Learning Objectives

Describe the strengths and also limitations that the psychodynamic approach to explaining personality.Summarize the achievements of the neo-Freudians.Identify the major contributions the the humanistic approach to understanding personality.

You are watching: Freud considered _____ to be the primary motivating force of human behavior.


Although measures such together the large Five and the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality list (MMPI) are able to successfully assess personality, they do not speak much around where personality comes from. In this section we will think about two major theories the the origin of personality: psychodynamic and also humanistic approaches.

Psychodynamic theory of Personality: The function of the Unconscious

One that the most necessary psychological philosophies to expertise personality is based on the theorizing of the Austrian physician and also psychologist Sigmund Freud (1856–1939), who started what now is recognized as the psychodynamic approach, an approach to understanding human behaviour that concentrates on the function of unconscious thoughts, feelings, and memories. Many human being know around Freud because his occupational has had actually a huge impact ~ above our daily thinking around psychology, and the psychodynamic strategy is among the most important approaches to emotional therapy (Roudinesco, 2003; Taylor, 2009). Freud is probably the finest known of all psychologists, in component because of his superior observation and analyses of personality (there are 24 volumes of his writings). As is true of every theories, plenty of of Freud’s ingenious ideas have turned out to it is in at least partially incorrect, and yet other elements of his theories room still affecting psychology.

Freud was influenced by the job-related of the French neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot (1825-1893), who had actually been interviewing patients (almost every women) that were suffering what was at the time known as hysteria. Although the is no much longer used to define a mental disorder, hysteria at the time described a collection of personality and physical symptom that consisted of chronic pain, fainting, seizures, and paralysis.

Charcot can find no organic reason for the symptoms. For instance, some women competent a lose of emotion in your hands and yet not in your arms, and this seemed impossible offered that the nerves in the arms space the same as those in the hands. Charcot was trying out with the use of hypnosis, and he and also Freud found that under hypnosis plenty of of the hysterical patients reported having actually experienced a traumatic sexual experience, together as sex-related abuse, as youngsters (Dolnick, 1998).

Freud and Charcot additionally found that during hypnosis the mental of the trauma was regularly accompanied by one outpouring the emotion, recognized as catharsis, and that complying with the catharsis the patient’s symptom were typically reduced in severity. These observations led Freud and also Charcot come conclude that these obstacle were caused by mental rather 보다 physiological factors.

Freud supplied the monitorings that he and also Charcot had actually made to construct his theory regarding the sources of personality and also behaviour, and his insights are central to the an essential themes that psychology. In state of totally free will, Freud did not believe that we were able to control our very own behaviours. Rather, he believed that all behaviours are predetermined through motivations that lie external our awareness, in the unconscious. This forces show themselves in our dreams, in neurotic symptoms such together obsessions, while we are under hypnosis, and in Freudian “slips the the tongue” in which human being reveal their unconscious desires in language. Freud said that we rarely know why we carry out what us do, although we can consist of explanations because that our behaviours after the fact. For Freud the psychic was prefer an iceberg, through the many motivations of the unconscious being lot larger, but additionally out that sight, in comparison come the consciousness of which us are aware (Figure 12.7, “Mind together Iceberg”).

Figure 12.7 Mind together Iceberg. In Sigmund Freud’s conceptualization that personality, the most vital motivations room unconscious, just as the major part of an iceberg is under water.

Id, Ego, and also Superego

Freud proposed the the mind is separated into three components: id, ego, and superego, and that the interactions and also conflicts amongst the contents create personality (Freud, 1923/1949). According come Freudian theory, the id is the component of personality that creates the communication of our most primitive impulses. The identifier is totally unconscious, and also it drives our most crucial motivations, consisting of the sexual drive (libido) and the wild or devastating drive (Thanatos). Follow to Freud, the id is thrust by the pleasure principle — the desire for instant gratification of our sexual and aggressive urges. The identifier is why we smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, watch pornography, tell typical jokes about people, and engage in other fun or harmful behaviours, often at the price of doing much more productive activities.

In stark contrast to the id, the superego to represent our feeling of morality and oughts. The superego tell us all the things that we shouldn’t do, or the duties and obligations that society. The superego strives because that perfection, and also when us fail come live up to its demands we feeling guilty.

In comparison to the id, i beg your pardon is around the satisfied principle, the duty of the ego is based on the reality principle — the idea that us must hold-up gratification that our straightforward motivations until the appropriate time v the ideal outlet. The ego is the largely aware controller or decision-maker of personality. The ego serves as the intermediary between the desires of the id and the limit of culture contained in the superego (Figure 12.8, “Ego, Id, and Superego in Interaction”). We may wish to scream, yell, or hit, and yet ours ego generally tells us to wait, reflect, and choose a more appropriate response.

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Figure 12.8 Ego, Id, and Superego in Interaction.

Freud thought that mental disorders, and particularly the suffer of anxiety, occur when over there is dispute or imbalance among the motivations that the id, ego, and superego. When the ego finds that the identifier is pressing too difficult for prompt pleasure, it attempts come correct for this problem, often through the usage of defence mechanisms — unconscious mental strategies supplied to cope with anxiety and maintain a optimistic self-image. Freud believed that the defence mechanisms were necessary for efficient coping with everyday life, but that any kind of of them might be overused (Table 12.4, “The significant Freudian Defence Mechanisms”).

Table 12.4 The significant Freudian Defence Mechanisms.Defence mechanismDefinitionPossible behavioral example
DisplacementDiverting threatening impulses far from the resource of the anxiety and also toward a much more acceptable sourceA student who is angry at her professor for a low grade lashes out at her roommate, that is a safer target of her anger.
ProjectionDisguising threaten impulses by attributing them to othersA man with powerful unconscious sex-related desires for women insurance claims that women usage him together a sex object.
RationalizationGenerating self-justifying explanations because that our negative behavioursA drama student convinces it s her that acquiring the part in the play wasn’t that crucial after all.
Reaction formationMaking i can not accept motivations show up as their precise oppositeJane is sexually attractive to friend Jake, yet she insurance claims in public the she vigorously dislikes him.
RegressionRetreating to an earlier, an ext childlike, and safer stage of developmentA college student who is worried about crucial test begins to suck ~ above his finger.
Repression (or denial)Pushing anxiety-arousing thoughts right into the unconsciousA human being who witnesses his parents having sex is later on unable come remember anything around the event.
SublimationChanneling unacceptable sex-related or aggressive desires right into acceptable activitiesA person participates in sporting activities to sublimate aggressive drives. A human creates music or art to sublimate sex-related drives.

The many controversial, and also least scientifically valid, component of Freudian theory is the explanations the personality development. Freud argued that personality is occurred through a series of psychosexual stages, each concentrating on satisfied from a different component of the human body (Table 12.5, “Freud’s step of Psychosexual Development”). Freud thought that sexuality begins in infancy, and also that the appropriate resolution of every stage has actually implications for later on personality development.

Table 12.5 Freud’s step of Psychosexual Development.StageApproximate agesDescription
OralBirth to 18 monthsPleasure originates from the mouth in the form of sucking, biting, and chewing.
Anal18 month to 3 yearsPleasure originates from bowel and also bladder elimination and also the border of toilet training.
Phallic3 year to 6 yearsPleasure originates from the genitals, and the problem is with sex-related desires because that the opposite-sex parent.
Latency6 years to pubertySexual feeling are less important.
GenitalPuberty and also olderIf front stages have been properly reached, mature sexual orientation develops.

In the first of Freud’s proposed stages of psychosexual development, which begins at birth and lasts until around 18 month of age, the focus is top top the mouth. During this oral stage, the infant obtains sexual pleasure through sucking and also drinking. Infants who get either too small or too lot gratification come to be fixated or locked in the dental stage, and are most likely to regress to this points of continuous under stress, even as adults. According to Freud, a kid who receive too little oral gratification (e.g., that was underfed or neglected) will become orally dependent as an adult and also be most likely to manipulate others to fulfill his or her requirements rather than becoming independent. On the other hand, the child who was overfed or overly gratified will certainly resist cultivation up and try to go back to the prior state of dependency by acting helpless, demanding satisfaction indigenous others, and also acting in a needy way.

The anal stage, lasting from around 18 month to three year of age, is when children very first experience mental conflict. During this stage children desire to suffer pleasure with bowel movements, yet they are likewise being toilet trained to delay this gratification. Freud thought that if this restroom training was either too harsh or as well lenient, kids would end up being fixated in the anal stage and also become most likely to regress come this phase under stress and anxiety as adults. If the child obtained too tiny anal gratification (i.e., if the parents had been really harsh around toilet training), the adult personality will be anal retentive — stingy, through a compulsive seeking of order and tidiness. Top top the other hand, if the parents had been as well lenient, the anal expulsive personality results, identified by a absence of self-control and also a propensity toward messiness and also carelessness.

The phallic stage, i m sorry lasts from age three to period six is once the cock (for boys) and also clitoris (for girls) become the primary erogenous region for sex-related pleasure. During this stage, Freud believed that children build a an effective but unconscious attraction because that the opposite-sex parent, as well as a desire to eliminate the same-sex parent as a rival. Freud based his concept of sexual advance in boys (the Oedipus complex) top top the Greek superordinary character Oedipus, who unknowingly killed his father and married his mother, and also then placed his own eyes out once he learned what he had done. Freud argued that boys will certainly normally ultimately abandon your love that the mother, and also instead determine with the father, likewise taking top top the father’s personality characteristics, but that boys who execute not effectively resolve the Oedipus complex will endure psychological problems later in life. Although it was no as essential in Freud’s theorizing, in girls the phallic phase is frequently termed the Electra complex, ~ the Greek character that avenged her father’s murder by killing she mother. Freud thought that girls typically experienced penis envy, the sense of deprivation supposedly competent by girls due to the fact that they perform not have a penis.

The latency stage is a period of loved one calm the lasts from about six year to 12 years. Throughout this time, Freud believed that sexual impulses to be repressed, leading boys and also girls to have little or no interest in members of the opposite sex.

The fifth and also last stage, the genital stage, begins about 12 year of age and lasts into adulthood. Follow to Freud, sexual impulses return during this time frame, and also if development has proceeded typically to this point, the son is able to move right into the breakthrough of tires romantic relationships. Yet if earlier problems have no been as necessary resolved, obstacles with creating intimate love attachments are likely.

Freud’s Followers: The Neo-Freudians

Freudian concept was so well-known that it led to a number of followers, including plenty of of Freud’s own students, who developed, modified, and expanded his theories. Take away together, these approaches are known as neo-Freudian theories. The neo-Freudian theories room theories based upon Freudian values that emphasize the role of the unconscious and early experience in shaping personality but place less evidence on sexuality as the major motivating pressure in personality and also are more optimistic worrying the prospects for personality expansion and change in personality in adults.

Alfred Adler (1870-1937) was a monitor of Freud’s who arisen his very own interpretation the Freudian theory. Adler proposed that the primary motivation in person personality was not sex or aggression, however rather the striving because that superiority. Follow to Adler, we desire come be much better than others and we achieve this score by creating a distinctive and valuable life. We may attempt to satisfy our need for superiority through our school or professional accomplishments, or by our enjoyment of music, athletics, or other activities that seem vital to us.

Adler thought that mental disorders begin in early childhood. He suggested that children who space either too many nurtured or overly neglected by their parents are later on likely to develop an inferiority complex — a psychological state in which world feel that they room not living up to expectations, top them to have low self-esteem, with a propensity to try to overcompensate for the negative feelings. Civilization with one inferiority facility often effort to demonstrate their superiority to rather at every costs, also if it means humiliating, dominating, or alienating them. According to Adler, many psychological disorders result from misguided attempts to compensate for the inferiority complex in order fulfill the score of superiority.

Carl Jung (1875-1961) was an additional student of Freud’s who developed his own theories around personality. Jung agreed through Freud around the power of the unconscious however felt that Freud overemphasized the importance of sexuality. Jung said that in enhancement to the an individual unconscious, over there was additionally a collective unconscious, or a collection of shared genealogical memories. Jung believed that the collective unconscious contains a variety of archetypes, or cross-culturally universal symbols, which describe the similarities amongst people in your emotional reaction to countless stimuli. Vital archetypes incorporate the mother, the goddess, the hero, and also the mandala or circle, i beg your pardon Jung believed symbolized a desire because that wholeness or unity. Because that Jung, the underlying an inspiration that guides effective personality is self-realization, or learning around and emerging the me to the fullest feasible extent.

Karen Horney (the last syllable of her last surname rhymes with “eye”; 1855-1952) was a German medical professional who used Freudian theories to create a personality concept that she thought was much more balanced between men and also women. Horney thought that parts of Freudian theory, and particularly the concepts of the Oedipus complex and penis envy, were biased versus women. Horney argued that women’s feeling of inferiority to be not because of their absence of a penis however rather to their dependency on men, strategy that the culture made it daunting for them to break from. Because that Horney, the underlying motivation that travel guide personality development is the desire for security, the capability to build appropriate and also supportive relationships v others.

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Another crucial neo-Freudian was Erich Fromm (1900-1980). Fromm’s focus was ~ above the an unfavorable impact of technology, saying that the increases in the use have led human being to feel significantly isolated native others. Fromm believed that the freedom that modern technology brings us likewise creates the should “escape indigenous freedom,” that is, to end up being closer come others.