• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

freud personality

Extracts from this document...


Evaluate how useful Freud's psychoanalytic theory is to understand personality The aim of this essay is to understand how useful Freud's theory to understand personality is. This shall be achieved by firstly understanding the structural components of personality namely psychic energy, structure of the human brain, systems of personality and defence mechanisms against anxiety. Secondly the application of these components in Freud's psychosexual development theory will be analysed. Personality is the set of psychological traits and mechanisms within the individual that are organized and relatively enduring and that influence his or her interactions with, and adaptations to, the intrapsychic, physical, and social environments. (Larsen & Buss, 2005) The starting point of Freud's psychoanalytic theory is that psychic energy is the motivation factor of all human activity. It follows the principle of law of conservation of energy. The psychic energy people possess remains constant and redirection of this energy causes personality change. Psychic energy arose from strong innate forces known as instincts. Freud's classified instincts broadly in two categories: sexual and self preservation. He later then modified it into life and death instinct which were known as libido and thanatos respectively. Libido was a broad term for any life-sustaining, pleasure gaining activity. ...read more.


The superego imposes the ethics and causes guilt when the id wants to conduct actions on the basis of its immoral impulses. The later two are internal conflicts and objective anxiety is an external conflict. (Campbell & Hall, 1998) The anxiety caused is to be defended by the ego, which is done by using several defence mechanisms. The most fundamental of all defences is repression. When stressful unconscious thoughts wish to enter the id the ego tries to find substitute acceptable actions and represses the unacceptable thoughts back into unconscious. The next defence is suppression in which the person tries to ignore, not think about thoughts that cause anxiety. Efforts are made to keep such anxiety provoking thoughts in preconscious. In denial defence the person decides not to perceive the stressful thought. In displacement mechanism the thoughts that cause stress are experienced but the energy release is done in a direction different from the original. This is done since the original direction is not available and in most cases it will help relieve it. In sublimation the emotion is taken out but in a constructive way which does well and is accepted by society. Regression copes with painful emotions by temporarily moving from a mature attitude to an immature attitude. ...read more.


Heuristic value: Various studies show that though Freud's theory is disagreed by many it has had a major influence on the further development of personality psychology and has made vast contributions to clinical psychology. Testibility: All of Freud's theory cannot be empirically tested and hence it can be stated to be a poor theory. Parsimony: Freud's theory does have many premises but since it covers such a vast area it is impossible to maintain parsimony. Compatibility and integration across domains and levels: Freud unlike most personality psychologists has not been able to achieve these criteria. (Larsen & Buss, 2005) Though Freud's theory does not meet all of the criteria and strict terms it will be graded as a poor theory it has played a major role in psychology. His theory of psychosexual development plays an important role in developmental psychology. The psychotherapy techniques he suggested are still practiced though modified. It can be said that his theory is the most comprehensive personality psychology theory and though it has not been accepted as whole parts of it have been the basis of many other personality theories. The graph of the validity of Freud's theory is ever increasing and hence it can be said that this theory has played a vital role in understanding personality. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Psychology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Psychology essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Research Methodology

    The individual participants may or may not react in typical cultural ways so that the researcher or the study views them in a better light. Observational methodologies have been the most promising techniques for the analysis of human behavior, capable of dealing with its complexity and variability (Anguera, 2003).

  2. Peer reviewed

    Freud claimed to have discovered 'scientific method by which the unconscious can be studied.' ...

    5 star(s)

    Freud labelled the suppressing and forgetting of these instinctual impulses by the ego as repression. He presented the process of repression as a dynamic act of forcefully opposing there entrance to consciousness. However the holding of these desires and emotions is never fully achieved as they overflow into the conscious mind.

  1. Peer reviewed

    Freud's theory of psycho-sexual development

    5 star(s)

    De Beauvoir thinks that women should "have the power to choose between the assertion of her transcendence and her alienation as object; she is not the plaything of contradictory drives; she devises solutions of diverse values in the ethical scale"19 .

  2. Different Theories and theorists in Human behaviour

    Going by the hierarchy of needs for the public service is would be: Physiological needs: You join your chosen public service. Safety needs: In you public service such as army, police or fire service, with your job you meet new people and help them.

  1. Central Traits. 'On the basis of one word participants will make bias judgements on ...

    judge their additional traits on and this could alter my experiment and cause incorrect results. Therefore my sample is not that able to generalise to everyone as it is only subject to one particular age group, class and ethnicity. However I do need to make my experiment ecologically valid therefore

  2. Anti-social Behaviour Coursework

    Ecological model - high densities mean to few resources for everyone (January sales) > Some studies have shown that cities contain more stressful environmental features e.g. increased temperatures, overcrowding and noise. Urban dwellers repeatedly report being affected by these physical factors than do rural dwellers.

  1. Uncovering the Defense Mechanisms in the Maya Epigraphy

    Unfortunately, we do not have the ability to return in time and ask questions about the process; we are left with the artistic product to give us whatever information we can glean from it. According the S. Freud and A.

  2. Freud developed his theory in the early 1990's. According to Freud, there are 3 ...

    Method Our group was told that each individual was to go and find two people. We were to find one person who smoked or bit their nails. The other person was someone who didn't smoke or bite his or her nails.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work