Sample Undergraduate Psychology Coursework

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Psychoanalytic Personality Assessment


The theory and philosophy of psychoanalysis are formed by observing that individual people are often unaware of various factors that control their emotions and behaviour. Many psychologists have developed working theories better to understand human personality, development, and maintenance.

Compare and Contrast the Psychoanalytic Theories of Freud, Jung, And Alder. What Are Two Characteristics of These Theories with which you Agree? What are Two Characteristics with which you Disagree?

The most famous psychology names include the early founders and significant contributors Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, and Alfred Alder. According to Goodwin (2008), Jung believed that the dreams of a human being contained insight into that specific person’s psyche and theorized that they must integrate their unconscious with the conscious mind in a process known for people to become complete individuation.

This theory is agreeable as the psychic process is continuous. Various personality elements such as the immature psyche and the experiences of a person’s life become integrated over time to function as a whole.

However, Freud, the most renowned thinker of psychology, based most of his theories on sexuality (Goodwin, 2008). One of the most famous theories is the Oedipus complex (Goodwin, 2008), which denotes the emotions and ideas that the mind keeps in the unconscious concentrates upon a child’s desire to have sexual relations with the opposite sex (Malamud, 1923).

Freud’s Oedipus complex is hard to accept as universally incestuous unions are forbidden between parent-child and sibling-sibling. They are making it difficult to grasp the concept based on core psychological facts. Lastly, Alder promoted the theory of individuality (Goodwin, 2008). Alder saw individuals as being driven by social influences and striving for superiority or success.

Alder’s psychology approach is somewhat agreeable as people are primarily responsible for their choices, which shape their personality. Alder believed that an individual’s present behaviour is shaped by their view about their future, unlike Freud, who emphasized the unconscious components of behaviour.

Describe the Stages of Freud’s Theory and Explain Characteristic of Personality Using these Components

According to Freud, the human personality is divided into Id, Ego, and Superego. Each of these characteristics has its idea of how the individual believes the outcome of certain events should be; furthermore, according to this personality theory, each of the struggles that powerful motives fuel the individual faces.

The theory’s Id component explains that an aspect of a person’s personality is entirely unconscious and includes instinctive/primitive behaviours (Goodwin, 2008). This component of personality is thought by Freud to be present from birth. It is believed to be driven by the pleasure principle, which strives for immediate gratification of a person’s desires, wants, and needs.

If these needs are not satisfied immediately, the person may feel tense or anxious. The next component, Ego, is responsible for dealing with reality. According to Freud, the ego component develops from the id to ensure that the id’s impulses can be expressed in an acceptable way to the real world (Goodwin, 2008).

The ego is thought by Freud to function in the conscious, preconscious, and unconscious mind. It operates on the reality principle, which looks to satisfy the id’s needs, which are within methods that are realistic and socially acceptable. Lastly, the superego is the personality aspect that holds all of a person’s internalized moral standards and ideals acquired and developed from both parents and society (Goodwin, 2008).

The superego is responsible for providing a human being with guidelines to make judgments, and it begins to develop around the age of five, as theorized by Freud. The superego is composed of two-part, (i.) ego-ideal (ii.) conscience. The ego-ideal component includes rules and standards for good behaviour.

These behaviours include those approved by parents or other figures of authority in a person’s life. Having to obey these established rules leads the person to feel pride, value, and accomplishment. On the other hand, the second component, conscience, includes information about views as bad by parents and society. Those destructive behaviours are generally forbidden and lead to adverse consequences, punishments, and feelings of guilt or remorse. It is the responsibility of the superego to civilize a person’s behaviour.

Describe uses of  At least Three Freudian Define Mechanisms with Real-Life Examples

Freud had developed a series of defense mechanisms to prevent threatening unconscious thoughts and material from entering the ego’s consciousness of balancing the id, the superego, and reality of maintaining a harmonious state of consciousness. The different defense mechanisms include repression, reaction formation, denial, projection, displacement, sublimation, regression, and rationalization (Engler, 2009).

Denial is a defense mechanism that refuses to accept external reality because it is too threatening. The individual argues against an anxiety-provoking stimulus by stating it doesn’t exist. This, in turn, brings about a resolution of emotional conflict and reduction of anxiety by refusing to consciously acknowledge the unpleasant aspect of the external reality (Carducci, 2009).

For example, a person who experiences the death of a loved one, such as a parent, sibling, or spouse, may use the coping mechanism of denial to bring them away from the reality of the death. Individuals tend to speak more about the person that is no longer living and refuse to accept the fact of their death. Another mechanism would be displacement.

This mechanism shifts the sexual or aggressive impulses to a more acceptable or less threatening target. It redirects the emotion to a safer outlet, separating it from its real object and redirecting the intense feeling toward someone else (Carducci, 2009). The most common example of this is found in the emotion of anger.

When a person can be highly and passionately anger at someone, such as a woman being angry at her husband but instead yelling at her child because she is angry with her husband, another example typical in males is punching the wall or some other inanimate object to project anger away from the specific person.

Lastly, rationalization is the mechanism in which one convinces themselves that no wrong has been incurred and that all is right through faulty reasoning (Carducci, 2009). This is commonly seen as a social formulation of convenient excuses, or a more drastic form can be found with partners in loveless or abusive relationships. Of the partners, one may be physically or psychologically abusing the other partner, while the other partner makes excuses for their behaviour.

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The three forefathers of psychology and psychoanalysis, Freud, Jung, and Alder, have their ideas for the topic of psychoanalytic personality. Each of their theories contrasts and even overlaps with one another, varying in ideology and details.


Carducci, B. (2009). The Psychology of Personality: Viewpoints, research, and applications. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Engler, B. (2009). Personality Theories. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing.

Goodwin, C. J. (2008). A History of Modern Psychology (3rd ed.). Hoboken: NJ: Wiley.

Malamud, W. (1923). Review of psychological type or the psychology of individuation. The Journal of Abnormal Psychology and Social Psychology, 18, p. 167-180. Retrieved from

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