Chapter 12

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1. Does psychoanalysis overestimate the importance of sex? How far-reaching are the effects of sex on human life?

2.  Are people the age of your parents (or professors) still growing and changing? In what ways? Do you see psychological differences, for example, between people the age of your parents and people the age of your grandparents?

The Psychology of the Person

Background for the Emergence of the

Many scholars who gathered around Freud in Vienna eventually broke away from the Vienna group to develop their own theories of personality and establish their own schools of psychology.

Collectively, these theorists are known as the neo- Freudians because they retained many basic Freudian concepts and assumptions.

Limitations of Freudian Theory
According to the Neo-Freudians

Among the limits they saw in Freud’s theory were:

His failure to recognize personality change after the first few years of life

His emphasis on instinctual over social influences

  • The generally negative picture he painted of human nature.


They differed from Freud along some aspects of his theory

Freud put emphasis on early childhood and on instinctual drives, without considering social factors.

The neo-Freudians also objected to the overall pessimistic tone of Freud, and his views of female inferiority.

Alfred Adler and Individual Psychology

  • Adler was an eye-doctor, who was a weak and sick child
  • His autobiography is important for the understanding of his ideas

Alfred Adler introduced the concept of striving for superiority to account for most human motivation.

It is the ONLY motivation in life

Superiority and Inferiority

Adler argued that we are motivated to overcome feelings of helplessness that are rooted in the infant’s dependence on others

The striving for superiority is not expressed a an egotistic sense of grandiosity, but rather in Social Interest

Meaning- working to benefit others

Parental Behavior and Birth order

Adler also identified parental pampering and neglect as two sources of later personality problems.

He argued that middle born children were the most achieving and were less likely to experience psychological disorders than were first-born or last-born.

Birth Order

  • First children:
  • Prone to perfectionism and need for affirmation (the child losing the parents’ undivided attention and compensating throughout life by working to get it back)
  • In addition, this child may be expected to set an example and be given responsibility for younger siblings.
  • Middle:
  • More competitive, rebellious and consistent in attempting to be best.
  • May struggle with figuring out their place in the family and, later, in the world.
  • May be the most flexible and diplomatic members of the family.
  • Youngest:
  • Only:

Birth Order

  • Youngest:
  • May be dependent and selfish due to always being taken care of by family members.
  • However, this child may also possess positive traits of confidence, ability to have fun and comfort at entertaining others.
  • Only:
  • May have a hard time when they are told no, and school may be a difficult transition as they are not the sole focus of the teacher.
  • More mature, feel more comfortable around adults and even do better in intellectual and creative pursuits.
  • Twins:
  • One is usually seen as the older and is stronger and more active.
  • This one often becomes the leader, though both may develop identity problems due to being treated as one unit instead of two people.

Carl Jung and Analytical Psychology

  • Carl Jung proposed the existence of a collective unconscious that houses primordial images he called archetypes.
  • The collective unconscious contains material each of us inherited from past generations and is basically the same for all people.
  • Evidence for the collective unconscious was in ethnic myths, religions, dreams


  • Jung used the terms Archetypes or Primordial Images to refer to the collective unconscious materials.
  • Most important of the archetypes are the anima, the animus, and the shadow. Jung pointed to the recurrent surfacing of archetypal symbols in folklore, art, dreams, and psychotic patients as evidence for their existence.

Symbol (?)

Erik Erikson and Ego Psychology

  • Role of ego: To establish and maintain a sense of identity
  • Development across the lifespan: Erikson divided the lifespan into 8 phases
  • Each phase had a developmental task to accomplish, which Erikson called “crisis”
  • The crisis can be resolved either positively or negatively, affecting further development

The Eight Phases of Development
Infancy: Trust vs. mistrust

  • Child depends on the responsiveness of the caregivers

Toddler: Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt

  • Allowing the child to explore provides a sense of mastery over the environment

Early Childhood: Initiative vs. Guilt

  • Learn how to interact with others, seek out playmates and resolve conflicts

Elementary School: Industry vs. Inferiority

  • Social comparison with classmates may evoke a sense of competence or faliure

Adolescence: Identity vs. Role Confusion

  • Time of experimentation

Young Adulthood: Intimacy vs. Isolation

  • Developing intimate relationship

Middle Adulthood: Generativity vs. Stagnation

  • Guiding the next generation or involving in self-idulgence

Older Age: Ego Integrity vs. Despair

  • Reflection on past experience creates a sense of integrity and acceptance

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

  • Among the personality assessment instruments to come out of the neo- Freudian theories is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
  • This test measures “psychological types”, as outlined by Jung.
  • Test scores divide people into types along four dimensions: extraversion-introversion, sensing-intuitive, thinking-feeling, and judgment-perception. Researchers have challenged the way the test divides people into categories.

Karen Horney and Feminine Psychology

  • Karen Horney rejected Freud’s emphasis on instinctual causes of personality development.
  • She argued that the differences Freud saw between the personalities of men and women were more likely the result of social factors than inherited predispositions.
  • Horney maintained that neurotic behavior is the result of interpersonal styles developed in childhood to overcome anxiety. She identified three neurotic styles, which she called moving toward people, moving against people, and moving away from people

Klein & Winnicott

  • Ego as arising out of primitive threats to existence (survival mechanism)
  • Object relations: Theory of relationships between people, in particular within a family and especially between the mother and her child.
  • we are driven to form relationships with others and that failure to form successful early relationships leads to later problems.
  • relation between the subject and their internalized objects, as well as with external objects. Thus we have a relationship with the internal mother as well as an external one.
  • Relations with the breast are significant.
  • As the child feeds, it feels gratified and satiated when the breast produces sufficient milk, in which case it is loved and cherished.
  • When the child is prematurely withdrawn or the breast does not provide sufficient food, the child is frustrated and the breast is hated and the recipient of hostile thoughts.
  • Extremes of feeling: projection and association of bad feelings.
  • Related to attachment theory.

Current Status of the Neo-Freudians

  • The Neo-Freudians are mentioned today primarily because of their historical relevance
  • Among the strengths of the neo-Freudian theories are the contributions they made to psychoanalytic theory.
  • Many later approaches to personality were no doubt influenced by one or more of these theorists.
  • Criticisms of the neo- Freudians include their use of biased and questionable data to support the theories. In addition, critics have charged that some of the theories are oversimplified and incomplete.

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