My College Class Notes

A place to share my class notes…

Sigmund Freud: Personality Development

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I – Sigmund Freud’s Major Hypotheses about Personality

  1. Man’s Psychic system:

    Is a complex energy system and obeys the scientific law that energy cannot be lost or destroyed, but it can be transferred from one part of a system to another part, and it can be transformed.

  2. “The Topography of the mind”

    There are three levels or types of mental (psychic) activity:

    1. Conscious:
    2. Preconscious:
    3. Unconscious:
  3. “The Intrapsychic System”

    The personality structure consists of three subsystems:

    1. Id
    2. Ego
    3. Superego
  4. The Psychosexual Stages of Development

    There are five major stages of biological-psychological development through which every person must progress if he is to become psychologically mature. Freud called these levels to become psychologically mature. Freud called these levels of development.

    Psychosexual Stages which include:

    1. Oral Stage (Birth – 18 months)
    2. Anal Stage (18 months – 3 years)
    3. Phallic Stage (3 years – 5 years)
    4. Latent State (6 years – Puberty)
    5. Genital Stage (Puberty – )


  1. Personality Development

Personality develops in response to four major sources of tension. A person is forced to learn methods of reducing tension and this learning constitutes personality development (new modes of thought, feeling, and behavior).

  1. Physiological growth processes
  2. Frustration
  3. Conflict
  4. Threat
  1. That ego develops methods for reducing tension and self protection:

    1. Identification and displacement are used to resolve conflicts and frustrations.
    2. Defense mechanisms are methods that deny or distort reality and that may impede the positive (or mature) development or personality or psychological functioning.


  1. The early years of infancy and childhood are decisive in laying down the basic character structure and personality of each individual

II – Criticism of Freudian Psychoanalytic Theory

  1. Does not consider the influences of culture and society on the acquisitions of modes of behavior and personality structure.
  2. Too little emphasis on the significance of the process of learning.
  3. Too much emphasis on the influence of instinct, heredity, biology, and physical maturation on the development of personality.
  4. His scientific or empirical procedure for validating his hypotheses had grave shortcomings in it.
  5. Psychoanalytic theory is extremely difficult to test through controlled scientific research (it does not lend itself to testing by the experimental method)
  6. The theory is “culture bound” and largely a reflection of 19th century scientific thinking.

Written by Joseph Eulo

May 28, 2008 at 5:04 am

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