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Highlight the key features/tenets of Freud's and Murray's theories of personality. Identify key similarities and differences between the two theories, and briefly assess if they are compatible or mutually exclusive.

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Introduction

Highlight the key features/tenets of Freud's and Murray's theories of personality. Identify key similarities and differences between the two theories, and briefly assess if they are compatible or mutually exclusive. In the following, I am going to first explain the key features of Freud's and Murray's theories of personality. Secondly, I will go through the similarities and differences between Freud's and Murray's theories. Lastly, I will discuss whether these two theories are compatible or mutually exclusive. Before I start, let's go through the meaning of 'personality'. Personality consists of the unique and stable patterns of behaviour, thoughts, and emotions shown by individuals (Nelson & Miller, 1995) or, as Friedman and Schustack (1999) have recently put it, the psychological forces that make people uniquely themselves. Actually, there are several theories that attempt to explain personality: Sigmund Freud, Henry A Murray and his collaborators, B F Skinner and George Kelly. Here, I am going to focus on the theories of Freud and Murray. To explain personality, psychoanalysts, with Sigmund Freud as the pioneer, tried to bring repressed unconscious material to the conscious domain. With respect to personality, however, four topics are most central: levels of consciousness, the structure of personality, anxiety and defense mechanisms, and psychosexual stages of development. Let's go through these one by one. Freud believed that the human mind has three distinct levels: the conscious, preconscious, and unconscious. The conscious level includes our current thoughts; whatever we are thinking about or experiencing at a given moment (e.g. thoughts, perception). Beneath this conscious level is the much larger preconscious. This contains memories that are not part of current thought but can readily be brought to mind if the need arises (e.g. memories, stored knowledge). Finally, beneath the preconscious, and forming the bulk of the human mind, is the unconscious: thoughts, desires, and impulses of which we remain largely unaware. Although some of this material has always been unconscious, Freud believed that much of it was once conscious but has been actively repressed because it was too anxiety provoking. ...read more.

Middle

Now, I am going to explain these factors one by one. Murray also claimed that behaviour is regulated by a biological mechanism. They agreed that human beings carry out complex activities because innate forces control them, not because they understand them. For example, a newborn child sucks nipple and gets food. Actually, the child doesn't know it is necessary to suck and get food. He does it because the body is in need of food, the mouth itches and when he sucks, the itch diminishes and he feels deep pleasure. It shows how biological, innate mechanisms may work in humans. Murray and his collaborators thought they could identify 'needs' which arise more directly from our physical nature. They identified 13 such needs, they are: air, water, food, sex, lactation, urination, defecation, harm avoidance, nox avoidance, heat avoidance, cold avoidance, sentience and passivity. These needs are as same as Freud's concept of 'id', they refer to a mental representation of biological processes, and they provide the 'psychic energy', which makes action possible. These needs are connected with deep pleasures: eating, drinking, urinating, defecation, and sexual activity. In short, we can say that these needs have to do with the satisfaction of physical needs, but in addition there are other needs which are more relevant to mental satisfaction. There is another set of needs which Murray said had to do with mental or emotional satisfaction. In Explorations of Personality, 20 of these needs were identified. Here are some examples: acquisition (e.g. to work for money), achievement (e.g. to get a distinction in examination), nurturance (work as a volunteer in youth center) and play (like to tell jokes). For example, a successful businessman has the needs of 'acquisition' and 'achievement'. He wants to exercise power and to gain possessions. That's why he is wealthy and successful. In some ways they were functions of the brain, of our psychological nature. ...read more.

Conclusion

Also, Murray was equally aware of influences arising from outside which Freud had totally neglected it. It seems that Murray's approach has a wider base then Freud's. Lastly, we can observe that Murray's ideas were developed equally in the laboratory and the clinic, while Freud's ideas were dependent on clinical experience only. Murray and his colleagues used laboratory techniques, such as 'reaction time' to measure the respond of the people, which is somehow more testable and measurable. After going through the main features of the two theories, we can say that the two theories are compatible. Although there are some differences between these two theories, they still shared the concept of psychoanalytical approach. They both attempt to bring repressed unconscious material into consciousness, in order to help reducing conflicts. On the other hand, Murray and his colleagues shared Freud's fundamental belief that in some way all behaviour is determined. They spoke of the brain as 'an extremely complex, differentiated resonator, composed of variously integrated traces (much modified by the residues of racial and personal experience)'. These traces would then lead to thought and action. It seems that they shared the same perspective. Murray's concepts of psychological needs and environmental press can give a wider scope in studying personality. Also, the wide range of methods used by Murray maintains the reliability and testability of the study. On the other hand, Freud's psychodynamic and psychosexual theories provide a more thorough explanation about how human innate forces affecting personality. So, these two theories can be used together to provide a more comprehensive picture of human functioning. Reference SS101 Social Sciences: A foundation Course Unit 15 and 16, Open University of Hong Kong, 2001 Barbaba Woods (1997) Discovering Psychology Robert A. Baron, Essentials of Psychology, Allyn &Bacon Gillian Butler and Freda McManus, Psychology: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford University Press Murray, H et al. (1938) Explorations in Personality, New York: Oxford University Press Freud, S (1900) The Interpretation of Dreams, New York: Basic Books (1955) TSANG SUK MEI 03514342 PAGE 1 ...read more.

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