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William James, Sigmund Freud and the Birth of Modern Psychology Turn-of-the-Century Influences on American Literature.

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Presentation on theme: "William James, Sigmund Freud and the Birth of Modern Psychology Turn-of-the-Century Influences on American Literature."— Presentation transcript:

1 William James, Sigmund Freud and the Birth of Modern Psychology Turn-of-the-Century Influences on American Literature

2 “Hysteria”  hysteria (n.) -- behavior exhibiting overwhelming or unmanageable fear or emotional excess; a psychoneurosis marked by emotional excitability and disturbances of the senses.  from the Ancient Greek hystera, meaning “womb.”  hysteria (n.) -- behavior exhibiting overwhelming or unmanageable fear or emotional excess; a psychoneurosis marked by emotional excitability and disturbances of the senses.  from the Ancient Greek hystera, meaning “womb.”

3 “Hysteria”  Oh those Ancient Greeks…  hysteria was peculiar to women  caused by disturbances in the uterus  Hippocrates -- madness arises in women whose uteri have become too light and dry from a lack of sexual intercourse, and, as a result, wandered upward and compressed the heart, lungs and diaphragm. (Oh, yeah…that makes sense!)  Oh those Ancient Greeks…  hysteria was peculiar to women  caused by disturbances in the uterus  Hippocrates -- madness arises in women whose uteri have become too light and dry from a lack of sexual intercourse, and, as a result, wandered upward and compressed the heart, lungs and diaphragm. (Oh, yeah…that makes sense!)

4 Still More Hysteria…  According to Plato: “the womb is an animal which longs to generate children. When it remains barren too long after puberty, it is distressed and disturbed, and straying about the body and cutting off the passages of the breath, it impedes respiration and brings the sufferer into the extremest anguish and provokes all manner of diseases besides.”

5 William James ( )  philosopher, “psychologist”  Principles of Psychology  interested in “looking into our own minds and seeing what we will discover.”  coined the term “stream of consciousness” (“stream of thought”)  philosopher, “psychologist”  Principles of Psychology  interested in “looking into our own minds and seeing what we will discover.”  coined the term “stream of consciousness” (“stream of thought”)

6 Look -- the background of this slideshow is a “stream”!  thoughts occur in the mind like a “stream” -- flowing, moving from association to association; sensory responses to stimuli, etc.  thought is not a “strict succession of ideas”  Emotion and thought are not always rational  thoughts occur in the mind like a “stream” -- flowing, moving from association to association; sensory responses to stimuli, etc.  thought is not a “strict succession of ideas”  Emotion and thought are not always rational

7 The Psyche and the Arts  “Aesthetic emotion, the pleasure given to us by certain [works of art], and the combinations of colors and sound, is an absolutely sensational experience, an optical or auricular feeling that is primary”(James).  This is why we like the arts -- paintings, songs, movies, books, poems, etc.  “Aesthetic emotion, the pleasure given to us by certain [works of art], and the combinations of colors and sound, is an absolutely sensational experience, an optical or auricular feeling that is primary”(James).  This is why we like the arts -- paintings, songs, movies, books, poems, etc.

8 Sigmund Freud ( )  Austrian neurologist  initially studied sexual anatomy of eels. (oh…um, okay)  started his career as a psychoanalyst by seeing patients suffering from hysteria; initially used hypnosis in treatments.  Austrian neurologist  initially studied sexual anatomy of eels. (oh…um, okay)  started his career as a psychoanalyst by seeing patients suffering from hysteria; initially used hypnosis in treatments.

9 Where do our problems come from?  Society approves of and rewards certain behaviors, desires and feelings, and frowns upon behaviors that are “immoral” or “improper.”  Our actions are governed by what society deems acceptable or desirable.  emotional well-being, in part, is shaped by how well our desires match accepted norms.  Society approves of and rewards certain behaviors, desires and feelings, and frowns upon behaviors that are “immoral” or “improper.”  Our actions are governed by what society deems acceptable or desirable.  emotional well-being, in part, is shaped by how well our desires match accepted norms.

10 I have three minds?!?  The psyche is comprised of three parts:  ID  SUPEREGO  EGO  All desires and decisions are filtered through these three parts.  The psyche is comprised of three parts:  ID  SUPEREGO  EGO  All desires and decisions are filtered through these three parts.

11 Did you just say “id”?  ID = impulsive, child-like portion; operates on “pleasure principle”; only takes into account what it wants.  SUPEREGO = the moral censor; refuses to consider any situation in which the morally right thing to do may not be right for a given situation (aka The Party Pooper)  ID = impulsive, child-like portion; operates on “pleasure principle”; only takes into account what it wants.  SUPEREGO = the moral censor; refuses to consider any situation in which the morally right thing to do may not be right for a given situation (aka The Party Pooper)

12 My ego’s more super than your ego!  EGO = the rational mind; acts as a mediator between ID and SUPEREGO; attempts to strike a balance

13 The Great Repression  When forbidden desires conflict with the part of the mind that considers moral standards, those desires are repressed.  Most psychological problems (neuroses) are caused by inhibition and repression.  When forbidden desires conflict with the part of the mind that considers moral standards, those desires are repressed.  Most psychological problems (neuroses) are caused by inhibition and repression.

14 Where do desires go when I repress them?  When desires are repressed, they are forced out of the conscious mind and “stuffed” in the “unconscious” (or subconscious) mind.  “Das a’ no good!” (psychosomatic symptoms)  the root of all neuroses, hysteria, etc.  Emotional wholeness can be attained only when people recognize and overcome their inhibitions, past traumas and repressions.  When desires are repressed, they are forced out of the conscious mind and “stuffed” in the “unconscious” (or subconscious) mind.  “Das a’ no good!” (psychosomatic symptoms)  the root of all neuroses, hysteria, etc.  Emotional wholeness can be attained only when people recognize and overcome their inhibitions, past traumas and repressions.

15 “The Talking Cure”  psychoanalysis -- a procedure for the analysis and therapy of neuroses (nervous conditions).  talking+couch+analyst+cocaine=cure  free-association; dream analysis  “unlocking” the unconscious  psychoanalysis -- a procedure for the analysis and therapy of neuroses (nervous conditions).  talking+couch+analyst+cocaine=cure  free-association; dream analysis  “unlocking” the unconscious

16 The Psyche and the Arts  Freud believed that art consists of the imagined fulfillment of wishes that are either denied by reality or are prohibited by society.  While an ordinary person will repress prohibited desires, the artist can put them to more productive use.  Art is a form of sublimation of repressed desires.  Freud believed that art consists of the imagined fulfillment of wishes that are either denied by reality or are prohibited by society.  While an ordinary person will repress prohibited desires, the artist can put them to more productive use.  Art is a form of sublimation of repressed desires.

17 The Artist  Artists possess special abilities to sublimate (to shift instinctual drives from their original goals to a “higher” purpose (art).  Sublimation is the ability to turn imagined wish-fulfillments into the manifest features of a work of art in such a way that conceals the merely personal elements and makes them capable of satisfying the unconscious desires of people other than the individual artist.  Artists possess special abilities to sublimate (to shift instinctual drives from their original goals to a “higher” purpose (art).  Sublimation is the ability to turn imagined wish-fulfillments into the manifest features of a work of art in such a way that conceals the merely personal elements and makes them capable of satisfying the unconscious desires of people other than the individual artist.


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