PSY405- Personality Psychology No. 5“INSTINCT: WHAT MOTIVATES HUMAN BEHAVIOR?” Problems Discussions and Solutions Fall 2013


A Matter of Life and Death

Human Development Viewed Psychosexually

The Oral Stage (birth-to -18 months):

The Anal Stage (18 months to 3 years) :

The Phallic Stage (3 years to 5 years):

The Latency Period (5 years to 12 years):

The Genital Stage (12 years -puberty):

The Nature of Anxiety

Types of Anxiety

Realistic Anxiety:

Neurotic Anxiety:

Moral Anxiety:

Ego Defense Mechanisms






Reaction Formation:


Techniques of Psychoanalysis

Patient → therapist


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Accordance with the law of conservation of Energy (i.e. energy may be converted from one state to
another, but is all the same energy).Freud accepted this principle of nature, translated it into psychological
terms, and theorized that the source of psychic energy derives from neurophysiologic states of excitation.
He further postulated that each individual has a limited amount of such energy avai1able for mental
activity, and that the goal of all human behavior was the reduction of tension created by the unpleasant
accumulation of energy over time. For example, if most of your energy is presently being expanded to
recognize the words on this page, then little is left for other types of mental activity like daydreaming or
viewing a TV program.

A Matter of Life and Death
Freud recognized the existence of two basic groups of them-life and death instincts. The former group
includes all the forces which serve to maintain. Vital life processes and assures propagation of the species.
Because of the significance attributed to them in the psychic organization of individuals, the sex instincts
were singled out by Freud as the most salient of the life instincts for the development of personality. The
energy force underlying the sexual instincts is called libido (from the Latin word for "wish" or "desire") or
libidinal energy.
The other group represents destructive side of the personality.

Human Development Viewed Psychosexually
The psychoanalytic theory of development is based on two premises. The first, the genetic approach,
emphasizes that adult personality is shaped by various types of early childhood experiences. The second is
that a certain amount of sexual energy (libido) is present at birth and thereafter progresses through a series
of psychosexual stages that are rooted in the instinctual processes of the organism.
The formation of personality; oral, anal, phallic, and genital. A period of latency, normally occurring
between the ages of 6 or 7 and the onset of puberty, was included by Freud in the overall scheme of
development, but, technically speaking, it is not a stage.

The Oral Stage (birth-to -18 months):
The oral stage of psychosexual development extends throughout the first year of life. Infants are totally
reliant upon others for survival; dependence is their only way of obtaining instinctual gratification. The
mouth is obviously the body structure most frequently associated at this time with both reduction of
biological drives and pleasurable sensations.

The Anal Stage (18 months to 3 years) :
During the second and third years of life, the focus of libidinal energy shifts from to the anal region. Young
children derive considerable pleasure from both the retention and expulsion of feces and gradually learn to
enhance this pleasure by delaying bowl movements (i.e. allowing minor pressure to be exerted against the
lower intestine and anal sphincter).

The Phallic Stage (3 years to 5 years):
During the fourth and fifth years, the child’s libidinal interest one again shift to a new erogenous zone of
the body, the genitals. During this phallic stage of psychosexual development, children can be observed
examining their sex organs.

The Latency Period (5 years to 12 years):
Between the ages of 6 or 7 and the onset of adolescence, the child passes through a period of comparative
sexual quiescence. During the latency period, the libido is sublimated i.e. channeled into nonsexual
activities such as intellectual interests, athletics, and peer relationships.

The Genital Stage (12 years -puberty):
With the advent of puberty comes a resurgence of sexual and aggressive impulses coupled with an
increased awareness of and interest in the opposite sex. The initial phase of the genital stage (a period
extending from adolescence until death) is brought about by biochemical and physiological changes in the
organism. The reproductive organs mature, and the endocrine system secretes hormones that result in
secondary sex characteristics (e.g., beards in males, breast development in females).

The Nature of Anxiety
Freud's initial interest in the phenomenon of anxiety was motivated by his interest in explaining neurotic
symptoms and treating people suffering from them. This Interest at first led him to propose that anxiety is a
consequence of inadequately discharged libidinal energy. He further theorized that the state of increased
tension resulting from blocked libido and un-discharged excitation was converted into and manifested by
anxiety neuroses.

Ego Defense Mechanisms
The major psychodynamic functions of anxiety are to help the individual avoid conscious recognition of
unacceptable instinctual impulses and to allow impulse gratification only indirectly. Ego defense
mechanisms help to carry out these functions as well as to protect the person from overwhelming anxiety.
(1) By blocking the impulse from expression in conscious behavior
(2) By distorting it to such a degree that the original intensity is markedly reduced or deflected.
They operate an on unconscious level and are therefore self-deceptive and they distort one’s perception of
reality, so as to make anxiety less threatening to the individual and they protect the ego.
The ego fights a battle to stay at the top of id and super ego. The conflicts between id and super ego
produce anxiety that is a threat to ego. The threat or anxiety experienced by ego is a signal that alerts the
ego to use unconscious protective processes that keep primitive emotions associated with conflicts in
check. These protective processes are defense mechanisms or coping styles.

Sublimation: According to Freud, sublimation is an ego defense that enables the individual adaptively to
divert impulses so that they may be expressed via socially approved thoughts or actions. Sublimation is
considered to be the only healthy, constructive strategy against objectionable impulses because it allows the
ego to change the aim or object (or both) of impulses without inhibiting their expression.

Repression: Freud regarded repression as the primary ego defense. Described as selective forgetting,
repression completely obstructs the expression of unconscious sexual and aggressive impulses so that they
cannot be admitted to awareness, at least as long as they remain objectionable to the person. Hence, no
tension reduction is permitted.


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