly observable when the defense breaks down, as when the man who “wouldn’t hurt a fly” goes on a killing rampage. A defense mechanism that you may recognize in yourself is rationalization. Rationalization is a more complex, mature defense mechanism than a process such as denial in that in rationalization people do not simply deny that a thought or action occurred. In rationalization people recognize the existence of an action but distort its underlying motive. Behavior is reinterpreted so that it appears reasonable and acceptable; The ego, in other words, constructs a rational motive to explain an unacceptable action that is actually caused by the irrational impulses of the id. Particularly interesting is that with rationalization the individual can express the dangerous impulse, seemingly without disapproval by the superego. Some of the greatest atrocities of humankind have been committed in the name of love. Through the defense of rationalization, we can be hostile while professing love, immoral in the pursuit of morality. Of course, to be truly effective as a defense mechanism one must not be aware of this. Thus, you might use rationalization but be unaware of doing so. One might even say “Oh, I’m just rationalizing.” but not really mean it. Another device used to express an impulse of the id in a manner that is free of anxiety is sublimation. In this relatively complex defense mechanism, the original object of gratification is replaced by a higher cultural goal that is far removed from a direct expression of the instinct. Whereas the other defense mechanisms meet the instincts head on and, by and large, prevent discharge, in sublimation the instinct is turned into a new and useful channel. In contrast to the other defense mechanisms, here the ego does not have to maintain a constant energy output to prevent discharge. Freud interpreted da Vinci’s Madonna as a sublimation of his longing for his mother. Becoming a surgeon, butcher, or boxer can represent sublimations, to a greater or lesser degree, of aggressive impulses. Being a psychiatrist can represent a sublimation of ‘Peeping Tom’ tendencies. In all, Freud felt that the essence of civilization is contained in a person’s ability to sublimate sexual and aggressive energies. Repression Finally, we come to the major defense mechanism of psychoanalytic theory: repression. In repression, a thought, idea, or wish is dismissed from consciousness. It is so traumatic and threatening to the self that it is buried in the unconscious, stored away in the depths of the mind. Repression is viewed as playing a part in all the other defense mechanisms and, like these other defenses, requires a constant expenditure of energy to keep that which is dangerous outside of consciousness. Every man has reminiscences which he would not tell to everyone but only to his friends. He has other matters in his mind which he would not reveal even to his friend, but only to himself and that in secret. But there are other things which a man is afraid to tell even to himself and every decent man has a number of such things stored away in his mind. Source: DOSTOYEVSKY’S Notes from the Underground Sublimation: In performing surgery, aggressive impulses can be turned toward useful, constructive ends. Freud first recognized the defense mechanism of repression in his therapeutic work. After many weeks or months of therapy, patients would remember traumatic events from their past (and experience a catharsis). Prior to recalling the event, the idea of the event, of course, was in the person’s mind. But it was outside of the person’s conscious awareness. Freud reasoned that the person first experienced the event consciously but that the experience was so traumatic that the individual repressed it. To Freud, these therapeutic experiences were sufficient evidence to establish the reality of repression. However, other investigators over the years have studied repression experimentally, n the lab. An early study was done by Rosenzweig (1941). He varied the level of personal involvement in a task and then studied research participants’ (in this case, college undergraduates) recall of their success or failure on the activity. When participants were personally involved with the experiment, they recalled a larger proportion of tasks that they had been able to complete successfully than tasks they had been unable to complete; they presumably repressed the experiences of failure. When the students did not feel threatened, they remembered more of the uncompleted tasks. In similar research conducted years later, women high in sex guilt and women low in sex guilt were exposed to an erotic videotape and asked to report their level of sexual arousal. At the same time, their level of physiological response was recorded. Women high in sex guilt were found to report less arousal than those low in sex guilt but to show greater physiological arousal. Presumably the guilt associated with sexual arousal led to repression or blocking of awareness of the physiological arousal (Morokoff, 1985). In a fascinating study of repression, subjects were asked to think back to their childhood and recall any experience or situation that came to mind. They also were asked to recall childhood experiences associated with each of five emotions (happiness, sadness, anger, fear, and wonder) and to indicate the earliest experience recalled for each emotion. Subjects were divided into repressors and two types of nonrepressors (high anxious and low anxious nonrepressors) on the basis of their response to questionnaires. Did the subjects differ in recall, as would be suggested by the psychoanalytic theory of repression? It was found that repressors recalled fewer negative emotions and were significantly older at the time of the earliest negative memory recalled (Figure 3.1). The authors concluded, “The pattern of findings is consistent with the hypothesis that repression involves an inaccessibility to negative emotional memories and indicates further that repression is associated in some way with the suppression or inhibition of emotional experiences in general. The concept of repression as a process involving limited access to negative affective memories appears to be valid” (Davis & Schwartz, 1987, p. 155). Figure 3.1 Repression and Affective Memories (Davis & Schwartz, 1987). Copyright © 1987 by the American Psychological Association. Reprinted by permission. Research supports the view that some individuals may be characterized as having a repressive style (Weinberger, 1990). They rarely report that they experience anxiety or other negative emotions; outwardly, they appear calm. However, their calmness appears to be bought at a price. Repressors react more to stress than do nonrepressors and are more prone to develop a variety of illnesses (Contrada, Czarnecki, & Pan, 1997; Derakshan & Eysenck, 1997; Weinberger & Davidson, 1994). The cheerfulness of repressors sometimes masks high blood pressure and high pulse rates, which puts people at risk for illnesses such as heart disease and cancer (Denollet, Martens, Nyklícek, Conraads, & de Gelder, 2008). This fits with other evidence suggesting that a lack of emotional expressiveness is associated with increased risk of illness (Cox & MacKay, 1982; Levy, 1991; Temoshok, 1985, 1991). In sum, contemporary research has firmly established that people are sometimes motivated to banish from their conscious experience thoughts that are threatening or painful. As Freud would have expected, some people who consciously report that they are free from psychological distress harbor in reality anxiety-related thoughts and emotions of which they appear not to be aware. On the other hand, it is not clear that contemporary experimental research supports the exact conception of defenses put forth by Freud. In particular, it is hard to demonstrate in laboratory experiments that a defensive function is being served, that is, that the person is being protected from anxiety by the process being studied. Thus, for example, whereas practicing psychoanalysts find the evidence in support of the concept of repression compelling, experimental researchers find the evidence to be inconclusive. GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT In Chapter 1, we noted that the study of personality development encompasses two distinct challenges: identifying (1) general patterns that characterize the development of most or all people and (2) factors that contribute to the development of differences among people. In his psychoanalytic theory, Freud combined these two concerns in a manner that was extraordinarily original. He proposed that all persons develop through a series of stages. He then proposed that events that occur at these stages are responsible for personality styles and differences among individuals in personality styles, which are evident throughout life. Early-life experiences, and the particular stage at which these experiences occur, are said to have a permanent effect on personality; indeed, a strong psychoanalytic position would suggest that the most significant aspects of later personality are entirely determined by the end of the first five years of life. The Development of the Instincts and Stages of Development By now, you should be able to figure out the primary question that Freud would ask in studying development. If one embraces an energy model of mind in which behavior is in the service of instinctual drives, then major questions involve the development of instincts: What is the nature of the instincts that the individual experiences, and must cope with, during the course of development? Once again, Freud’s answer is thoroughly biological. He theorized, first, that instinctual drives tend to center on particular regions of the body, which he called erogenous zones. He then suggested that the particular erogenous zone that is most important to biological gratification at a given point in time changes systematically across the course of development. At different points in development, in other words, one versus another part of the body is the primary focus of gratification. The resulting set of ideas is a theory of psychosexual stages of development. Development occurs in a series of distinct steps, or stages. And each stage is characterized by a bodily source of gratification. Freud’s use of the word sexual in the phrase “psychosexual stages” corresponds more closely to our word sensual; each stage, then, is characterized by a distinct region of sensual gratification. Within that basic framework, the question is the number, and nature, of the stages. Freud proposed that the first stage of development is one in which sensual gratification centers on the mouth. He called this the oral stage of development. Early oral gratification occurs in feeding, thumb sucking, and other mouth movements characteristic of infants. In adult life, traces of orality are seen in chewing gum, eating, smoking, and kissing. In the early oral stage the child is passive and receptive. In the late oral stage, with the development of teeth, there can be a fusion of sexual and aggressive pleasures. In children, such a fusion of instinctual gratification is seen in the eating of animal crackers. In later life, we see traces of orality in various spheres. For example, academic pursuits can have oral associations within the unconscious: One is given “food for thought,” asked to “incorporate” material in reading, and told to “regurgitate” what has been learned on exams. CURRENT QUESTIONS RECOVERED MEMORIES OR FALSE MEMORIES? Psychoanalysts suggest that through the defense mechanism of repression people bury memories of traumatic experiences of childhood in the unconscious. They also suggest that under some conditions, such as psychotherapy, individuals can recall their forgotten experiences. On the other hand, others question the accuracy of adult recall of childhood experiences. The issue has reached headline proportions as individuals report recalling experiences of childhood sexual abuse and initiate lawsuits against individuals now recalled to be the perpetrators of the abuse. Although some professionals are convinced of the authenticity of these memories of sexual abuse, and suggest that a disservice is done to the person when we do not treat them as real, others question their authenticity and refer to them as part of a “false memory syndrome.” While some view the recovery of these memories as beneficial to those who previously repressed the trauma of abuse, others suggest that the “memories” are induced by the probing questions of therapists convinced that such abuse has taken place. An article in a professional psychological journal asks: “What scientific basis is there for the authenticity of memories of sexual abuse that were ‘repressed’ but then ‘remembered’ with the help of a therapist? How are scientists, jurists, and distressed individuals themselves to distinguish true memories from false ones?” Answering these questions is difficult. On the one hand, we know that people can forget events that subsequently are remembered. This is obvious from one’s own experiences in remembering events from one’s past. Yet there is an alternative possibility that is intriguing—indeed, somewhat disturbing. It is that we might sometimes “recall” events that never occurred in the first place. We might sometimes have “false memories.” Research documents that it is possible for people to experience false memories, that is, recollections of events that did not, in fact, occur. For example, Mazzoni and Memon (2003) conducted a study involving three experimental sessions that were each separated in time by one week. In the first session, adult research participants completed a survey in which they reported the likelihood that they had experienced each of a large series of life events in their childhood. In session two, the experimenters conducted an experimental manipulation involving two of the events from the survey. The two events were minor medical procedures: a tooth extraction and the removal of a skin sample from one’s small finger. For one of the events, participants merely were exposed to a paragraph of information about the type of event. For the other event, participants were asked to imagine the event occurring. In the third session, participants completed the survey again and reported any memories they had of the two target events. The hypothesis was that imagining the events (i.e., forming a mental imagine of the event occurring in one’s life years earlier) could cause people to believe that the event, in fact, had occurred. This is what happened (see Figure 3.2). Whether they had imagined the tooth extraction or the removal of a skin sample, participants were more likely to believe that the event had occurred and to imagine some aspects of the event if they merely had been asked to imagine it a week earlier. A critical aspect of this particular study is that one of the events, the skin sample removal, surely had never occurred to the participants; medical records in the area that the study was conducted indicated that physicians never employed the procedure. Thus, the findings showed that participants ended up remembering information (e.g., aspects of the physical setting, the medical personnel involved) about an event that never had occurred. Figure 3.2 The graphs display amount of memories recalled (top) and percentage of participants who experienced significant memory of events (bottom) as a result of either imagining the event occurring or merely being exposed to information about the event. This sort of study does not resolve the question of whether the memories of a particular client in therapy are accurate or false. In individual cases, this issue surely will remain controversial. Psychologists have no reliable method of distinguishing between “recovered memories” and “false memories” in each individual case. However, the research does demonstrate that it is at least possible for people to “remember” events that demonstrably had not occurred. Source: LOFTUS, 1997; Mazzoni & Memon, 2003; Williams, 1994. In the second stage of development, the anal stage (ages two and three), there is excitation in the anus and in the movement of feces through the anal passageway. The expulsion of the feces is believed to bring relief from tension and pleasure in the stimulation of the mucous membranes in that region. The pleasure related to this erogenous zone involves the organism in conflict. There is conflict between elimination and retention, between the pleasure in release and the pleasure in retention, and between the wish for pleasure in evacuation and the demands of the external world for delay. This last-named conflict represents the first crucial conflict between the individual and society. Here the environment requires the child to violate the pleasure principle or be punished. The child may retaliate against such demands by intentional soiling. Psychologically, the child may associate having bowel movements with losing something important, which leads to depression, or may associate bowel movements with giving a prize or gift to others, which may create feelings of power and control. In the phallic stage (ages four and five), excitation and tension are focused on the genitals. The biological differentiation between the sexes leads to psychological differentiation. The male child develops erections, and the new excitations in this area lead to increased interest in the genitals and the realization that the female lacks the penis. This leads to the fear that he may lose his penis—castration anxiety. The father becomes a rival for the affections of the mother, as suggested in the song “I Want a Girl Just Like the Girl That Married Dear Old Dad.” The boy’s hostility toward the father is projected onto the father, with the consequent fear of retaliation. This leads to what is known as the Oedipus complex. According to the Oedipus complex, every boy is fated in fantasy to kill his father and marry his mother. The complex can be heightened by actual seductiveness on the part of the mother. Castration anxiety can be heightened by actual threats from the father to cut off the penis. These threats occur in a surprising number of cases. An interesting experimental illustration of the Oedipus complex is found in the subliminal psychodynamic activation studies we reviewed previously. As you read, in this research stimuli are presented to subjects subliminally in a tachistoscope. Particular stimuli presumably activate unconscious conflicts. In one study, researchers included stimuli designed to activate Oedipal conflicts. They then examined the effects of Oedipal activation on males’ performance in a competitive situation (Silverman, Ross, Adler, & Lustig, 1978). The stimuli chosen to intensify versus reduce Oedipal conflict were “Beating Dad Is Wrong” and “Beating Dad Is OK.” In addition, neutral stimuli (e.g., “People Are Walking”) were presented. These stimuli were presented tachistoscopically after participants engaged in a dart-throwing competition. Participants were tested again for dart-throwing performance following subliminal exposure to each type of stimulus. As expected, the two Oedipal stimuli had clear-cut effects and in different directions: The “Beating Dad Is OK” stimulus produced higher scores than the neutral stimulus, whereas the “Beating Dad Is Wrong” stimulus produced lower scores (Table 3.2). TABLE 3.2 Oedipal Conflict and Competitive Performance Source: Partial results adapted from Silverman et al., 1978, p. 346. Copyright by the American Psychological Association. Reprinted by permission. Dart Score “Beating Dad Is Wrong” “Beating Dad Is OK” “People Are Walking” TACHISTOSCOPIC PRESENTATION OF THREE STIMULI Mean, Prestimulus 443.7 444.3 439.0 Mean, Poststimulus 349.0 533.3 442.3 Difference −94.7 +90.0  +3.3 It is important to note that these results were not obtained when the stimuli were presented above threshold. The psychodynamic activation effects appear to operate at the unconscious level rather than at the conscicous level. In addition, since these subliminal effects are not always found in psychological research, it is noteworthy that the authors emphasized that the experimental stimuli used and the responses measured must be relevant to the motivational state of the research participants. To ensure this in their work, participants were first primed with picture and story material containing Oedipal content. Developmental processes during the phallic stage differ for females versus males. According to Freud, females realize they lack a penis and blame the mother, the original love object. In developing penis envy, the female child chooses the father as the love object and imagines that the lost organ will be restored by having a child by the father. Psychoanalytic theory has been criticized by feminists on a variety of grounds. Perhaps more than any other concept, the concept of penis envy is seen as expressing a chauvinistic, hostile view toward women. This issue will be addressed in Chapter 4 in the Critical Evaluation section. Whereas the Oedipus complex is abandoned in the boy because of castration anxiety, in the female it is started because of penis envy. As with the male, conflict during this period is in some cases accentuated by the father’s seductiveness toward the female child. And, as with the male, the female child resolves the conflict by keeping the father as a love object but gaining him through identification with the mother. Do children actually display Oedipal behaviors, or are these all distorted memories of adults, in particular of patients in psychoanalytic treatment? A study investigated this question through the use of parents’ reports of parent–child interactions, as well as through the analysis of children’s responses to stories involving parent–child interaction. It was found that at around age four, children show increased preference for the parent of the opposite sex and an increased antagonism toward the parent of the same sex. These behaviors diminish at around the age of five or six. What is interesting in this study is that although the researchers came from a differing theoretical orientation, they concluded that the reported Oedipal behaviors coincided with the psychoanalytic view of Oedipal relations between mothers and sons and between fathers and daughters (Watson & Getz, 1990). As part of the resolution of the Oedipus complex, the child identifies with the parent of the same sex. The child now gains the parent of the opposite sex through identification with, rather than defeat of, the parent of the same sex. The development of an identification with the parent of the same sex is a critical issue during the phallic stage and, more generally, is a critical concept in developmental psychology. In identification, individuals take on themselves the qualities of another person and integrate them into their functioning. In identifying with their parents, children assume many of the same values and morals. It is in this sense that the superego has been called the heir to the resolution of the Oedipus complex. According to Freud, all major aspects of our personality character develop during the oral, anal, and phallic stages of development. After the phallic stage, the child enters a latency stage during which, according to Freud, the child experiences a decrease in sexual urges and interest. The onset of puberty, with the reawakening of the sexual urges and Oedipal feelings, marks the beginning of the genital stage. Dependency feelings and Oedipal strivings that were not fully resolved during the pregenital stages of development now come back to rear their ugly heads. The turmoil of adolescence is partly attributable to these factors. According to Freud, successful progression through the stages of development leads to the psychologically healthy person—one who can love and work. Oedipus Complex, Competition, and Identification: For the male child to become competitive, there must not be too much anxiety about rivalry with the father. Photo depicts Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals and his son, Albert Jr. Erikson’s Psychosocial Stages of Development Freud devoted little attention to development after the early years of life. All “the action” in personality development, Freud thought, occurred by the end of the phallic stage. Other psychologists who were deeply sympathetic to Freud’s overall model of personality thought he had underestimated the importance of personality development later in life. They tried, then, to understand later-life development within a psychodynamic perspective. The most important of these theorists was Erik Erikson (1902–1994). Erikson believed that development was not merely psychosexual but also psychosocial. Stages of development include social concerns (Table 3.3). To Erikson, the first stage of personality development is significant not just because of the localization of pleasure in the mouth but because in the feeding situation a relationship of trust or mistrust is developed between the infant and the mother. Similarly, the anal stage is significant not only for the change in the nature of the major erogenous zone but also because toilet training is a significant social situation in which the child may develop a sense of autonomy or succumb to shame and self-doubt. In the phallic stage the child must struggle with the issue of taking pleasure in, as opposed to feeling guilty about, being assertive, competitive, and successful. Erik H. Erikson TABLE 3.3 Erikson’s Eight Psychosocial Stages of Development and Their Implications for Personality Psychosocial Stage Age Positive Outcomes Negative Outcomes Basic Trust vs. Mistrust 1 year Feelings of inner goodness, trust in oneself and others, optimism Sense of badness, mistrust of self and others, pessimism Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt 2–3 years Exercise of will, self-control, able to make choices Rigid, excessive conscience, doubtful, self-conscious shame Initiative vs. Guilt 4–5 years Pleasure in accomplishments, activity, direction, and purpose Guilt over goals contemplated and achievements initiated Industry vs. Inferiority Latency Able to be absorbed in productive work, pride in completed product Sense of inadequacy and inferiority, unable to complete work Identity vs. Role Diffusion Adolescence Confidence of inner sameness and continuity, promise of a career Ill at ease in roles, no set standards, sense of artificiality Intimacy vs. Isolation Early Adulthood Mutuality, sharing of thoughts, work, feelings Avoidance of intimacy, superficial relations Generativity vs. Stagnation Adulthood Ability to lose oneself in work and relationships Loss of interest in work, impoverished relations Integrity vs. Despair Later Years Sense of order and meaning, content with self and one’s accomplishments Fear of death, bitter about life and what one got from it or what did not happen For Erikson (1950), the latency and genital stages are periods when the individual develops a sense of industry and success or a sense of inferiority and, perhaps most important of all, a sense of identity or a sense of role diffusion. The crucial task of adolescence, according to Erikson, is the establishment of a sense of ego identity, an accrued confidence that the way one views oneself has a continuity with one’s past and is matched by the perceptions of others. In contrast to people who develop a sense of identity, people with role diffusion experience the feeling of not really knowing who they are, of not knowing whether what they think they are matches what others think of them, and of not knowing how they have developed in this way or where they are heading in the future. During late adolescence and the college years, this struggle with a sense of identity may lead to joining a variety of groups and to considerable anguish about the choice of a career. If these issues are not resolved during this time, the individual is, in later life, filled with a sense of despair: Life is too short, and it is too late to start all over again. In his research on the process of identity formation, Marcia (1994) has identified four statuses individuals can have in relation to this process. In Identity Achievement, the individual has established a sense of identity following exploration. Such individuals function at a high psychological level, being capable of independent thought, intimacy in interpersonal relations, complex moral reasoning, and resistance to group demands for conformity or group manipulation of their sense of self-esteem. In Identity Moratorium, the individual is in the midst of an identity crisis. Such individuals are capable of high levels of psychological functioning, as indicated in complex thought and moral reasoning, and also value intimacy. However, they are still struggling with just who they are and what they are about and are less prepared than the identity achievers to make commitments. In Identity Foreclosure, the individual is committed to an identity without having gone through a process of exploration. Such individuals tend to be rigid, highly responsive to group demands for conformity, and sensitive to manipulation of their self-esteem. They tend to be highly conventional and rejecting of deviation from perceived standards of right and wrong. Finally, in Identity Diffusion, the individual lacks any strong sense of identity or commitment. Such individuals are very vulnerable to blows to their self-esteem, often are disorganized in their thinking, and have problems with intimacy. In sum, Marcia suggests that individuals differ in how they go about handling the process of identity formation, with such differences being reflected in their sense of self, thought processes, and interpersonal relations. Although not necessarily establishing fixed patterns for later life, how the process of identity formation is handled is seen as having important implications for later personality development. Continuing with his description of the later stages of life and the accompanying psychological issues, Erikson suggests that some people develop a sense of intimacy, an acceptance of life’s successes and disappointments, and a sense of continuity throughout the life cycle, whereas other people remain isolated from family and friends, appear to survive on a fixed daily routine, and focus on both past disappointments and future death. Although the ways in which people do and do not resolve these critical issues of adulthood may have their roots in childhood conflict, Erikson suggests that this is not always the case and that they have a significance of their own (Erikson, 1982). In sum, Erikson’s contributions are noteworthy in three ways: (1) He has emphasized the psychosocial as well as the instinctual basis for personality development, (2) he has extended the stages of development to include the entire life cycle and has articulated the major psychological issues to be faced in these later stages, and (3) he has recognized that people look to the future as well as to the past and that how they construe their future may be as significant a part of their personality as how they construe their past. Identity versus Role Diffusion: In adolescence, a sense of ego identity is developed partly by having one’s sense of self confirmed by the perceptions of friends. The Importance of Early Experience Psychoanalytic theory emphasizes the role of early life events for later personality development. Evidence of the importance of parenting practices when children are in need of psychological resources fits with this perspective (Pomerantz & Thompson, 2008). Many researchers, however, suggest a much greater potential for development and change in personality across the entire life span. Although the issue is complex, with no uniform consensus (Caspi & Bem, 1990), many scholars highlight the fact that, to a degree not fully appreciated by Freud, changes in an individual’s environment that occur later in life can bring about changes in personality (Kagan, 1998; Lewis, 2002). Indeed, in contrast to the themes established by Freud, a major trend in contemporary psychology is the study of personality dynamics across the entire course of life, from childhood to older adulthood (Baltes, Staudinger, & Lindenberger, 1999). The complexities of the issue can be illustrated with two studies. The first, conducted by a psychoanalyst (Gaensbauer, 1982), involved the study of affect development in infancy. The infant, Jenny, was first studied systematically when she was almost four months old. Prior to this time, at the age of three months, she had been physically abused by her father. At that time she was brought to the hospital with a broken arm and a skull fracture. She was described by hospital personnel as being a “lovable baby”—happy, cute, sociable—but also as not cuddling when held and as being “jittery” when approached by a male. Following this history of abuse, Jenny was placed in a foster home, where she received adequate physical care but minimal social interaction. This was very much in contrast with her earlier experience with her natural mother, who spent considerable time with her and breast-fed her “at the drop of a hat.” The first systematic observation occurred almost a month after placement in the foster home. At this time Jenny’s behavior was judged to be completely consistent with a diagnosis of depression—lethargic, apathetic, disinterested, collapsed posture. A systematic analysis of her facial expressions indicated five discrete affects, each meaningfully related to her unique history. Sadness was noted when she was with her natural mother. Fearfulness and anger were noted when she was approached by a male stranger but not when approached by a female stranger. Joy was noted as a transient affect during brief play sequences. Finally, interest-curiosity was noted when she interacted with female strangers. After she was visited in her foster home, Jenny was placed in a different foster home where she received warm attention. Following two weeks in this environment, she was again brought to the hospital for further evaluation, this time by her second foster mother. This time she generally appeared to be a normally responsive infant. She showed no evidence of distress and even smiled at a male stranger. After an additional month at this foster home, she was brought to the hospital by her natural mother for a third evaluation. Generally, she was animated and happy. However, when the mother left the room, she cried intensely. This continued following the mother’s return despite repeated attempts to soothe her. Apparently separation from her natural mother continued to lead to a serious distress response. In addition, sadness and anger were frequently noted. At eight months old, Jenny was returned to her natural mother, who left her husband and received counseling. At the age of 20 months, she was described as appearing to be normal and having an excellent relationship with her mother. However, there continued to be the problem of anger and distress associated with separation from her mother. From these observations, we can conclude that there was evidence of both continuity and discontinuity between Jenny’s early emotional experiences and her later emotional reactions. In general, she was doing well, and her emotional responses were within the normal range for infants of her age. At the same time, the anger reactions in response to separations and frustration appeared to be a link to the past. The psychoanalyst conducting the study suggested that perhaps isolated traumatic events are less important than the repeated experiences of a less dramatic but more persistent nature. In other words, the early years are important but more in terms of patterns of interpersonal relationships than in terms of isolated events. The second study, conducted by a group of developmental psychologists, assessed the relationship between early emotional relationships with the mother and later psychopathology (Lewis, Feiring, McGuffog, & Jaskir, 1984). In this study, the attachment behavior of boys and girls one year of age toward their mothers was observed. The observation involved a standardized procedure consisting of a period of play with the mother in an unstructured situation, followed by the departure of the mother and a period when the child was alone in the playroom, and then by the return of the mother and a second free play period. The behavior of the children was scored systematically and assigned to one of three attachment categories: avoidant, secure, or ambivalent. The avoidant and ambivalent categories suggested difficulties in this area. Then at six years of age, the competence of these children was assessed through the mothers’ completion of a Child Behavior Profile. The ratings of the mothers were also checked against teacher ratings. On the basis of the Child Behavior Profile, the children were classified into a normal group, an at-risk group, and a clinically disturbed group. What was the relationship between early attachment behavior and later pathology? Two aspects of the results are particularly noteworthy. First, the relationships were quite different for boys than for girls. For boys, attachment classification at one year of age was significantly related to later pathology. Insecurely attached boys showed more pathology at age six than did securely attached boys. On the other hand, no relationship between attachment and later pathology was observed for girls. Second, the authors noted a difference between trying to predict pathology from the early data (prospective) as opposed to trying to understand later pathology in terms of earlier attachment difficulties (retrospective). If one starts with the boys who at age six were identified as being at risk or clinically disturbed, 80% would be found to have been assigned to the avoidant- or ambivalent-attachment category at age one. In other words, a very strong statistical relationship exists. On the other hand, if one took all boys classified as insecurely attached (avoidant or ambivalent) at age one and predicted them to be at risk or clinically disturbed at age six, one would be right in only 40% of the cases. The reason for this is that far more of the boys were classified as insecurely attached than were later diagnosed as at risk or disturbed. Thus, the clinician viewing later pathology would have a clear basis for suggesting a strong relationship between pathology and early attachment difficulties. On the other hand, focusing on the data in terms of prediction would suggest a much more tenuous relationship and the importance of other variables. As Freud himself recognized, when we observe later pathology, it is all too easy to understand how it developed. On the other hand, when we look at these phenomena prospectively, we are made aware of the varied paths that development can follow. The Development of Thinking Processes The most prominent aspect of Freud’s work on development is his theory of psychosexual stages (see Growth and Development in this chapter). In addition to the development of instinctual drives, however, Freud also addressed the development of thinking processes. Here, his work rests on a theoretical distinction between two different modes, or processes, of thinking; he called them primary and secondary process thought. Before defining these terms, we note that Freud, with this distinction, addressed an issue of enormously broad significance. It is, in essence, the question of how the mind works—the processes through which the mind deals with information. We might think that the human mind, like a computer, processes information in one basic way. Your personal computer processes information the same way whether the computer is new or old, and whether the information being processed is emotionally exciting or boring. No matter what, information is processed digitally in the machine’s central processing unit. Maybe the human mind is like this, too. Then again, maybe it isn’t—and Freud suggested it isn’t. He concluded that the mind processes information in two distinctly different ways. In psychoanalytic theory, primary process thinking is the language of the unconscious. Primary process thought is illogical and irrational. In primary process thinking, reality and fantasy are indistinguishable. These features of primary process thought—an absence of logic, a confusion of appearance and reality—may seem so odd at first that you may reject this aspect of Freudian theory. Yet consider some examples. As you grew up, you only gradually developed the capacity for logical, rational thought. Very young children do not have the capacity to formulate logical arguments. Yet they clearly are thinking! This means that they must be thinking in a manner that lacks adult rationality and logic. To Freud, they are thinking via primary process thought. Consider dreams. Sometimes you wake up when having a nightmare. Your heart may be racing, and you may be in a cold sweat. If so, this means that your body was reacting to the contents of the dream, preparing its physiological systems to respond. But, of course, there is nothing to respond to: It’s just a dream. This means that you were reacting to a fantasy as if it were real; in the dream, fantasy and reality are confused. Secondary process thinking is the language of consciousness, reality testing, and logic. It develops only after the child first has the capacity for primary process thought, and thus is secondary. The development of this capacity parallels the development of the ego. With the development of the ego, the individual becomes more differentiated, as a self, from the rest of the world, and self-preoccupation decreases. Contemporary psychologists have recognized, as did Freud, that the mind works according to more than one thinking process. Epstein (1994) has distinguished between experiential thinking and rational thinking. Experiential thinking, analogous to primary process thinking, is viewed as occurring earlier in evolutionary development and is characterized by being holistic, concrete, and heavily influenced by emotion. Often it is used in interpersonal situations to be empathic or intuitive. Rational thinking, analogous to secondary process thinking, is viewed as occurring later in evolutionary development and is characterized as being more abstract, analytical, and following the rules of logic and evidence. For example, rational thinking would be used in solving mathematical problems. The potential conflict between the two systems of thought can be seen in an experiment in which subjects were asked to choose between drawing a winning red jelly bean from a bowl that contained 1 out of 10 red jelly beans and a bowl that contained 8 out of 100 red jelly beans (Denes-Raj & Epstein, 1994). Having been told the proportion of red jelly beans in the two bowls, subjects knew that the rational thing to do was to select the bowl with the higher proportion—1 out of 10. Yet, despite this, many subjects felt that their chances were better with the bowl that contained more red jelly beans, despite the poorer odds. This conflict between what they felt and what they knew expressed the conflict between the experiential and rational thought systems. According to Epstein (1994), the two systems are parallel and can act in conjunction with one another as well as in conflict with one another. Other psychologists have suggested other, related, two-part distinctions. Many contemporary psychologists, then, feel that Freud was fundamentally correct in positing more than one form of thought; they tend to differ from Freud in the details, that is, in their specific beliefs about the nature of the two aspects of thinking. The study of primary versus secondary process thought, then, is one in which Freud’s ideas remarkably anticipated future developments in the field. This chapter has considered Freud’s approach to three of the four topics addressed in a personality theory: structure, processes, and development. In our next chapter, we consider the fourth: psychopathology and clinical applications designed to improve people’s lives. We also review alternative psychodynamic models developed throughout the 20th century in reaction to Freud’s original theorizing. MAJOR CONCEPTS Anal stage Freud’s concept for that period of life during which the major center of bodily excitation or tension is the anus. Anxiety In psychoanalytic theory, a painful emotional experience that signals or alerts the ego to danger. Castration anxiety Freud’s concept of the boy’s fear, experienced during the phallic stage, that the father will cut off the son’s penis because of their sexual rivalry for the mother. Catharsis The release and freeing of emotion through talking about one’s problems. Conscious Those thoughts, experiences, and feelings of which we are aware. Death instinct Freud’s concept for drives or sources of energy directed toward death or a return to an inorganic state. Defense mechanisms Freud’s concept for those mental strategies used by the person to reduce anxiety. They function to exclude from awareness some thought, wish, or feeling. Denial The defense mechanism in which a painful internal or external reality is denied. Ego Freud’s structural concept for the part of the personality that attempts to satisfy drives (instincts) in accordance with reality and the person’s moral values. Energy system Freud’s view of personality as involving the interplay among various forces (e.g., drives, instincts) or sources of energy. Erogenous zones According to Freud, those parts of the body that are the sources of tension or excitation. Free association In psychoanalysis, the patient’s reporting to the analyst of every thought that comes to mind. Genital stage In psychoanalytic theory, the stage of development associated with the onset of puberty. Id Freud’s structural concept for the source of the instincts or all of the drive energy in people. Identification The acquisition, as characteristics of the self, of personality characteristics perceived to be part of others (e.g., parents). Isolation The defense mechanism in which emotion is isolated from the ontent of a painful impulse or memory. Latency stage In psychoanalytic theory, the stage following the phallic stage in which there is a decrease in sexual urges and interest. Libido The psychoanalytic term for the energy associated first with the sexual instincts and later with the life instincts. Life instinct Freud’s concept for drives or sources of energy (libido) directed toward the preservation of life and sexual gratification. Mechanism An intellectual movement of the 19th century that argued that basic principles of natural science could explain not only the behavior of physical objects but also human thought and action. Oedipus complex Freud’s concept expressing the boy’s sexual attraction to the mother and fear of castration by the father, who is seen as a rival. Oral stage Freud’s concept for that period of life during which the major center of bodily excitation or tension is the mouth. Penis envy In psychoanalytic theory, the female’s envy of the male’s possession of a penis. Perception without awareness Unconscious perception or perception of a stimulus without conscious awareness of such perception. Perceptual defense The process by which an individual defends (unconsciously) against awareness of a threatening stimulus. Phallic stage Freud’s concept for that period of life during which excitation or tension begins to be centered in the genitals and during which there is an attraction to the parent of the opposite sex. Pleasure principle According to Freud, psychological functioning based on the pursuit of pleasure and the avoidance of pain. Preconscious Freud’s concept for those thoughts, experiences, and feelings of which we are momentarily unaware but can readily bring into awareness. Primary process In psychoanalytic theory, a form of thinking that is not governed by logic or reality testing and that is seen in dreams and other expressions of the unconscious. Projection The defense mechanism in which one attributes to (projects onto) others one’s own unacceptable instincts or wishes. Rationalization The defense mechanism in which an acceptable reason is given for an unacceptable motive or act. Reaction formation The defense mechanism in which the opposite of an unacceptable impulse is expressed. Reality principle According to Freud, psychological functioning based on reality in which pleasure is delayed until an optimum time. Repression The primary defense mechanism in which a thought, idea, or wish is dismissed from consciousness. Secondary process In psychoanalytic theory, a form of thinking that is governed by reality and associated with the development of the ego. Sublimation The defense mechanism in which the original expression of the instinct is replaced by a higher cultural goal. Subliminal psychodynamic activation The research procedure associated with psychoanalytic theory in which stimuli are presented below the perceptual threshold (subliminally) to stimulate unconscious wishes and fears. Superego Freud’s structural concept for the part of personality that expresses our ideals and moral values. Unconscious Those thoughts, experiences, and feelings of which we are unaware. According to Freud, this unawareness is the result of repression. Undoing The defense mechanism in which one magically undoes an act or wish associated with anxiety. REVIEW Psychoanalytic theory illustrates a psychodynamic, clinical approach to personality. The psychodynamic emphasis is expressed in the interpretation of behavior as a result of the interplay among motives or drives. The clinical approach is expressed in the emphasis on material observed during intensive treatment of individuals. Freud posited a mechanistic, deterministic, energy-based model of the mind. This model directly reflected the 19th-century scientific and medical training Freud received. Freud built his theory on case study evidence. In his view, the in-depth analysis of clinical cases was the only valid method for uncovering the dynamics of the conscious and unconscious mind. The core of Freud’s theory is an integrated analysis of both personality structures and personality processes. The structures are three mental systems—the id, ego, and superego—which function according to different operating principles that inherently conflict with one another. The processes involve mental energy whose origin is in the id but whose expression is channeled, blocked, or distorted by the actions of the ego, working within constraints represented in the superego. Personality dynamics in psychoanalytic theory involve conflict. Impulsive drives in the id seek immediate expression, which conflicts with both the ego’s desire to delay impulses to meet the constraints of reality and the superego’s desire for actions that adhere to moral standards. Any given action, then, is a compromise among these competing desires of the different psychic agencies. Defense mechanisms are strategies employed by the ego to defend against the anxiety aroused by the unacceptable drives and desires of the id. In the psychoanalytic theory of personality development, the individual progresses through a series of developmental stages. Each stage involves a distinct region of the body that serves as a primary focus of sensual gratification. These stages of development occur early in life, in childhood. To a greater extent than any other theory, Freud’s psychoanalytic theory suggests that the experiences of early childhood have an enduring, immutable influ-ence on the personality characteristics of the individual. The psychoanalyst Erik Erikson attempted to broaden and extend psychoanalytic theory through an emphasis on the psychosocial stages of development.

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