Much of the realm of psychology, especially in the disciplines of neuroscience and cognitive studies, is focused on identifying the unified characteristics of human thought and behavior. The brain is studied extensively: years upon years of theories and experiments have yielded an accurate map as well as concrete functions for each individual structure, most recently those of the cerebral cortex. The consistency of the modern brain is helpful in determining what specific occurrences are in fact abnormalities: much like standardized criteria for mental disorders are necessary for correct diagnosis and distribution of medication. And this is what makes the lesser-known focuses on personality and social psychology all the more interesting. A common person automatically draws a line between psychology and insanity. Yet everyday psychology, the interactions between populations and the self-awareness individuals uphold as the fundamental element of being human, goes ignored in a society increasingly fixated on the negative. An individual is more than a brain and genetics, but so often the individual is forgotten in matters of the mind. There is uniqueness to each and every person, a personality that will never be expressed again, a self that is alone in its composition. Sigmund Freud's theory of the psychodynamic personality accounts for many of these peculiarities that are, in essence, the souls of humanity. The focus of social psychology on self-consciousness formed through the eyes of others solidifies the relationship between the self and society that develops a blank personality into the true portrait of an individual.
[...] Baynes. New York: Harvest Jung, C. G. Problem of Evil Today.” Meeting the Shadow: The Hidden Power of the Dark Side of Human Nature. Ed. Connie Zweig and Jeremiah Abrams. New York: Putnam 170-173. Layder, Derek. Social and Personal Identity: Understanding Yourself. London: Sage Pinhey, Thomas K. and Donald H. Rubinstein. “Overweight and Happiness: The Reflected Self-Appraisal Hypothesis Reconsidered.” Social Science Quarterly 78.3 (1997): 747-755. Academic Search Premier Apr
[...] As explained adequately by psychodynamic theorists in terms of personality development, children seek security within their environments, and the static outcome of such experiments express a lack of individualism and autonomy in the face of a more social identity. This changes in later growth stages, for “adolescents and adults often respond to such appraisals in ways that seem designed to correct what they perceive to be another person's misperception of them” (510). Childhood conformity to expectations is necessary for the birth of self-esteem, but once such a secure footing is obtained, the self-concept begins to form separate from the control of the environment: soldiers seen as baby-faced since their youth, a trait often carried with them to war, fight harder for personal recognition and heroism in the midst of life-threatening situations to prove to their family and peers that they are separate from their physical attributions and, more importantly, their social stigmas. [...]
[...] Childhood is a crucial period of development to every human being, and the impact of the security drive as emphasized by Karen Horney is only one of numerous psychodynamic theories that illustrate the importance of healthy social interaction early in the life cycle to a well-adjusted personality. Contemporaries of Karen Horney, Alfred Adler and Erik Erikson, contributed also to the idea of the personality changing in accordance to individual and societal desires and influences. Erik Erikson's theory of psychosocial development, a foundational concept in the field of developmental psychology, “posits that different motives, each accompanied by its own set of needs from the social environment” must be satisfied in such a way as to appease the unconscious desires of the self and the social expectations of the environment (Gray 596). [...]
[...] A sense of morality and the boundaries of society is necessary for deciding what urges warrant displacement or projection; this process never lies completely in the realm of the unconscious, for the unconscious is merely a storage facility for the originals as the conscious mind develops more acceptable substitutes. thrust strivings out of awareness, or not to admit them into awareness, does not prevent them from existing and from being effective . [for] unconscious motivations remain unconscious because [people] are interested in not becoming aware of and assuring that others do not become aware of them as well (Horney 21). [...]
[...] However, the neo-Freudians, those psychodynamic theorists since Freud, see people as inherently social beings with social drives serving as the motivational forces in their theories, drives that extend well beyond aggression and sexual gratification and that are overwhelmingly conscious in nature versus unconscious. These object relation theories, “focus[ed] on the potentially conflicting human drives to be in close emotional relationships with other people and yet to be autonomous and independent,” add a depth to human personality that went ignored by Freud for years: the self in relation to others (Gray 596). [...]
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