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Personality Chapter 15. Personality. An individual’s characteristic pattern of thinking, feeling, and acting. Each dwarf has a distinct personality. Psychodynamic Perspective.

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An individual’s characteristic pattern of thinking, feeling, and acting.

Each dwarf has a distinct personality.

psychodynamic perspective
Psychodynamic Perspective

In his clinical practice, Freud encountered patients suffering from nervous disorders. Their complaints could not be explained in terms of purely physical causes.

Culver Pictures

Sigmund Freud


psychodynamic perspective4
Psychodynamic Perspective

Freud’s clinical experience led him to develop the first comprehensive theory of personality, which included the unconscious mind, psychosexual stages, and defense mechanisms.

Culver Pictures

Sigmund Freud


exploring the unconscious
Exploring the Unconscious

A reservoir (unconscious mind) of mostly unacceptable thoughts, wishes, feelings, and memories. Freud asked patients to say whatever came to their minds (free association) in order to tap the unconscious.

dream analysis
Dream Analysis

Another method to analyze the unconscious mind is through interpreting manifest and latent contents of dreams.

The Nightmare, Henry Fuseli (1791)


The process of free association (chain of thoughts) leads to painful, embarrassing unconscious memories. Once these memories are retrieved and released (treatment: psychoanalysis) the patient feels better.

model of mind
Model of Mind

The mind is like an iceberg. It is mostly hidden, and below the surface lies the unconscious mind. The preconscious stores temporary memories.

personality structure
Personality Structure

Personality develops as a result of our efforts to resolve conflicts between our biological impulses (id) and social restraints (superego).

id ego and superego
Id, Ego and Superego

The Id unconsciously strives to satisfy basic sexual and aggressive drives, operating on the pleasure principle, demanding immediate gratification.

The ego functions as the “executive” and mediates the demands of the id and superego.

The superego provides standards for judgment (the conscience) and for future aspirations.

personality development
Personality Development

Freud believed that personality formed during the first few years of life divided into psychosexual stages. During these stages the id’s pleasure-seeking energies focus on pleasure sensitive body areas called erogenous zones.

psychosexual stages
Psychosexual Stages

Freud divided the development of personality into five psychosexual stages.

oedipus complex
Oedipus Complex

A boy’s sexual desire for his mother and feelings of jealousy and hatred for the rival father. A girl’s desire for her father is called the Electra complex.


Children cope with threatening feelings by repressing them and by identifying with the rival parent. Through this process of identification, their superego gains strength that incorporates their parents’ values.

From the K. Vandervelde private collection

defense mechanisms
Defense Mechanisms

The ego’s protective methods of reducing anxiety by unconsciously distorting reality.

1. Repressionbanishes anxiety-arousing thoughts, feelings, and memories from consciousness.

2. Regression- leads to an infantile stage

defense mechanisms16
Defense Mechanisms

3. Reaction Formation causes the ego to unconsciously switch unacceptable impulses into their opposites.

4. Projection leads people to disguise their own threatening impulses by attributing them to others.

defense mechanisms17
Defense Mechanisms

5. Rationalization offers self-justifying explanations

6. Displacement shifts sexual or aggressive impulses toward a more acceptable object

do now
Do Now:
  • Bryce often acts so daring and overly confident that few people realize he is actually riddled with unconscious insecurity and self-doubt. Bryce best illustrates the use of a defense mechanism known as: a. regression.b. projection.c. displacement.d. reaction formation.
  • Jaydon doesn’t realize that his alcohol abuse and neglect of his family is leading to the destruction of both family and career. A psychoanalyst would suggest that Jaydon shows signs of a: a. strong ego.b. weak id.c. strong superego.d. weak ego
  • Bonnie is afraid to express anger at her overbearing and irritating supervisor at work, so she is critical of her children instead. A psychoanalyst would suggest that Bonnie’s reaction to her children illustrates: a. identification.b. reaction formation.c. displacement.d. projection.
freud s theory of personality
Freud’s Theory of Personality

Id, Ego, Superego

Psychosexual Stages

Defense Mechanisms

why were freud s theories so heavily criticized
Why were Freud’s Theories so heavily criticized?
  • Little empirical evidence to support
  • Not predictive
  • Gender Bias
  • Too much emphasis on Sex
why was freud revolutionary
Why was Freud revolutionary?
  • Impact on pop culture

inferiority complex

penis envy

Freudian slip: unconscious is manifested through an error in speech

"A Freudian slip is when you mean one thing, but you say your mother."

  • Inspired future psychologists in the Neo-Freudian movement
neo freudians agree with freud
id, ego, superego

anxiety, defense mechanisms

shaping of personality in childhood

Neo-Freudians agree with Freud:
neo freudians disagree with freud
Neo-Freudians disagree with Freud:
  • Importance of consciousness
  • Sex and Aggression
carl jung neofreudian
Carl Jung: Neofreudian

Unconscious consists of:

1) Personal unconscious a

2) Collective unconscious based on our species’ universal experiences

Example: myths, maternal images, fear of dark

Archive of the History of American Psychology/ University of Akron

Carl Jung (1875-1961)

alfred adler
Alfred Adler
  • ego psychologist (downplayed unconscious)
  • childhood is formative period
  • Inferiority-complex people are motivated by fear of failure (inferiority) and desire to achieve (superiority)
  • Birth order

National Library of Medicine

Alfred Adler (1870-1937)

karen horney
Karen Horney

-Womb envy

-Personality based on need for security

- Relationship with parent influences personality

The Bettmann Archive/ Corbis

Karen Horney (1885-1952)

assessing unconscious processes
Assessing Unconscious Processes

Projective tests- reveal the hidden unconscious mind

thematic apperception test tat
Thematic Apperception Test(TAT)

Developed by Henry Murray, the TAT is a projective test in which people express their inner feelings and interests through the stories they make up about ambiguous scenes.

Lew Merrim/ Photo Researcher, Inc.

rorschach inkblot test
Rorschach Inkblot Test

The most widely used projective test

Herman Rorschach

10 inkblots

Lew Merrim/ Photo Researcher, Inc.

projective tests criticisms
Projective Tests: Criticisms

Critics argue that projective tests lack both reliability (consistency of results) and validity (predicting what it is supposed to).

  • When evaluating the same patient, even trained raters come up with different interpretations (reliability).

2. Projective tests may misdiagnose a normal individual as pathological (validity).

evaluating the psychoanalytic perspective
Evaluating the Psychoanalytic Perspective
  • Personality develops throughout life and is not fixed in childhood.
  • Freud underemphasized peer influence on the individual
  • Gender identity may develop before 5-6 years of age.

Modern Research

evaluating the psychoanalytic perspective33
Evaluating the Psychoanalytic Perspective
  • There may be other reasons for dreams besides wish fulfillment.
  • Verbal slips can be explained on the basis of cognitive processing of verbal choices.
  • Suppressed sexuality leads to psychological disorders. Sexual inhibition has decreased, but psychological disorders have not.

Modern Research

evaluating the psychoanalytic perspective34
Evaluating the Psychoanalytic Perspective

Freud's psychoanalytic theory rests on the repression of painful experiences into the unconscious mind.

The majority of children, death camp survivors, and battle-scarred veterans are unable to repress painful experiences into their unconscious mind.

which neofreudian emphasized
Which NeoFreudian emphasized..?
  • Collective unconscious
  • Birth order
  • Relationship with parent
  • Ego
  • Universal myths