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The Man in the Mirror: Self-Awareness as Social Awareness

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  1. Introduction
  2. The oldest and most controversial methods of exploring human personality
  3. The superego
  4. Freud and his followers' view of human beings
  5. Contemporaries of Karen Horney, Alfred Adler and Erik Erikson
  6. The optimal psychodynamic theory of personality
  7. Social psychology
  8. Conclusion
  9. Works cited

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 . Smith-Lovin, Lynn. ?Roles, Identities, and Emotions: Parallel Processing and [...]


[...] 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. [...]


[...] ?Putting Your Best Face Forward.? Psychology Today 37.3 (2004): 48-49. Academic Search Premier Apr . Gray, Peter. Psychology. 4th ed. New York: Worth Hall, Calvin S. A Primer of Freudian Psychology. Cleveland: World Hensley, Wayne E. Theory of the Valenced Other: The Intersection of the Looking-Glass- Self and Social Penetration.? Social Behavior and Personality 24.3 (1996): 293-308. Academic Search Premier Apr . Horney, Karen. New Ways in Psychoanalysis. New York: Norton Jung, C. G. Modern Man in Search of a Soul. Trans. W. S. Dell and Cary F. [...]

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