Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) was a Swiss psychiatrist who became interested in Freud's theories of personality and the unconscious. He went to Vienna to see Freud and their first meeting lasted 13 hours! After this, they carried on a very active correspondence and their letters to each other have been published (McGuire, 1974). Jung accompanied Freud on his only trip to America (described in Rosenzweig, 1994). The long boat trip to America gave them plenty of time to talk and to analyze each other' s dreams. This proved to be the beginning of the end of their relationship, when Freud held back from discussing certain of his dreams. He chose to maintain his authority rather than give in to unrestricted associations to his dreams (Rosen, 1993).
Jung began to feel that Freud' s theories put too much emphasis on sexuality and aggression, and he also disagreed with Freud about the inherently negative role of unconscious conflicts. Jung went on to develop his own version of how the min works and, while he drew on Freud' s basic notions, he produced a theory that has taken on a life of its own. Jung contributed many ideas to personality psychology . For example, his theory of traits resulted in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, a widely used personality inventory we described in Chapter 3. Jung also developed the word association test, the basic idea of which (that emotional reactions to words interfere with the cognitive processing of those words) is still being investigated by research psychologists in the emotional Stroop test (which we describe in Chapter 13).
One of Jung's most famous ideas concerned the presence in each person of a collective unconscious, which complemented the personal unconscious. The personal unconscious grew out of the person' s own unique experiences, very much like Freud's version of the unconscious. The collective unconscious, on the other hand, was thought to be much more prehistoric, the inherited unconscious content that is passed on from previous generations and contains the collected primordial images common across the human species. This repository of core human feelings and experience is represented in the common symbols that turn up in myths and stories across vastly different cultures. He called these archetypes, expressions or images of basic human needs and instincts that we are all born with. Newborns, for example, all react to their mothers in a similar way because they are born with an archetype of the "good mother" in their collective unconscious. Most cultures share a fear of the dark because we have an archetype of evil hiding in the shadows. Two other important archetypes are the anima, which represents the feminine side of human nature, and the animus, which represents the masculine side of human nature. Jung taught that all persons have the masculine and the feminine archetypes in their collective unconscious.
The collective unconscious is one of Jung' s most controversial ideas, and his only argument for its existence was in noting recurring images and symbols in the myths and stories of different cultures. For this reason, most personality psychologists have rejected the idea as unsupported. But is the notion of a collective past, one that we are unaware of but that influences our present behavio , really such a far -fetched idea? In some ways, the idea of evolved psychological mechanisms, which we described in Chapter 8 on evolutionary approaches to personality , is a lot like Jung' s notion of the collective unconscious. If we think of the collective unconscious as growing out of the common experiences of our ancestors, and as containing predispositions to perceive and process information in certain ways, then it seems to fit th notion of evolved psychological mechanisms. Both Jung and evolutionary psychology share the common view that we are not born as blank slates, but rather that we enter the world with predispositions inherited from our ancestors.
Think back to the first house or apartment you lived in as a child. If you are like most people, you can probably remember as far back as your fourth or fifth year of age. Try to recall the structure of the house or apartment, the location of the rooms relative to each other. Draw a floor plan, starting with the basement if there was one, then the first floor, then the upstairs rooms (if the house had a second floor). On your floor plan, label each room. Now think about each room, letting the memories of events that happened in each of them come back to you. It is likely that you will recall some people and events that you have not thought about for a decade or more. You also might notice that many of your memories have an emotional quality; some memories are pleasant, whereas others are unpleasant. The memories that you can bring to conscious awareness are in your preconscious. You may have memories of events that occurred that do not come back to you during this exercise because they are in your unconscious.
Freud believed that unconscious thoughts, feelings, and ur ges could take on a life of their own. He therefore called this part of the mind the motivated unconscious. Many psychological researchers agree with Freud that one part of the human mind can contain information about which another part of the mind is unaware. As we will see in Chapter 10, not every psychologist who believes in the unconscious believes in the motivated unconscious (Shevrin & Dickman, 1980). Freud taught that material in the motivated unconscious is dynamic in the sense that it can produce particular behaviors, thoughts, and feelings. Once in the unconscious, an ur ge might later surface in any of the following ways: in the disguise of a dream or a recurring nightmare, as a slip of the tongue, as seemingly irrational feelings toward someone else (e.g., unexplained attraction, anger, or jealousy), as a physical symptom (such as paralysis or an eating disorder), or as inexplicable anxiety .
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