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Why would a behaviour effect one sex?

Why would a behaviour effect one sex?

After reading the article Regular sleeping hours really are good for children-if they are girls I started wondering what would be a good explanation for something such as sleep patterns have an affect on cognition, and specifically higher in girls?

And are their other examples where one sex is influenced at a higher rate?


When I first read the article you cited, which was actually just paraphrased from a magazine, I was hoping that the actual researchers would of come up with a hypothesis as to what would of caused this. If you weren't able to find the actual study, all you have to do is just Google the author's name + their University/College and their page will come up with all the research they've ever done. Academics love to do this. And boom the actual study is here: http://jech.bmj.com/content/early/2013/06/25/jech-2012-202024

But they never sought out to at least hypothesize why… which was disheartening. Sometimes you can find a derivative work on the side there too, which may be trying to explain. Doesn't look like it here. Oh well.

Back to your original questions though:

What would be a good explanation for something such as sleep patterns have an affect on cognition, and specifically higher in girls?

Physiologically and as a general guess: hormones, the subtle differences in the ways that our brains are set up structurally as well as chemically, which could of all been set up by evolution. The true answer is probably expressed as some sort of very subtle mechanism in the brain that we may not find for a very long time - and that mechanism has been put there by evolution. We just don't know why yet. I'm going to halfway guess down below though.

And are their other examples where one sex is influenced at a higher rate?

I'm sure you can think of a few pretty general stereotypes that are likely true. In general, girls are more influenced by emotion than guys are. In general, guys are more influenced by logic than girls are. I can cite this if you want, but I'm sure you can think of a million examples too.

Do you think that because this study involves cognition, a topic that is usually thought (or maybe just taught) to be independent of gender, that that is completely true? Evolution would mold cognition just like anything else. Cognition is a very vague word to use anyway since there are so many different tests to measure it and so many different sub types of cognition. Admittedly the researcher did a pretty thorough job with her tests, but she didn't do all the tests out there.

As a hypothesis: Females deal with certain types of stress differently than males do. Evolutionarily, you could hypothesize a milleu of reasons as to why the "females that responded to this stressor this way usually survived" because of x, y, and/or z.

In this case, they may be more susceptible to disturbances in their sleep (causing stress) and thus handle that type of stress differently than males do. The study of the underlying causes of stress for a man or a woman is actually a pretty huge field as they seem to believe (you'll see in my citations or the side citations next to them on pubmed.gov) that chronic stress = depression. It is a widely researched topic because of this.

There is going to be some granularity to this though. Can't make generalizations.

Here's an interesting study some researchers did that showed the males up:

Sex differences associated with intermittent swim stress.
Warner TA, Libman MK, Wooten KL, Drugan RC. Stress. 2013 Aug 12. Source Department of Psychology, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH 03824, USA. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23930864
Abstract
Various animal models of depression have been used to seek a greater understanding of stress-related disorders. However, there is still a great need for novel research in this area, as many individuals suffering from depression are resistant to current treatment methods. Moreover, women gave a higher rate of depression, highlighting the need to investigate mechanisms of sex differences. Therefore, we employed a new animal model to assess symptoms of depression, known as intermittent swim stress (ISS). In this model, the animal experiences 100 trials of cold water swim stress. ISS has already been shown to cause signs of behavioral depression in males, but has yet to be assessed in females. Following ISS exposure, we looked at sex differences in the Morris water maze and forced swim test. The results indicated a spatial learning effect only in the hidden platform task between male and female controls, and stressed and control males. A consistent spatial memory effect was seen for males exposed to ISS. In the forced swim test, both sexes exposed to ISS exhibited greater immobility, and the same males and females also showed attenuated climbing and swimming, respectively. The sex differences could be due to different neural substrates for male and females. The goal of this study was to provide the first behavioral examination of sex differences following ISS exposure, so the stage of estrous cycle was not assessed for the females. This is a necessary future direction for subsequent experiments. The current paper highlights the importance of sex differences in response to stress, which may have bearing on disease mechanisms. PMID: 23930864 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

So, in that case the males got the blunt of it when having to go through that crazy course. Their "spatial learning" was messed up in comparison to the female's - whose weren't - but just during one specific part of the course.

It's very granular, but still interesting nonetheless.

Here's another interesting one. It actually seeks and does a pretty good job at explaining why females tend to overeat as a coping strategy for certain types of stress. Actually one thing I don't like about this study is how it generalizes the word "stress" instead of the specific "stressor." Regardless, it does quite a good and interesting job explaining the hormonal, physiological reasons why females overeat when they are "stressed" as the paper says.

Gender differences in ghrelin response to chronic immobilization stress in rats: possible role of estrogen. Elbassuoni EA. Source Physiology Department, Minia University School of Medicine, Minia, Egypt. [email protected] Gen Physiol Biophys. 2013 Aug 12.
Abstract
Ghrelin is a peptidergic hormone known to be one of the main hormones involved in the regulation of energy balance. Here we evaluated ghrelin response to stress in rats after ovariectomy and during estradiol benzoate (EB) therapy and compared results of males and females, to know whether ghrelin is involved in disordered eating behaviors in response to stress, and for understanding differences between males and females in food intake and weight gain especially during stress. 96 adult rats were classified into; male, female, ovariectomized (Ovx), Ovx with EB. Half animals of each group were exposed to immobilization stress 20 min/day for 21 days. We found that chronic stress significantly augments serum ghrelin levels in both males and females, which is correlated with an increase in food intake and body weight. Females displayed significant higher ghrelin than males especially in response to stress, ovariectomy suppresses serum ghrelin in both unstressed and stressed females which is rescued by replacement with EB. EB replacement augments ghrelin response to stress in Ovx female, and reduces food intake and body weight. In conclusion, there is a clear sex difference in ghrelin secretion in response to stress caused by EB, since it amplifies ghrelin response to stress in females. PMID: 23940093 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

Here is another really juicy and interesting one actually. The abstract is long and translated from French, but I'm going to post and bold it to highlight more instances where X variable affects females more than males or vice versa. By the way, the article was written as this big block… I didn't write it this way. As I began to bold things, they started making all these crazy assumptions which they actually end up proving most of. The french went REALLY in depth here - at least psychologically. So if you're interested in some psychological influencers and the differences between them in men and women this is for you:

Girls are more successful than boys at the university. Gender group differences in models integrating motivational and aggressive components correlated with Test-Anxiety. Masson AM, Hoyois P, Cadot M, Nahama V, Petit F, Ansseau M. Service de Psychiatrie, Université de Liège, Belgique. Encephale. 2004 Jan-Feb;30(1):1-15.
Abstract
It is surprising to note the evolution of success rates in Belgian universities especially in the first Year. Men are less successful than women and the differences are escalating in an alarming way. Dropouts take the same direction and women now represent a majority of the students at the university. In a previous study, we assessed 616 students in the first Year at the university of Liège with Vasev, the English name of which was TASTE, a self report questionnaire constituted of 4 factors: anxiety, self confidence, procrastination and performance value; anxiety particularly concerned somatic expression of students before and during test evaluations; self confidence was a cognitive component close to self efficacy; procrastination was the behavioral component characterizing avoidance when students are confronted with the risk of failure; performance value referred to intrinsic and extrinsic motivations. French validation of TASTE led to an abbreviated version of 50 items (THEE) consisting of 5 factors, the four of TASTE and an additional one, very consistent, at first called depression because of its correlations with this dimension, then called sense of competence on account of its semantic content. Self-competence has been described in the literature of Achievement Motivation and corresponded to expectancy and ability beliefs in performance process which was also relevant to self-efficacy except the particularity of comparison with others, which was not included in the last construct. Self-competence has been considered as an important part of the Worry component of test anxiety. Some Authors didn't hesitate to view causality flowing from self-competence to test anxiety and have conceptualized the latter as a failure of the self where one's sense of competence has been undermined as a result of experienced failure. In our study, only that factor was equally scored in women and men whereas it was scored higher in failed students. In other respects anxiety and performance value were scored higher in women, *self-confidence and procrastination higher in men*. Because TASTE didn't discriminate the different components of motivation (performance value referred to intrinsic and extrinsic motivations without precise distinction) we decided to use the MPS (Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale) which gave the opportunity to distinguish SOP (Self Oriented Perfectionism) ie, the self-imposed unrealistic standards with inability to accept faults in order to know and master a subject, that corresponded to intrinsic motivation; SPP (Socially Prescribed Perfectionism) ie, the exaggerated expectancies of others which are subjectively believed as imposed and uncontrollable leading to anxiety, feelings of failure or helplessness, that corresponded to extrinsic motivation; POO (Perfectionism Oriented to Others) ie, the unrealistic demands expected from significant others, which especially characterized males. We assumed (I apologize for the assumptions they start making, lol) submitted more to society exigencies.** That way extrinsic and intrinsic motivations were probably more combined unlike men who, dreading a loss of self esteem, tried to avoid failure responsibility in using self handicapping or aggressive behaviours, so separating motivation in an extrinsic part turned to performance value and an intrinsic one more concerned by self confidence and sense of competence with the result that the motivational balance was surely disrupted in case of high competition leading to failure or avoidance.

In another previous study we established a structural model illustrating, according to gender, correlations between anxiety, sense of incompetence, self-oriented perfectionism and socially prescribed perfectionism. Self-oriented perfectionism was less correlated to socially prescribed perfectionism in boys than in girls; furthermore especially by those who had never failed, it was negatively correlated to sense of incompetence, thus leading to lower scores of anxiety while in girls, by contrast, such a correlation didn't exist, thus involving higher anxiety. That way, on the one hand, intrinsic and extrinsic motivations by female students complementarily operated on the sense of incompetence and consequently on anxiety, the emotional component of test anxiety; on the other hand, by male students, intrinsic motivation had a negative correlation with the sense of incompetence and a lower correlation with extrinsic motivation, thereby shedding some light on the problem of anxiety level differences according to gender. More, that observation corresponded well to the model of self-worth where test anxiety was understood as a manifestation of perceived incompetence and as a defensive way to ward off negative self-evaluation; that model suited particularly well to boys and explained their attempts to maintain self-worth when risking academic failure. The present research assumes that independence or combination of motivation components is also correlated to different expressions of aggressiveness: hostility corresponding to threat and characterizing more girls while physical aggression is corresponding to personal challenge, a more masculine attribution. *If fighting against the sense of incompetence actually characterizes men and consequently shows too the competitive aspects of performance strong enough to mobilize intrinsic motivation, what would be expected regarding the notion of threat suspected to be predominant in girls?* The idea of using a questionnaire discriminating the specific dimensions of aggressiveness in fact the Aggression Questionnaire should meet the following purposes: At first establish a French version of that aggression questionnaire, perform the factorial analyses and internal consistency, compare them with other previous samples, then differentiate gender in general and in failure versus success situations. Finally include the different components of aggressiveness in the first described model and build a new one liable to define in boys the explicit pathways between test anxiety, perfectionism and aggressiveness. Statistical analyses have confirmed, in a 3 factor solution, the presence of emotional (anger), cognitive (hostility) and behavioural (physical aggression) components. Internal consistency is satisfactory. It is demonstrated that physical aggression characterizes boys (F=12.04, p=0.0001) while hostility (F=5.22, p=0.0015) and anger (F=0.49, p=0.0001) characterizes girls; furthermore it is noted that physical aggression characterizes more failed students (F=13.43, p=0.0003). Four models (see figures 2, 3, 4, 5) have been established, at first focused on the distinction of correlations between motivation and cognitive and emotional components on the samples of boys (n=268) and girls (348), then developed on the samples of successful students, male (n=193) and female (n=271). They describe the differentiated action of intrinsic and extrinsic motivations on the different components of aggressiveness and test-anxiety according to gender and without experience of failure. The dynamic process of the organizational factors is different according to gender and psychopathology resulting from the combinations of behaviors, cognitions and emotions would be assumed, prioritizing physical aggression and psychopathy by boys, anxiety and depression by girls. Anyway more explanation about the evolution of success rates of boys and girls in Belgian universities is proposed. PMID: 15029071 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

I can't post anymore links cause I don't have enough rep, but if you go to pubmed.gov and search for the title of this article you'll see many many more related ones that I could just keep citing. Anyways hope this helps, I gotta get some work done now, ha.

Alright here is more research:

I have the citation with what I feel is the most relevant sentance(s) in the abstract after scanning them.

Luine V. Sex differences in chronic stress effects on memory in rats. Stress. 2002 Sep;5(3):205-16. Department of Psychology, Hunter College of the City University of New York, NY 10021, USA. [email protected]

Relevant Sentance: "Given the same chronic stress--21 days of restraint for 6 h each day--males were impaired in all of the memory tests while females showed enhanced performance of the spatial memory tasks and no changes in object recognition performance."

"recent studies show sexually differentiated cognitive responses to chronic stress and underline the importance of considering the sex/gender of subjects when studying the stress response."

Bowman RE, Beck KD, Luine VN. Chronic stress effects on memory: sex differences in performance and monoaminergic activity. Horm Behav. 2003 Jan;43(1):48-59. Department of Psychology, Hunter College of the City University of New York, 695 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10021, USA. [email protected]

"stress differentially affected central transmitter levels in the frontal cortex, hippocampus, and amygdala depending on sex"

Bowman RE, Micik R, Gautreaux C, Fernandez L, Luine VN. Sex-dependent changes in anxiety, memory, and monoamines following one week of stress. Physiol Behav. 2009 Apr 20;97(1):21-9. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2009.01.012. Epub 2009 Jan 22. Sacred Heart University, Fairfield, CT, United States. [email protected]

"these sexually dimorphic neurochemical changes following stress may underlie the behavioral differences. Current results show that short-term restraint elicits sex-dependent behavioral and neural changes different from those previously reported for longer term stresses and suggest that the temporal relationship between the change from adaptive to maladaptive responses to stress is shorter in male than female rats."

Now you could easily criticize me here and say I either got too many citations from Bowman RE (which I probably did) or that these are all based in rats… and… well… humans arn't rats.

I can find some more human studies that probably map MRI or something, but part of the value you lose is in that you, for instance, can't squirt them full of estrogen or take their ovaries out and say "try again" let's see how you do (feel free to edit that last part out as it kind of grossed me out too).

Each way has it's own advantage/disadvantages.


The psychology of a one-night stand

IT’S THAT TIME of year again when couples are holding hands and booking up all the hotel rooms in town.

Valentine’s Day is about love, but let’s face it, it’s also about sex.

Not everyone is in a relationship – and like all human beings, they have needs too.

Sex is an important part of any relationship, but also a part of life. (It’s also officially good for your health).

While couples have the luxury of betting on when their next sexual experience will be, single people don’t necessarily have that option. Opportunities arise, and perhaps that is where the one-night stand comes in.

The Oxford Dictionary definition of a one-night stand is:

There’s that word ‘relationship’ again. However, it does seem rare a one-night stand results in a relationship.

The stereotype

The stereotype idea commonly displayed on TV and in the movies is that a one-night stand involves a man, out for his own fulfilment, and a woman, who is left ashamed and full of regret, longing for love.

That’s not often the case at all. Is the thought that a woman could want to fulfil her own selfish needs too much to fathom, or is there really a different sort of psychology going on for men and women.

Think about how the movies portray it. Even when they are trying to breakdown the concept of casual sex, it always ends with a happy ending.

In the movie ‘Friends with Benefits’, starring Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis, they ultimately end up falling in love, as is often the case in Hollywood movies.

Women are often portrayed trying to detach, but they just can’t hack the no strings sex. So, is that the case in real-life?

Tony Moore, a counseller for Relationships Ireland, a not-for-profit organisation that offers confidential relationship counselling services and Nuala Deering a psychotherapist and sex therapist.

Moore said the stereotype is men pray on innocent women for that sort of thing.

“I have been doing this job for over 23 years, I can only speak from experience, but while yes, that can be true at times, I have seen it from both sides, both men and women.”

Having counselled couples for many years, he said one-night stands is something that comes up a lot. While these are not single people, it is clear one-night stands involve married people too, more often the men.

“The question always asked in session, is ‘why, why, why’. Why did they partner feel the need to do this. And the partner always attempts to give some bullshit answer.”

Moore said one thing that does come out again and again is something either their partner doesn’t agree with or doesn’t want to believe is true.

Satisfying their needs

Moore said the same can be said for those who are single or in a casual relationship.

He said one-night stands can be a bit of fun for people, both men and women, but said it is important to know what you are going in to.

However, Moore said there is two people involved in this. “We can’t solely blame the guys.”

Hurt feelings

However, while he said men can often walk away from the experience, without a care in the world (which he admitted is not always the case) women do carry it with them, he said.

“Not always, but some women have a lot of guilt, be it they don’t feel good about themselves or regret why they did it. This doesn’t happen as much for men, who anonymise the women.”

Moore said the men he has in session often can’t recall much about the woman they had a one-night stand with, either what she did for a living, or much detail about her at all.

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“They can look at me quite blankly when I ask these questions,” said Moore.

Deering said one-night stands do seem more common now, but perhaps more people are just more open about talking about them.

Double standards

“I still think men have the attitude that they wouldn’t end up with the women who they had a one-night stand with. Men still have those double standards,” said Deering.

One-night stands are often featured on TV (Sex and the City etc), but Deering said she would worry younger people are getting the wrong message about what is expected from them.

She added that people could be avoiding intimacy with one-night stands.

“It is easier to be physical with another human being than actually getting to know the person. I think people often don’t give themselves the chance to get to know a person by going to bed with them too soon. It can often block a more intimate, deeper relationship.”

Women also tend to put their needs before men, sexually, she said.

Worry about your own needs

“I hear a lot from women who are worried about their partners because they have no sexual desire, before they worry about their own needs.”

“I think women need to consider themselves and their needs before others.”

If two people decide to have a one-night stand, Moore said it should be on the right terms.

“I am afraid to say that alcohol and drugs often plays a part in these encounters. People need to be grown up about it, be responsible and safe. There are dangers.”

What do you think? Do men and women have different attitudes towards one-night stands? Can both men and women have fun, or do they both expect different things? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below.


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5. Sexual Addiction

Pornography and “cybersex” are highly addictive and can lead to sexually compulsive behaviors (that decrease a person’s capacity to perform other major tasks in life). Over 90 percent of therapists surveyed in one study believed that a person could become addicted to “cybersex.” 30) In an American survey, 57 percent of frequent viewers used online sexual activity to deal with stress. 31) A 2006 Swedish study of regular Internet pornography users found that about six percent were compulsive users and that these compulsives also used much more non-Internet pornography as well. 32)

Addictive pornography use leads to lower self-esteem and a weakened ability to carry out a meaningful social and work life. A survey of pornography addicts found that they disliked the “out of control” feeling and the time consumption that their pornography use engendered. All of the sexual compulsives reported they had felt distressed and experienced impairment in an important aspect of their lives as a result of their addiction. Almost half of the sexual compulsives said their behavior had significant negative results in their social lives, and a quarter reported negative effects on their job. 33) In another survey, sexual compulsives and sexual addicts were 23 times more likely than those without a problem to state that discovering online sexual material was the worst thing that had ever happened in their life. 34) No wonder then that severe clinical depression was reported twice as frequently among Internet pornography users compared to non-users. 35)


Freud’s Psychoanalysis Theory of Child Development

Read this article to learn about Freud’s Psychoanalysis Theory of Child Development. After reading this article you will learn about: 1. Introduction to Freud’s Psychoanalysis Theory of Child Development 2.Basic Concepts of Freud’s Psychoanalysis Theory 3. Natural Instincts 4. Defense Mechanisms5. The Establishment of Personality Structures.

  1. Introduction to Freud’s Psychoanalysis Theory of Child Development
  2. Basic Concepts of Freud’s Psychoanalysis Theory
  3. Natural Instincts in Freud’s Psychoanalysis Theory
  4. Defense Mechanisms by Freud’s Psychoanalysis Theory
  5. The Establishment of Personality Structures by Freud’s Psychoanalysis Theory

Introduction to Freud’s Psychoanalysis Theory of Child Development:

Development is a characteristic of every living being. The human child develops the most. The study of the process of the development of a child has been very important for psychologists of different schools. Hence, different theories of child development are available. Freud’s psychoanalysis theory is an important one among them.

Freud has traced the development of a child not on the basis of his overt behaviour but his study of the development of the child is based on his psychological functioning. The psychological functioning which is consisted of the child’s feelings, perceptions, thoughts, memories, ideas and so on, provides the raw material for the study to a psychoanalyst.

Freud’s psychoanalysis theory of child development is the result of such a study. Thoughts and feelings could be studied only as they came to consciousness of the patient of Freud’s pathological clinic because a clinical patient can report of his feelings and thoughts when he is conscious of the same, or as they flow through his consciousness.

Freud assumed that all pathological functioning could be taken as a maladjusted form of normal functioning. Freud’s subjects were the maladjusted pathological patients who would come to him for treatment or relief.

Thus, the raw material for the development of Freudian theory of child development was made available through the report of the clinical patients as feelings and thoughts flowed into their consciousness. Freud found that the motivation which makes one behave is the same both in case of a clinical patient and a normal person.

AC Baldwin writes that the Freudian “theory is more obviously concerned with an individual’s thoughts and feelings than his behaviour.” Freud has traced development, mainly, in respect of thoughts and feelings, how they undergo changes as the child grows biologically as well as in experiences through the three personality structures—ID, Ego and Superego.

To personality structures, we shall come later on first, let us see what are the basic concepts of his theory.

Basic Concepts of Freud’s Psychoanalysis Theory:

In 1951, Freud’s article “Instincts and their Vicissitudes” was published. In it he describes instinctual drives to be the source of all covert and overt activities of the individual.

The instinctual drive has three aspects:

Source of a drive, is its basic property. Excitation arises in some region or part of the body that region or part of the body is the source of the instinctual drive. Such a source has some internal aim.

As in case of hunger as an instinctual drive, satisfying or gratification of the same, is the Internal Aim—in respect of each drive, an internal aim remains constant to it. Likewise, the sexual drive has a strong internal aim as seeking gratification.

(ii) External Aim:

External aim in case of the drive of hunger is eating some such thing, and, in such an amount that the drive of hunger may attain satisfaction, it may be gratified. In case of sex, some sexual activity will be sought to be done.

Now, when the personality of an individual develops, changes occur in case of external aim which is manifested through the overt behaviour of the individual—the internal aim in case of each instinctual drive remains constant.

The third aspect of the instinctual drive is the object. In case of hunger as an instinctual drive, the object is food or what is consumed to satisfy hunger in case of sex, there must be someone, as an object in respect of which the individual’s sexual activities—exhibiting organs, touching, kissing, sexual intercourse are directed.

Freud has described how in the beginning, all the sexual activities of a child are carried on in respect of oneself as an object and, how the external aim and object change as the child grows in age, and he goes on earning experiences.

Study of the external aims and objects is possible, but no definite number of sources can be given, nor can we be sure regarding the internal aim of each drive—the sources being purely internal phenomena, and, because of the possi­bility of the regions of excitation being both conscious and unconscious mind.

The internal phenomena remain constant what change, are the external aims and objects. The vicissitudes that Freud describes in his article “Instincts and their Vicissitudes” are in reference to external aims and objects.

As the child’s personality develops, vicissitudes occur both in case of external aims and objects. The overt behaviour of the person makes these vicissitudes evident. They are the indicators of development in the person­ality which is the result of biological maturity and the experiences earned.

Natural Instincts in Freud’s Psychoanalysis Theory:

Libido is the sex instinct. It provides the most important instinctual drive. No other drive is so significant in the process of personality development as is the libidinal one.

The satisfaction of the instinctual drive of hunger will not bring about any significant change so far the development of personality is concerned, but, what external aim is there in the pursuit of the gratification of the instinctual drive of sex, and, what object one adopts for its gratification, is very significant.

The overt behaviour of the individual in reference to the external aim and object of sex is a very important indicator of the nature and level of personality development. While the gratifications of all other drives are for the preservation of the self, the gratification of the libidinal urge is for the preservation of the species. It has been labelled as a basic drive in the Freudian theory.

It is a source of a good many significant personality adjustments. Libido is the special name that Freud gave to the sexual excitation. What particular action discharges how much energy can be described in term of libido, this is a quantitative indicator of sexual energy.

Freud has used the term sexual in a wider sense than is customary. Even the sympathizers of the theory could not digest the far—fetched usages of the term. As, for example, in the action of ploughing the land, Freud sees a symbolic rape of the mother.

Freud had to face strong opposition because of such sexual flavour of many psychoanalytic explanations of behaviour. But, when the psychoanalyst explains the child’s anxiety over physical danger, as a fear of castration—psychoanalytic evidence is there, that the child harbours the unconscious fear that his penis will be cut off. The fundamental importance of sexuality cannot be “explained away”.

Though the sexual drive is important for procreation, and, the preservation of the species, yet, none of the partners of sexual intercourse is motivate to it as a biological function but by pleasures of the act. But much more than sexual intercourse, is required for the preservation of the species, and Freud uses the term sexual for all such functions which are directly or indirectly related to the maintenance of the species.

Indeed, a number of other feelings and pleasures have been integrated into the pattern of mating and child rearing, so it is difficult to decide which one has the element of sexuality and which does not. Of course, kissing, embracing, caressing and snuggling close together, have the element of sexuality. But in early childhood, no genital sensations are involved in them.

Freud calls them “organ pleasures”. But as the child grows up, these sensual feelings are integrated into a coherent set of sexual feelings which promotes the biological procreation of the species. Freud has labelled all these pleasures as sexual and they have been distinguished from genital activities by speaking of them as pre-genital.

Psychosexual maturity involves the integration of these sexual pleasures into a pattern of genital pleasure in sexual activity. One more important characteristic of psychosexual maturity is the material faithfulness between the partners of sexual relationship in all circumstances.

Parental love can result only as a result of psychosexual maturity it makes the parents provide a warm and secure environment to the child for his wholesome development. Thus, sexuality has been dealt as a genuine cornerstone of psychoanalysis theory.

In some region or organ of the body instinctual drive is excited (as for example. Libido is the term that has been used for the excitation of sexual drive) an “idea” cannot lead to behaviour unless, first, it is carried to consciousness. The force which carries a drive or an idea representing a drive, to consciousness, has been termed as cathexis by Freud.

Excitation is caused because of some feeling, perception or thought or action. Excitation discharges energy, the source of which is some instinctual drive. Personality mechanisms make use of this energy no overt behaviour is possible without this energy, and, it is disposed of when something is operated. “…….the drive energy operates by cathecting various psychological structures in the personality.”

Freud views cathexis as an electric charge which energises the region or the object which is involved in the process of the behaviour. Cathexis describes how energy is distributed or deployed.

Drive excitation is essential for behaviour. But drive excitation cannot directly express itself in the form of some behaviour. “The intervening mechanism is cathexis.” The cathexis is the force that drives the idea into consciousness.

The idea represents the drive which is then felt as an impulse. All the ideas are not acted out into behaviour though they may have been brought to consciousness but it is always through cathexis that ideas are brought to consciousness “objects of a drive are cathected”.

The mother is the best example of an object cathected for the child she is valued by the child. The ideas of a child that are related to its mother, have a strong cathexis.

In other words, we may describe the fact of this relationship that mother “commands a lot of cathexis in the child’s psychological functioning”—the fact is evident through the behaviour of the child who carries out whatever is asked to be done by his mother. The mother is the object that occupies the child’s mind for most of the time.

The basic psychoanalytic assumption is that all kinds of feelings, thoughts or other psychological processes, or behaviour of an organism, have their genesis in the instinctual drives but cathexes are the forces which can make their presence felt only by others.

The influence caused by these drives are carried to consciousness, and, eventually to overt behaviours by the force which has been termed as “cathexis” in psychoanalysis explanations. Overt behaviour is essential for the gratification of the drive motivated need.

The nature of cathexes, changes as the child’s personality structure develops from “Id” to “Ego” and from “Ego” to “Superego”. This change is perceived through the behaviour of the subject. What does not change, or remains constant, is the instinctual drive.

Then, what makes a change in the behaviour as the personality develops, psychoanalysts say that it is the cathexis that changes with maturity, with environment so, here is the importance of environment for psychoanalysts. Defense mechanisms is a result of the sublimation of cathexes.

An idea reaches to consciousness when it is at a critical level of cathexis. Some other factors also contribute in the process when an idea is cathected to some object—the idea must be related to some basic instinct, or to the drive, deriving from it.

The common assumption among the people is that we are inclined to think of things which we want, and which have emotional significance for us. The higher the intensity of motivation, the stronger will be the thoughts intruding upon consciousness.

But if thoughts are painful, the individual would try to exclude its intrusion into consciousness. The defense mechanism used is Repression. A defense mechanism is used only when an individual is developing to a higher structure of personality—from “Id” to “Ego” or from “Ego” to “Superego”.

Repression is the result of Counter Cathexis. Counter Cathexis subtracts energy from the region energised by some drive cathexis, and, generally, in relation to some object. Counter Cathexis is used to repress an idea which threatens the development of some unpleasant situation, or when the idea itself is painful, and so causing fear.

An individual at the level of “Ego” or “Superego”, has his “Self-image” developed, and if an idea threatens his “Self-image”, or is against his “Self- esteem”, he would attempt to repress such an idea.

If I consider my worth to be as a man of tolerance, I would get afraid if an idea or drive representative seeks intrusion into my consciousness through cathexis, and to lead me to some such overt behaviour which may harm my self-image and to exclude that idea from intruding upon my mind, I would resort to the defense mechanism called repression.

Sometimes, the thought may be too strong to be excluded fully from consciousness. A repressed idea is most likely to continue its existence in the unconscious mind, and may be playing very important role in a dream, or in a state of hallucination. Ideas thus suppressed in our unconscious mind, do affect our overt behaviour also.

For a person who is keen in maintaining his sexual loyalty to his wife, the very idea of sexuality towards another woman, is immoral and he would try his utmost to repress this idea through counter-cathexis-leaving little energy for the drive cathexis to be acted out. It is thus that a person avoids an otherwise threatening anxiety-provoking situation.

Likewise, as the child grows older, he would team to resist the instinctual drive of hunger when food is not available, as otherwise the situation would be very painful and derogatory. The use of counter-cathexis is an indication of the development of the child’s personality from the “Id” structure to the “Ego” structure.

An adult or even an adolescent may have developed to the level of “Superego” structure when one tries to avoid the acting out of such a drive cathexis which is not acceptable to the society, or is considered outlandish.

Finally, there is a third type of cathexis which Freud has termed as hyper-­cathexis. Hyper-cathexis is for focusing attention to realities or to ideas other than those aroused by the immediate basic drive these may be the ideas that had come to consciousness in the remote past, or may have been lying repressed in the unconscious mind.

The two important functions of hyper-cathexis are—focusing on an idea, and to integrate it with relevant ideas in a sequence or system with an objective to solve the problem.

While cathexis focuses attention on the object to be achieved, hyper-cathexis leads the subject to think realistically and logistically also about means and modalities which are essential for the achievement of object.

Freud has used this term to describe the fact that we can voluntarily concentrate on any object or can think of an idea before it comes to consciousness of its own. Hyper-cathexis cathects many ideas and thoughts in a system based on logical rules. For chalking out plans, or for searching out a needful information, a proper sequencing of ideas or thoughts is needed. It is hyper-cathexis which enables the subject to do it.

Hyper-cathexis is a stage of development in one’s personality when one’s thoughts are not bound by drive cathexis only. With the development of hyper-cathexis, one can bring to consciousness ideas and thoughts which are not tied to drive cathexis sequence and organisation of one’s ideas and thoughts may not be determined by drives alone.

Now, “attention can control access to consciousness and change the organisation. Ideas are partly under voluntary control the sequence of the ideas is governed by realities related to the plan, and by logical rules. The sequencing of ideas and thoughts in accordance with a certain plan, or as per certain rule, is the essence of what Freud has termed as Secondary Process.

In the primary-process thinking, thought of the drive is the only connecting thread. The primary- process thinking may lead to only some single drive satisfaction whereas the secondary-process thinking is to have the satisfaction of achieving something which has social significance also.

As for example, if a hungry person thinks of food, his thoughts may roam to foods of different kinds to some dinner party enjoyed by him in the remote past and to his mother who may have been cooking delicious food for him.

But when the same person rises above thoughts related to his own person only, and thinks of a plan to arrange food for the hungry people to the extent that he can, he starts the Secondary Process, and it is the result of Hyper-cathexis.

Repression is to avoid a pain-producing thought nevertheless, facing realities squarely, may sometime be needed to tackle a problem effectively.

Under such a situation hyper-cathexis brings ideas of relevance to consciousness had there been no relevance or significance of such ideas to the resolution of the problem, they may have been ignored, and a major part of them may have been relegated to unconsciousness—at least for the time-being.

The idea of being poorly prepared for an examination is definitely anxiety-producing, and hence painful, but one would not attempt for its repression one would rather have hyper-cathexis to chalk-out a plan sequencing and organising ideas or thoughts in such a way that the motive of success in the examination may be achieved.

Thus, hyper-cathexis indicates an important stage of development in the personality of a person.

Defense Mechanisms by Freud’s Psychoanalysis Theory:

A reference has been made above to only one kind of defense mechanism that is repression, when an idea or drive representation is excluded from having accessibility to consciousness.

The defenses are the indicators of the development of the personality structure from the level of Id to Ego or Superego level of Id is the stage when each drive or drive representation seeks immediate and direct gratification of its need, it cannot tolerate any deferment.

Each idea or drive representative is cathected to consciousness, and leads to overt behaviour.

Still, the person is too immature to harbour any other consideration in reference to his self-image or self-esteem or social or moral propriety to defer or detour or suppress the gratification of the drive representative through some mechanism depending upon counter cathexis or hyper-cathexis so that the two aspects of the instinctual drives, that is, the external aim and the object, are affected.

The defenses that have clearly been identified have been classified as under:

All these defenses distort the consciousness of the individual in a way that the expression of the drive may be prevented. Describing the common feature of these defenses, AL Baldwin writes: “they distort the individual’s consciousness in a way that prevents or alleviates the pain and anxiety that would be caused by a more realistic awareness of his environment or of his own ideas and feelings”.

This shows why a defense mechanism is adopted, and when it is adopted it is adopted when the situation is painful or anxiety-provoking for such a situation either the external environment may be responsible for some idea or feelings of the individual himself. The objective behind the adoption of a defense mechanism is always to prevent or alleviate the pain or anxiety.

Such is the importance of these defense mechanisms that an individual’s life-style is indicated because of these. These mechanisms are the corner— stones of one’s personality, and, the behaviour of an individual can be predicted because of the mechanisms that one would adopt under certain circumstances.

Now, let us see how each of the above-mentioned defense mechanisms, has been described by Freud and the psychologists of the school of psychoanalysis.

But before we describe these defenses, their difference from Controls should be made clear: Defenses by one means or the other distort consciousness to prevent the expression of the drive while Controls only inhibit the expression or modify it—they do not really block the drive itself.

Repression is the cornerstone of all the defenses, to a certain degree, repression is exercised in all sorts of defense mechanisms the motive there being to raise the threshold level of access to consciousness. Repression can occur only when cathexis is subtracted from a drive cathected idea.

The threshold of access to consciousness is raised to prevent the drive cathected idea from reaching to the critical level of intensity when the individual would be consciously aware of its presence.

A drive-cathected idea is repressed for protection from pain or anxiety. But other ideas that have only associative link with the drive-cathected idea, escape repression, and become expressed in the form that is not painful or anxiety-laden.

This psychic function of the escape of the ideas having only associative link with the drive-cathected idea, and of their being expressed through such an overt behaviour which is for the present not likely to be threatened by the censor, has been called Displacement, it is a common accompaniment of repression.

The example given is that of hand-washing so often, and with great care. In some cases, the root for this symptom has been found to be in the idea of masturbation, a result of the libidinal drive. Washing the hand is not considered to be a dirty habit, and hence is not anxiety-laden as masturbation. So, hand-washing has been quoted as an example of displacement, also a sort of defense mechanism.

At the same time, “The tender care of the hands, expresses some of the cathexis of the genitals”. The ideas which are associatively linked with the idea that is repressed, but which themselves are not repressed, are the examples of displacements. The displacement is the mechanism through which the forbidden idea is expressed in disguise, gets its “message through to consciousness”.

Freud describes how the mechanism of repression tends to spread. Once the link between the repressed idea and the associatively linked ideas that have got an expression through displacement, is consciously recognised, such associatively linked ideas also start causing anxiety, with the result that the same are also repressed.

3. Reaction Formation:

Let us begin with an example. Suppose a person has an idea of hatred against his father, but the same makes him feel, or may cause an immediate unconscious reaction that harbouring such an idea is immoral. The energy released because of the drive of hostility is inhibited, tamed or civilized through counter-cathexis, and a counter-drive leads to the impulses of excessive love or respect for the father.

The counter drive differs from the primary instinctual drive as:

(i) The former is established against a primary drive, as a reaction to it

(ii) It is a more tamed, inhibited and a civilized drive than the latter.

But, whenever the subject has a little feeling that his overt behaviour has leaked the original drive of hatred, he would further inhibit his counter drive too through more controls and defenses.

One more characteristic of the counter-drive is that it has a life of its own whenever its maladaptiveness is realised, it too requires defenses and controls and it is possible that in respect of each counter-drive, again and again, defenses and controls may be required each time layering the new ones upon those of the previously used ones and each time the cathexis of these derivative motives becomes more and more inhibited, and less and less demanding and peremptory.

The example is, one, as a reaction formation, indulgences into acts of kindness only to realise that his behaviour has been maladaptive. He may grow pessimistic or disillusioned to find that the object on one account or the other did not deserve that much kindness, or that in a bid to show kindness to the object, he has exceeded the reasonable limit.

In such a situation some sort of defense and control may be established over kindness. In a neurotic form of kindness, one may be giving out, and giving more only to feel hurt and angry that the object is not grateful enough for it. Here, the subject may give acceptable conscious expression to less repressed hostility along with the counter-drive.

Isolation is the mechanism to isolate the feeling associated to an idea, but not the content of the idea itself. This isolation is executed through repression the more exact word for which here would be “Intellectualization”.

The example is, some people do not respond with anger or hostility when they are insulted or imposed upon it appears as if they were unconscious of such behaviour of others towards them or were unaware of their intent.

By and by, they grow so habitual or structuralized of responding to such a situation isolating the feeling of anger or hostility that they always appear to be playing cool to such a situation though actually they may be pondering upon the situation to take action more appropriately against those inflicting insult or imposing something upon them.

The close relative of isolation, is intellectualization. Intellectuahsation is a cognitive function it consists of understanding situation cognitively so that appropriate means may be thought out to accomplish the objectives without being swept off by the affective side of the drive expression.

But one negative impact of such a structualisation is that the person thus structuralized may not have that force in his behaviour which the affective side of the drive may cause to grow because of the energy released by it.

Affect serves as a signal which guides the subject in adapting the behaviour to the purpose to be achieved.

Affect seeks emotional discharge in an explosive manner only until mature ego is developed, and the affect is at the primary process level but, when personality has developed to the structure of mature Ego level, that is, the affect is at the secondary process level, it serves as a signal indicating the significance of the problem, and, helping in setting a goal for the adaptive behaviour.

So, repressing affect would mean preventing it from functioning as a signal.

Isolation is a psychodynamic process which saves a person the anxiety which may be caused’ by the impinging of two mental events upon each other while occurring simultaneously, and which are of such nature that they cannot co-exist harmoniously.

In such a situation, separation of the one from the other is essential to save the individual the difficulty of reconciling the two or of dealing with the two simultaneously. Such a separation is the defense mechanism of isolation.

Suppose I go to a temple, and there, along with a feeling of devotion, an idea occurs impinging upon the feeling of devotion that the idol that I am bowing to, is nothing but a work in stone or in some metal. The psychological situation causes anxiety, mental trouble and the only way out is Isolation. For the time-being, at least, I would make a psychological separation of the two mental events which are irreconcilable.

Other example of isolation is that a man having the tender feelings of love, may not have sexual relationship with a woman and may not be loving tenderly another woman with whom he has sexual relationship.

In such a case, tender love and sexual feelings have to be separated through a device of defense mechanism though feelings of both types are expressed but on different occasions, and in relation to different persons.

A drive motivation which is undesirable, but which being too strong to be prevented from consciousness, makes one to adopt a defense mechanism of attributing that undesirable characteristic or drive motivation to another person this mechanism is called Projection—one projects something undesirable into one’s character, into that of another.

A prudish spinster may be complaining against over-sexuality into another person. And, she herself may grow into militantly non-sexual as a reaction formation. Such a complaint expresses both sexuality and hostility that have come to the consciousness of the complainant.

A person who always strives to give the impression of himself being a religious man, would project such feelings of his into the character of other persons, which are incompatible with religion.

It, generally, happens that a person who, because of his own selfish behaviour, is cut off from other members of his family or society, would complain aggressively against unsociability of others, and would himself grow more unsocial.

One more form of projection is also witnessed in the behaviour of people in general. Suppose, my son has scored very high marks in an examination since my praising my own son on this account would be immodest, so I may start speaking of other cases of high scores only to bring to the notice of others the fact of my son having scored so high.

AL Baldwin writes—”Projection is not so much a modification of the actual content of consciousness as a modification of the organisation of consciousness.”

It means, whatever content comes to consciousness, remains there in its entirety the defense mechanism of projection is to effect a change in its organisation only—whatever content is there in the consciousness of a person, is projected as a characteristic in the personality of someone else, or in others what originally was in reference to one’s own self, is reorganized in reference to others.

Only such a one adopts this defense who has developed self-image or self-esteem to protect the same, for example, one would express one’s sex-related drive- cathexis through describing someone else engaged in sexual actions attributing the motive to another person.

In a given situation, what we imagine the other would behave, actually, in most cases, projects what our instinctual drive might have driven us to behave but for our Ego or Superego.

It is the most primitive of all defenses. It distorts cognition in a more severe way. To deny the existence of a reality is denial. A very young child hallucinates things as still the faculty of perceiving reality is not developed, nor has he developed his Ego. A seriously psychotic person also distorts cognition through denying the facts because he cannot face realities.

A grown-up denies a reality to protect himself from an anxiety- arousing situation or when it is otherwise unpleasant to him. A grown up may deny facts when they are minor or unclear.

We may have seen people denying an impending unpleasant event for example, when a driver says, “I do not feel sleepy when I so determine,” the probability is that he may be feeling the impact of sleep while he so declares. “Denial is perceiving the world in the way that one wants it to be rather than the way it is.” (AL Baldwin).

Now, we should distinguish hallucination from denial. Denial is the distortion of cognition, but hallucinations do not imply distortion of cognit­ion as the child who hallucinates, has still not fully developed the faculty of perceiving facts still, he cannot distinguish what he is hallucinating, and what he is perceiving.

He hallucinates things for drive-satisfaction a grown-up denies things to protect himself from pain or anxiety.

As the child grows older, he cannot deny realities, his Ego is also stronger now. Of course, he can deny realities in a play or in a day-dreaming there, things may be taken to exist as he would like them to be, rather than, as they are. A grown-up also day-dreams. Both playing and day-dreaming may provide respite from burdensome or hard realities only for a while.

A person with a fully developed Ego would adopt other types of defenses than Denial to protect himself in an anxiety-arousing situation. As already told in the beginning that this list of mechanisms does not exhaust all the defenses, there may be a lot of others, too, but Freud has described these six as the most important among them.

Later neo-Freudians viewed these defenses in a broader context as to how they affect the styles of perceiving and thinking besides serving as defensive devices. They have described these mechanisms as cognitive controls and cognitive styles.

In the development of the personality of a child, these controls and styles play an important part. The personality of a person has three aspects- physical, cognitive and conative. It is the cognitive aspect of personality which is mainly represented and affected by the defense mechanisms.

Cognitive controls and cognitive styles:

Though defense mechanisms are mainly concerned with the cognitive aspect of personality, yet, their effect may be perceived upon the over-all functioning of the individual.

How a person controls his cognitive functions, that is, his perceptions and think­ing what is the way of his knowing of things, or of being conscious of things or of facts, and his judgment about the same—all this forms an important part of an individual’s personality. In wider perspective, defenses are cognitive controls and cognitive styles.

These controls and styles are adopted in general forms to protect oneself in an unpleasant or anxiety-arousing situation, none the less, individual differences are there which, besides other characteristics, make personalities distinct. The general cognitive functioning of an individual influences the kinds of defenses one develops.

Using stroop colour—naming test, George Klein and his colleagues investigated one particular cognitive style as Constricted Control as distinct from Flexible Control. Those who have developed constricted controls in their functioning, happen to be very precise and meticulous and, do not allow intuitive or affective factors to influence their cognitive as those with flexible controls do.

The high interference group shows more vulnerability to interfering stimuli from the periphery. Just to concentrate on the main content, the central content, such a group would adopt the defense of isolating the peripheral objects, and the style of constricted control develops. Of course, the need that is present at the moment, would affect the nature and intensity of control.

Baldwin writes, “The same procedure is even stronger when there is a compelling need present which threatens to impinge upon the perception.”

“If the season is hot, and in a picture the central item is “ice-cream”, the pictures of other items, given on the periphery, would be ignored through the mechanism of isolation, and concentration would be high on “ice-cream” and other related words if the same are given there.

The subject would be vulnerable to the intrusion of words related to hot-relieving things such a situation would make not only the visual movement of the subject constricted, but also his association to other objects. The mechanism is both a defense and a result, “the entire pattern of interaction with the environment is coloured”.

The Establishment of Personality Structures by Freud’s Psychoanalysis Theory:

Freud describes the development of personality through three structures- Id, Ego and Superego. Each of the three structures has distinct patterns of reactional behaviour that is caused by the arousal of some motive. Each structure determines how drive representations would appear in consciousness and lead to drive discharge.

We can know what is the development structure of personality, looking at the dispositional properties of the subject. It means, each structure is characterised by its own dispositional properties.

Id, Ego and Superego—each has its own distinct dispositional properties which indicate the type of structure that one is having it gives the idea how a person functions, what are the various properties that are evidenced during the period of drive discharge and how the various properties are related to one another.

Id is the structure of personality when a primitive instinctual force reigns supreme, it is highly impulsive and rash, and, can tolerate no delay in the gratification of a drive. It is the primitive source of energy which is blindly utilised to serve the urges of the wild “Self” only.

It is uncultured and thoughtless. A child, in the beginning, happens to be at the Id stage when has no thought of right or wrong but immediately rushes into an action being prompted by some instinctual impulse. It is only gradually that the personality develops towards the structure of Ego.

Even when the Ego structure has been developed, it is not the case that one gets totally above, and beyond the properties which characterize the structure of Id—a constant struggle goes on between the urges of the Id, and the directions given by the Ego.

Id is related to primary process only when no defense mechanisms have developed. Rappaport has described the models of the functioning of primary process, separately in reference to action, cognition and affect. In each case, the primary process is consisted of three stages.

Here, we are giving each of the three models as given by Rappaport:

The primary model of action:

The infant grows restless as drive accumulates and it demands immediate gratification. The child starts yelling and would not be affected by any means that may have to be tried at, to make it tolerate even, a little delay in the fulfillment of the motive. The drive is satisfied when the child gets to breast sucking. With it the motive is achieved and the final stage of quiescence is reached to when no drive happens to exist there.

Drive determines the experience it determines what the organism is to be conscious of but for the drive to become conscious, memory of the previous gratification serves as a vehicle. In case of previous cognition, drive discharge is not as effective as it happens when the object is present, hence cognitions cannot be taken as effective substitutes for the behaviour.

The child is very young but he has learned what it is he wants, and he thinks about it. Still, he is not mature enough to have sensing and thinking as separate functioning—sensing and thinking, generally, go simultaneously and, his thoughts are hallucinatory, they being not based on the realities of the situation but are related to the object he wants to achieve, and, the object is not present.

“Cognition, or conscious experiencing of the drives representation, occurs where the aim of the drive is not achieved”. But as the child matures, he perceives the present situation also besides remembering the past gratifying experience with the result that gratification occurs in reality and not in hallucination only.

The third of the primary models, as described by Rappaport is the model of affect:

Drive—Absence of drive object—Affect discharge.

Again, drive is there but no object is there for its gratification, and the result is that the drive discharge does not happen to be so effective as it would have been in case of the presence of the drive object whatever discharge is there, is only an emergency discharge of the drive cathexis— here again, the gratification is hallucinatory.

So long as Id is the only system present, the process happens to be consisted of three stages—restlessness of the organism, his experiencing the affect, and his experiencing a hallucinatory gratification followed by a state of quiescence when there is no action, no cognition, and no affect.

Ego is the second structure which personality attains in due course of development. Ego is realistic and makes the person appreciate the realities of the situation and makes him behave in the wider interests of his self. “It represents the role of enlightened self-interest in the personality.”

Though Ego is not unaware of the drive, and of the impulses which the drive may give rise to, yet, its role is to restrain the person from behaving on the spur of an instinctive drive in a reckless manner. It may prepare the person for a detoured or delayed gratification of the drive, if an attempt for an immediate gratification of the same may harm the self-esteem of the person.

Ego would not permit such a step of behaviour which the people would not approve of. It is in the interest of the person, living in a society, that it (Ego) controls the drives by way of delaying, inhibiting or restraining them so that their aims may be achieved realistically and with no harm to the self of the person.

The Ego may arrange for the maximum gratification of the drives for which it may have to inhibit drives for a certain period of time may have to detour the gratification, and reconcile incompatible impulses arising out of instinctual drives.

The Ego performs the following five functions:

1. It raises the threshold for drive discharge. The drive object may be present even then it controls the subject from behaving impulsively to achieve that object. Though such a control may result in the frustration of the subject, yet it develops tolerance in the subject for such a frustration, and it prepares the subject for better adaptation of course, in extreme cases, such a control may make one neurotic.

2. It controls the access of ideas to consciousness. For a behaviour the access of an impulse to consciousness is essential, but the same is prevented by the Ego, and thus it distorts consciousness.

3. The Ego directs the behaviour towards the acceptable goals. Acceptability can be judged only through a cognitive function. The Ego selects an effective means to the goal. If necessary, the Ego may make the individual take detours and balance “one value against another”. Thus, the Ego may make an individual plan an action well in advance before he actually indulges into it.

4.Logical thinking is the fourth function of the Ego. The individual thinks in a logical sequence because of the Ego. He thinks according to some set of rules in contrast to what he does at the structural level of Id—there, the sequence of thoughts going “from one drive representative to another regardless of logical rules or realistic factors”.

5. The Ego directs the individual what goal to select. The Ego makes use of the affect as a signal to be guided in the selection of a goal which should be such that it may relieve of a feeling of frustration— may it be despondency, anger or some other unpleasant feeling, as well as it should be important, too.

Again, the functioning is at the secondary process level, and affect accompanies the drive frustration as a signal to help the person select the right goal.

The Ego-cathexes are basically derived from the instinctual drives, but here the effect that accompanies the frustration of instinctual drives is controlled, indicating thereby that the situation demands some sort of adaptive behaviour. To the Id, Freud attributes “dynamically unconscious content, primary process functioning, the pleasure principle and drive cathexes.

In contrast, the Ego is partly conscious and partly not so. It operates following the secondary process. Nevertheless, no distinguishing line can be drawn between the Id and the Ego. There is a continuum from one structure to the other the higher level controlling the lower one, and evolving out of the lower.

Superego marks the difference in the aims that comes about when an individual has further developed to the third structured system of the personality. To describe the development of personality theoretically, Freud has used these three terms—Id, Ego and Superego. He has distinguished the first two on the basis of means adopted.

When an individual is very young, it happens to be very impulsive and labile, and cannot tolerate any delay in the gratification of a drive Freud calls his first structural system of the personality by the name Id.

And, to the second structural system as Ego, when one grows more realistic, and, would work for the maximal drive satisfaction. Sometimes, Ego may inhibit the expression of an instinctual drive when such an expression is considered not to be helpful in the attainment of maximal drive satisfaction.

But in case of both the structural systems, that is, Id and Ego, there is no difference in aims. These are the means adopted that distinguish one from the other. In case of Superego, the aims are also different from the ones that activate the young child who is still at the structural level of Id.

Superego is the guide that enables a mature individual not to adopt such an aim which is irreconcilable with the social order. An individual at the structural level of Id or Ego is not mature enough to allow only such a drive discharge which may serve for the satisfaction of the person without disrupting the social order. It is possible to do so when the structural system of Superego has developed.

The social system can remain constant over the generations only when social rules become incorporated into the individual personality for it, conflict between the egocentric satisfaction of the individual and the maintenance of social order must be resolved. The Superego is the result of the resolution of this conflict as well as it is system of the personality which enables an individual to resolve such a conflict.

There is a dynamic relationship among these three systems of personality—Id, Ego and Superego. For all these systems. Id is the basic source of motivation. It represents the forces which lead to direct, immediate expression of the instinctual drives.

The Superego represents the cultural restrictions on the expression of instinctual drives. The Ego seeks maximal satisfaction within the restrictions imposed by superego and the realities of the world. Superego begins to be acquired even during the period of childhood.

As for example, the child would try to acquire the parental interpretation of sexual prohibitions. Later on, as an individual grows in age, his capacity to feel the restricting nature of the societal rules, increases and the realities of the world also exert a restricting impact—all this represents the development of the system of Superego in the personality of the individual.

In some cases, the restrictions and fears that stem from the Superego may be unrealistic and rigid. In such cases, the Ego plays the arbitrary role by way of bringing some compromise between the Superego and the Id.

Now, reconciliation has to be found between the impulsive nature of the Id, seeking direct expression of the instinctual drives, and, the restrictive nature of the Superego demanding strict observance of the societal rules. The psychoanalysts have described the mechanisms of Ego—Id relations in greater details than they have done in case of ego-superego.


Adverse Childhood Experiences Affect Adult Behaviors

Adverse childhood experiences negatively affect adult life, says a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). One in four young adults were severely maltreated during childhood and approximately half of adults in England have suffered an adverse experience during their childhood.

Roughly one in ten adults have experienced four or more adverse childhood experiences. There are many forms of childhood adversity, ranging from physical abuse to emotional neglect.

Around 50,500 children in the UK are thought to be at risk of abuse right now, says the National Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC). Almost one in five children aged 11-17 have been severely maltreated.

The most common recorded experiences are:

  • Sexual abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Emotional neglect
  • Physical abuse
  • Physical neglect
  • Substance abuse in home
  • Mental illness in home
  • Incarceration of family member
  • Parental separation or divorce
  • Witnessing violence against their mother

Adverse experiences are proven to affect behavior in adult life and increase the risk of physical and mental health problems. The larger numbers of detrimental childhood experiences correlate with a higher risk of health issues.

Adults who suffered child abuse visit the doctor more often, have surgery more often, and have more chronic health conditions than those who did not experience childhood trauma.

Traumatic events can not only alter the immune system, but can affect quality of sleep, lower the pain threshold, and result in negative adult behaviors.

Research shows that individuals with four or more of the 10 adverse childhood experiences are:

  • Two times more likely to smoke cigarettes
  • Four times more likely to engage in drug abuse
  • Seven times more likely to suffer from chronic alcoholism
  • Eleven times more likely to abuse drugs via injection
  • Nineteen times more likely to attempt suicide

Sufferers often hide childhood adversities because of elapsed time, shame, secrecy and social taboos against discussing these topics. More than one in five children, aged 11-17, who were physically hurt by a parent or guardian did not tell anyone else about it. More than one in three children who experienced sexual abuse by an adult kept it a secret, and that figure rose to four out of five when sexual abuse was from a peer.

The reality of childhood abuse is a challenging one. Though the most severe forms of physical abuse, such as homicide and deaths by assault, have been steadily falling, online abuse continues to grow. A UK research paper from the London School of Economics reports that 13 percent of UK 9- to 16-year-olds said they had been bothered or upset by something online in the past year.

However, there is also an increased willingness to speak out about abuse and neglect. The number of people contacting the NSPCC helpline increased by 15 percent in 2012/13 compared with the previous year.

Figures show that improving the lives of children who have been affected by adverse experiences in England can have positive impacts. Helping those affected at a young age can help reduce drug use and violence by 50 percent, reduce teenage pregnancies by 33 percent and cut binge drinking and smoking by 15 percent each.

Research concludes that stable and secure childhoods are critical to ensuring negative and health-harming behaviors do not occur in adult life. Creating safe, positive environments for children is essential. We all have a responsibility to ensure the protection of children both inside and outside of the home.


Effects of Heredity and Environment on our Personality

Every individual on this earth is different from the other. No one person is fully like other person.

Every person differs from the other, either physically or psychologically. Even the twins are no exception to this. They differ in some aspects or other. Particularly when we look at people from psychological point of view these differences are quite obvious. In many instances even the children differ from their parents.

They will have some similarities with some forefathers or grandparents instead of their parents. What makes these differences to exist? What are the causes? The answer to these queries can be traced from two factors, viz., heredity and environment.

The basic sources of personality development are heredity and environment.

1. Heredity:

Heredity refers to the genetic inheritance received by every individual at the time of conception. The origin of every human life can be traced to a single cell called zygote. It is formed by the union of sperm and ovum.

The sperm and ovum will contain 23 pairs of chromosomes out of which one will be sex determining chromosome. Female will have 23 pairs of XX chromosomes. Male will have 22 pairs of XX and 2 single, represented as XY. X chromosome from mother and Y chromosome from father will lead to male offspring, XX from both parents give rise to female. In each chromosome there are innumerable genes.

These genes are the real determiners of hereditary characteristics—which pass on from one generation to the other. At the time of conception, the genes from chromosomes of both the father and the mother fuse together and determine the traits of the offspring to be born.

The physical characteristics such as height, weight, colour of eye and skin, social and intellectual behaviour are determined by heredity. Differences in these characteristics are due to the change in the genes transmitted. Fraternal twins also differ from each other, because they are born out of different genes. However, we find more resemblances in identical twins because they are born out of monozygotic.

2. Environment:

In simple terms environment means the society, the fields of society and even the whole world. But here, the word environment is restricted to mean the environment within mother’s womb and just born, as well as the environment around the individual.

Like heredity, environment also has been found to play a very important role in determining the behaviour and personality development of an individual. The environmental influences are those which act upon the organism at the earlier stages of development, i.e., before and also after birth.

Environment includes all the extrinsic forces, influences and conditions which affect the life, nature, behaviour, the growth, development and maturation of living organism (Douglass and Holland).

Hence, we can say that environment means all that is found around the individual. The zygote is surrounded by a jelly like substance known as ‘cytoplasm’. The cytoplasm is an intracellular environment which influences the development. Though the life begins with single cell, in the process of cell division several new cells are formed and a new internal environment comes into existence.

As the fetus develops the endocrine glands are formed. The hormonal secretion by these glands gives rise to another intracellular environment. Hormones are necessary for normal development, but defects in hormone secretion like over or under secretion may lead to congenital deformities.

The growing embryo is surrounded by amniotic fluid in the uterus which creates another environment. This fluid will provide the necessary warmth and protection against the dangers due to organisms and other chemical effects on fetus.

The fetus is also connected to the mother by the umbilical cord, through which the nourishment is supplied. Sufficient nourishment is necessary from the mother. Otherwise the child will suffer from malnutrition. The defects in mother like drug or alcohol addiction, smoking, malnutrition, diabetes, endocrinal disturbances, small uterus and such other problems cause many problems in child.

The psychological state of mother like over excitement, depression also may cause damaging effect on the child.

After nine months, the child is born and enters a new environment which is entirely different. A new life begins in a new environment. This new environment will have a different culture, ideology, values, etc.

The home atmosphere, parental love and affection, association with sibling, neighbours, peers, teachers, etc. will create an entirely different and new atmosphere. This is called social environment. All the social factors stated above shape the personality of the child.

There is a long standing controversy regarding the importance of heredity and environment. Supporters of heredity say that the environment cannot change a dog into a goat. On the other hand, the environmentalists are of the opinion that for the development of a plant only seed is not important but also environment like sunlight, manure, water, etc.

Innumerable studies have been conducted on both sides. However, the results indicate that heredity and environment are interdependent forces. Whatever the heredity supplies, the favourable environment brings it out. Personality characteristics attained by heredity are shaped by environment.


Multidimensionality of Gender Identity

Although Kagan (1964) and Bem (1981) differed in terms of the mechanisms believed to promote sex typing and whether or not sex typing is adaptive or maladaptive, both perspectives posit that sex typing is indicative of gender identity. Although it is not an unreasonable idea, recent work examining the nature of identity suggests that it may be much more complex than the degree to which people adhere to gender norms. Contemporary perspectives on identity challenge the utility of relying on one construct or type of measurement as a means for assessing the nature of a particular identity (Ashmore et al., 2004 Egan & Perry, 2001 Sellers et al., 1998 Way, Santos, Niwa, Kim-Gervey, Chapter Five). Specifically, researchers have proposed that social identities are made up of various components, each with important implications for particular outcomes (Ruble et al., 2004). Although psychologists differ in the aspects of identity they emphasize, current research points to three dimensions worth careful consideration when thinking about gender identity, sex typing, and adjustment: centrality, evaluation, and felt pressure. (Centrality refers to the importance of gender to one’s identity evaluation refers to how one views gender-related values, beliefs, roles, and behavioral practices in one’s culture and felt pressure refers to one’s perceptions of the need to conform to these cultural values, beliefs, roles, and behavioral practices.)

Although gender may be among the most important social categories in American society, individuals may differ in the degree to which they consider it an important and positive aspect of their overall identity. Research has shown that children differ in predictable ways with respect to which aspects of their overall identity they consider most important. For example, ethnicity is more central to the self-concept of immigrant compared to non-immigrant American children. Moreover, research has shown that children may differ in the extent to which they are happy with their gender and feel pressure from themselves and others (parents and peers) to behave in a sex-typed manner. Thus, centrality, evaluation, and felt pressure have all been shown to be important factors in the relationship between group membership and self-esteem (Ruble et al., 2004).


Child Abuse

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse involves an adult engaging a child in sexually explicit conduct, including direct sexual contact, simulation of sexual contact, or visual representation of sexual contact. The acts of sexual abuse may include rape, molestation, prostitution, child pornography, incest, or other forms of exploitation of a child for the sexual gratification of an adult. Though there are varying legal definitions for child sexual abuse across cultures and jurisdictions, sexual abuse of a child can lead to trauma and stigma for a child and his or her family. Long-term health of a sexually abused child usually depends on the support of the family or community and protection from further harm.


Sex After Trauma (Pt. II): The Psychology Behind My Promiscuity

About a year ago, I wrote this column for my college newspaper's special issue on sex, love and intimacy. It's about the difficulties with having sex after experiencing sexual trauma. It's about 99 percent truthful.

Nowhere in that column do I tell lies. But I did omit certain things that would have been relevant to include. I wrote a scrubbed clean version of my story partially to make it more palatable, and partially because I didn't fully understand the psychological mechanisms behind what I was going through. I was trying to protect my reputation, before I realized I had nothing to be ashamed of.

I'm finally laying everything out on the table, because I know there are people in the world who need to hear this. And any company that doesn't want to hire me because I openly discuss the side effects of sexual trauma is a company I don't want to work for anyway. I have nothing to apologize for, or to be ashamed of.

Hypersexuality is a common side effect of sexual trauma (as is avoiding sex altogether). I didn't know this at the time I wrote that piece. During that period of my life, I wasn't just, "taking a guy home from the party because I wanted to." I was actively going on Tinder and looking for guys to meet at bars and then bring home with me, because I felt like I needed to.

My logic was: If I can sleep with random people, that means I'm fine. That means my trauma doesn't affect me.

I didn't realize that this was a completely normal reaction to sexual trauma until I talked about it in therapy, and my counselor assured me that it was a common response.

I also recently read Come As You Are, by sex educator Emily Nagoski, who describes how trauma can press on your sexual accelerator:

Sometimes, too, survivors find themselves locked in a pattern of sexual behavior. Their brains become compulsive about undoing the trauma, redoing it differently, or simply understanding it. Like biting on a cold sore or squeezing a pimple, the brain can't leave the trauma alone, even though you know you'd heal faster if you could. The result is that the survivor has multiple partners, often following a habitual pattern, without feeling perfectly in control of the decision to have those partners.

I described it as always having my finger on the "yes" button. I was "yes" happy. But I wasn't happy. I was waking up in the morning with a stranger's arm around me and feeling sick to my stomach.

One of these endeavors went terribly wrong and sent me into a huge panic attack that lasted until about 5 a.m. I vowed that morning to leave behind my promiscuity for good.

If you are a survivor and you are reading this, and you are thinking, "Wow, that sounds an awful lot like me," know this: Your response is normal. And if you're feeling trapped, frustrated or unhappy, you can do something about it. There is a way out.


"I'm finally laying everything out on the table, because I know there are people in the world who need to hear this. . I have nothing to apologize for, or to be ashamed of."

I deleted Tinder, took a break from men for a while, and did some pretty intense EMDR therapy to reprocess all the memories of what happened to me. Therapy can be scary. The prospect of looking your trauma right in the face, rolling up your sleeves and doing the work required to put it in its place is beyond intimidating. But I can say from personal experience that you'll come out on the other side feeling 1000 times better than you felt when you started.

I never went back to sleeping with random people. When I felt like I was ready to start dating again, I wrote in my new Tinder profile: "Do not message me if you are only looking for hook-ups." (More on how that turned out next week.)

Now, this is not to say that everyone with a lot of sexual partners has a mental health issue. My goal here is not to condemn promiscuity it's to recount how I went from handling my trauma in an unhealthy way to handling it in a healthy way. My problem was not just that I was sleeping around -- it was that I was sleeping around with people who I didn't even really want to sleep with.

During one of my sessions, my therapist told me this:

"Society has all kinds of value systems for determining when sex is okay and when it's not okay. But the only one that really matters is the unity of mind, heart and body."


"Society has all kinds of value systems for determining when sex is okay and when it's not okay. But the only one that really matters is the unity of mind, heart and body."

I have never heard anything more true about sex in my entire life.

My mind, heart and body were not all on board with the people I was bringing home. That's where I went wrong. Part of my therapy was learning to trust myself to make good choices -- to listen to all parts of myself, and yield whenever one is saying no.

As I've talked about before, most of the information our culture feeds about sex is wrong. We're caught in tangle of mixed messages, wondering what the characteristics of healthy sexuality are -- having only one partner, having many, or having none? -- and trying to replicate those characteristics in order to feel "normal." But the key to healthy sexuality has nothing to do with social standards it's whatever your mind, your heart, and your body agree is right for you.

So if you are a sexual trauma survivor seeking to find a sense of normalcy in your sexuality, listen to all those parts of yourself. Recognize that sometimes they might say different things. Forgive yourself for not listening to all their voices in the past, and promise always to listen to them in the future.

And when the day comes that they are all saying the same thing--yes--that is when you will find the sense of empowerment, and healing, that you have been looking for.


Freud’s Psychoanalysis Theory of Child Development

Read this article to learn about Freud’s Psychoanalysis Theory of Child Development. After reading this article you will learn about: 1. Introduction to Freud’s Psychoanalysis Theory of Child Development 2.Basic Concepts of Freud’s Psychoanalysis Theory 3. Natural Instincts 4. Defense Mechanisms5. The Establishment of Personality Structures.

  1. Introduction to Freud’s Psychoanalysis Theory of Child Development
  2. Basic Concepts of Freud’s Psychoanalysis Theory
  3. Natural Instincts in Freud’s Psychoanalysis Theory
  4. Defense Mechanisms by Freud’s Psychoanalysis Theory
  5. The Establishment of Personality Structures by Freud’s Psychoanalysis Theory

Introduction to Freud’s Psychoanalysis Theory of Child Development:

Development is a characteristic of every living being. The human child develops the most. The study of the process of the development of a child has been very important for psychologists of different schools. Hence, different theories of child development are available. Freud’s psychoanalysis theory is an important one among them.

Freud has traced the development of a child not on the basis of his overt behaviour but his study of the development of the child is based on his psychological functioning. The psychological functioning which is consisted of the child’s feelings, perceptions, thoughts, memories, ideas and so on, provides the raw material for the study to a psychoanalyst.

Freud’s psychoanalysis theory of child development is the result of such a study. Thoughts and feelings could be studied only as they came to consciousness of the patient of Freud’s pathological clinic because a clinical patient can report of his feelings and thoughts when he is conscious of the same, or as they flow through his consciousness.

Freud assumed that all pathological functioning could be taken as a maladjusted form of normal functioning. Freud’s subjects were the maladjusted pathological patients who would come to him for treatment or relief.

Thus, the raw material for the development of Freudian theory of child development was made available through the report of the clinical patients as feelings and thoughts flowed into their consciousness. Freud found that the motivation which makes one behave is the same both in case of a clinical patient and a normal person.

AC Baldwin writes that the Freudian “theory is more obviously concerned with an individual’s thoughts and feelings than his behaviour.” Freud has traced development, mainly, in respect of thoughts and feelings, how they undergo changes as the child grows biologically as well as in experiences through the three personality structures—ID, Ego and Superego.

To personality structures, we shall come later on first, let us see what are the basic concepts of his theory.

Basic Concepts of Freud’s Psychoanalysis Theory:

In 1951, Freud’s article “Instincts and their Vicissitudes” was published. In it he describes instinctual drives to be the source of all covert and overt activities of the individual.

The instinctual drive has three aspects:

Source of a drive, is its basic property. Excitation arises in some region or part of the body that region or part of the body is the source of the instinctual drive. Such a source has some internal aim.

As in case of hunger as an instinctual drive, satisfying or gratification of the same, is the Internal Aim—in respect of each drive, an internal aim remains constant to it. Likewise, the sexual drive has a strong internal aim as seeking gratification.

(ii) External Aim:

External aim in case of the drive of hunger is eating some such thing, and, in such an amount that the drive of hunger may attain satisfaction, it may be gratified. In case of sex, some sexual activity will be sought to be done.

Now, when the personality of an individual develops, changes occur in case of external aim which is manifested through the overt behaviour of the individual—the internal aim in case of each instinctual drive remains constant.

The third aspect of the instinctual drive is the object. In case of hunger as an instinctual drive, the object is food or what is consumed to satisfy hunger in case of sex, there must be someone, as an object in respect of which the individual’s sexual activities—exhibiting organs, touching, kissing, sexual intercourse are directed.

Freud has described how in the beginning, all the sexual activities of a child are carried on in respect of oneself as an object and, how the external aim and object change as the child grows in age, and he goes on earning experiences.

Study of the external aims and objects is possible, but no definite number of sources can be given, nor can we be sure regarding the internal aim of each drive—the sources being purely internal phenomena, and, because of the possi­bility of the regions of excitation being both conscious and unconscious mind.

The internal phenomena remain constant what change, are the external aims and objects. The vicissitudes that Freud describes in his article “Instincts and their Vicissitudes” are in reference to external aims and objects.

As the child’s personality develops, vicissitudes occur both in case of external aims and objects. The overt behaviour of the person makes these vicissitudes evident. They are the indicators of development in the person­ality which is the result of biological maturity and the experiences earned.

Natural Instincts in Freud’s Psychoanalysis Theory:

Libido is the sex instinct. It provides the most important instinctual drive. No other drive is so significant in the process of personality development as is the libidinal one.

The satisfaction of the instinctual drive of hunger will not bring about any significant change so far the development of personality is concerned, but, what external aim is there in the pursuit of the gratification of the instinctual drive of sex, and, what object one adopts for its gratification, is very significant.

The overt behaviour of the individual in reference to the external aim and object of sex is a very important indicator of the nature and level of personality development. While the gratifications of all other drives are for the preservation of the self, the gratification of the libidinal urge is for the preservation of the species. It has been labelled as a basic drive in the Freudian theory.

It is a source of a good many significant personality adjustments. Libido is the special name that Freud gave to the sexual excitation. What particular action discharges how much energy can be described in term of libido, this is a quantitative indicator of sexual energy.

Freud has used the term sexual in a wider sense than is customary. Even the sympathizers of the theory could not digest the far—fetched usages of the term. As, for example, in the action of ploughing the land, Freud sees a symbolic rape of the mother.

Freud had to face strong opposition because of such sexual flavour of many psychoanalytic explanations of behaviour. But, when the psychoanalyst explains the child’s anxiety over physical danger, as a fear of castration—psychoanalytic evidence is there, that the child harbours the unconscious fear that his penis will be cut off. The fundamental importance of sexuality cannot be “explained away”.

Though the sexual drive is important for procreation, and, the preservation of the species, yet, none of the partners of sexual intercourse is motivate to it as a biological function but by pleasures of the act. But much more than sexual intercourse, is required for the preservation of the species, and Freud uses the term sexual for all such functions which are directly or indirectly related to the maintenance of the species.

Indeed, a number of other feelings and pleasures have been integrated into the pattern of mating and child rearing, so it is difficult to decide which one has the element of sexuality and which does not. Of course, kissing, embracing, caressing and snuggling close together, have the element of sexuality. But in early childhood, no genital sensations are involved in them.

Freud calls them “organ pleasures”. But as the child grows up, these sensual feelings are integrated into a coherent set of sexual feelings which promotes the biological procreation of the species. Freud has labelled all these pleasures as sexual and they have been distinguished from genital activities by speaking of them as pre-genital.

Psychosexual maturity involves the integration of these sexual pleasures into a pattern of genital pleasure in sexual activity. One more important characteristic of psychosexual maturity is the material faithfulness between the partners of sexual relationship in all circumstances.

Parental love can result only as a result of psychosexual maturity it makes the parents provide a warm and secure environment to the child for his wholesome development. Thus, sexuality has been dealt as a genuine cornerstone of psychoanalysis theory.

In some region or organ of the body instinctual drive is excited (as for example. Libido is the term that has been used for the excitation of sexual drive) an “idea” cannot lead to behaviour unless, first, it is carried to consciousness. The force which carries a drive or an idea representing a drive, to consciousness, has been termed as cathexis by Freud.

Excitation is caused because of some feeling, perception or thought or action. Excitation discharges energy, the source of which is some instinctual drive. Personality mechanisms make use of this energy no overt behaviour is possible without this energy, and, it is disposed of when something is operated. “…….the drive energy operates by cathecting various psychological structures in the personality.”

Freud views cathexis as an electric charge which energises the region or the object which is involved in the process of the behaviour. Cathexis describes how energy is distributed or deployed.

Drive excitation is essential for behaviour. But drive excitation cannot directly express itself in the form of some behaviour. “The intervening mechanism is cathexis.” The cathexis is the force that drives the idea into consciousness.

The idea represents the drive which is then felt as an impulse. All the ideas are not acted out into behaviour though they may have been brought to consciousness but it is always through cathexis that ideas are brought to consciousness “objects of a drive are cathected”.

The mother is the best example of an object cathected for the child she is valued by the child. The ideas of a child that are related to its mother, have a strong cathexis.

In other words, we may describe the fact of this relationship that mother “commands a lot of cathexis in the child’s psychological functioning”—the fact is evident through the behaviour of the child who carries out whatever is asked to be done by his mother. The mother is the object that occupies the child’s mind for most of the time.

The basic psychoanalytic assumption is that all kinds of feelings, thoughts or other psychological processes, or behaviour of an organism, have their genesis in the instinctual drives but cathexes are the forces which can make their presence felt only by others.

The influence caused by these drives are carried to consciousness, and, eventually to overt behaviours by the force which has been termed as “cathexis” in psychoanalysis explanations. Overt behaviour is essential for the gratification of the drive motivated need.

The nature of cathexes, changes as the child’s personality structure develops from “Id” to “Ego” and from “Ego” to “Superego”. This change is perceived through the behaviour of the subject. What does not change, or remains constant, is the instinctual drive.

Then, what makes a change in the behaviour as the personality develops, psychoanalysts say that it is the cathexis that changes with maturity, with environment so, here is the importance of environment for psychoanalysts. Defense mechanisms is a result of the sublimation of cathexes.

An idea reaches to consciousness when it is at a critical level of cathexis. Some other factors also contribute in the process when an idea is cathected to some object—the idea must be related to some basic instinct, or to the drive, deriving from it.

The common assumption among the people is that we are inclined to think of things which we want, and which have emotional significance for us. The higher the intensity of motivation, the stronger will be the thoughts intruding upon consciousness.

But if thoughts are painful, the individual would try to exclude its intrusion into consciousness. The defense mechanism used is Repression. A defense mechanism is used only when an individual is developing to a higher structure of personality—from “Id” to “Ego” or from “Ego” to “Superego”.

Repression is the result of Counter Cathexis. Counter Cathexis subtracts energy from the region energised by some drive cathexis, and, generally, in relation to some object. Counter Cathexis is used to repress an idea which threatens the development of some unpleasant situation, or when the idea itself is painful, and so causing fear.

An individual at the level of “Ego” or “Superego”, has his “Self-image” developed, and if an idea threatens his “Self-image”, or is against his “Self- esteem”, he would attempt to repress such an idea.

If I consider my worth to be as a man of tolerance, I would get afraid if an idea or drive representative seeks intrusion into my consciousness through cathexis, and to lead me to some such overt behaviour which may harm my self-image and to exclude that idea from intruding upon my mind, I would resort to the defense mechanism called repression.

Sometimes, the thought may be too strong to be excluded fully from consciousness. A repressed idea is most likely to continue its existence in the unconscious mind, and may be playing very important role in a dream, or in a state of hallucination. Ideas thus suppressed in our unconscious mind, do affect our overt behaviour also.

For a person who is keen in maintaining his sexual loyalty to his wife, the very idea of sexuality towards another woman, is immoral and he would try his utmost to repress this idea through counter-cathexis-leaving little energy for the drive cathexis to be acted out. It is thus that a person avoids an otherwise threatening anxiety-provoking situation.

Likewise, as the child grows older, he would team to resist the instinctual drive of hunger when food is not available, as otherwise the situation would be very painful and derogatory. The use of counter-cathexis is an indication of the development of the child’s personality from the “Id” structure to the “Ego” structure.

An adult or even an adolescent may have developed to the level of “Superego” structure when one tries to avoid the acting out of such a drive cathexis which is not acceptable to the society, or is considered outlandish.

Finally, there is a third type of cathexis which Freud has termed as hyper-­cathexis. Hyper-cathexis is for focusing attention to realities or to ideas other than those aroused by the immediate basic drive these may be the ideas that had come to consciousness in the remote past, or may have been lying repressed in the unconscious mind.

The two important functions of hyper-cathexis are—focusing on an idea, and to integrate it with relevant ideas in a sequence or system with an objective to solve the problem.

While cathexis focuses attention on the object to be achieved, hyper-cathexis leads the subject to think realistically and logistically also about means and modalities which are essential for the achievement of object.

Freud has used this term to describe the fact that we can voluntarily concentrate on any object or can think of an idea before it comes to consciousness of its own. Hyper-cathexis cathects many ideas and thoughts in a system based on logical rules. For chalking out plans, or for searching out a needful information, a proper sequencing of ideas or thoughts is needed. It is hyper-cathexis which enables the subject to do it.

Hyper-cathexis is a stage of development in one’s personality when one’s thoughts are not bound by drive cathexis only. With the development of hyper-cathexis, one can bring to consciousness ideas and thoughts which are not tied to drive cathexis sequence and organisation of one’s ideas and thoughts may not be determined by drives alone.

Now, “attention can control access to consciousness and change the organisation. Ideas are partly under voluntary control the sequence of the ideas is governed by realities related to the plan, and by logical rules. The sequencing of ideas and thoughts in accordance with a certain plan, or as per certain rule, is the essence of what Freud has termed as Secondary Process.

In the primary-process thinking, thought of the drive is the only connecting thread. The primary- process thinking may lead to only some single drive satisfaction whereas the secondary-process thinking is to have the satisfaction of achieving something which has social significance also.

As for example, if a hungry person thinks of food, his thoughts may roam to foods of different kinds to some dinner party enjoyed by him in the remote past and to his mother who may have been cooking delicious food for him.

But when the same person rises above thoughts related to his own person only, and thinks of a plan to arrange food for the hungry people to the extent that he can, he starts the Secondary Process, and it is the result of Hyper-cathexis.

Repression is to avoid a pain-producing thought nevertheless, facing realities squarely, may sometime be needed to tackle a problem effectively.

Under such a situation hyper-cathexis brings ideas of relevance to consciousness had there been no relevance or significance of such ideas to the resolution of the problem, they may have been ignored, and a major part of them may have been relegated to unconsciousness—at least for the time-being.

The idea of being poorly prepared for an examination is definitely anxiety-producing, and hence painful, but one would not attempt for its repression one would rather have hyper-cathexis to chalk-out a plan sequencing and organising ideas or thoughts in such a way that the motive of success in the examination may be achieved.

Thus, hyper-cathexis indicates an important stage of development in the personality of a person.

Defense Mechanisms by Freud’s Psychoanalysis Theory:

A reference has been made above to only one kind of defense mechanism that is repression, when an idea or drive representation is excluded from having accessibility to consciousness.

The defenses are the indicators of the development of the personality structure from the level of Id to Ego or Superego level of Id is the stage when each drive or drive representation seeks immediate and direct gratification of its need, it cannot tolerate any deferment.

Each idea or drive representative is cathected to consciousness, and leads to overt behaviour.

Still, the person is too immature to harbour any other consideration in reference to his self-image or self-esteem or social or moral propriety to defer or detour or suppress the gratification of the drive representative through some mechanism depending upon counter cathexis or hyper-cathexis so that the two aspects of the instinctual drives, that is, the external aim and the object, are affected.

The defenses that have clearly been identified have been classified as under:

All these defenses distort the consciousness of the individual in a way that the expression of the drive may be prevented. Describing the common feature of these defenses, AL Baldwin writes: “they distort the individual’s consciousness in a way that prevents or alleviates the pain and anxiety that would be caused by a more realistic awareness of his environment or of his own ideas and feelings”.

This shows why a defense mechanism is adopted, and when it is adopted it is adopted when the situation is painful or anxiety-provoking for such a situation either the external environment may be responsible for some idea or feelings of the individual himself. The objective behind the adoption of a defense mechanism is always to prevent or alleviate the pain or anxiety.

Such is the importance of these defense mechanisms that an individual’s life-style is indicated because of these. These mechanisms are the corner— stones of one’s personality, and, the behaviour of an individual can be predicted because of the mechanisms that one would adopt under certain circumstances.

Now, let us see how each of the above-mentioned defense mechanisms, has been described by Freud and the psychologists of the school of psychoanalysis.

But before we describe these defenses, their difference from Controls should be made clear: Defenses by one means or the other distort consciousness to prevent the expression of the drive while Controls only inhibit the expression or modify it—they do not really block the drive itself.

Repression is the cornerstone of all the defenses, to a certain degree, repression is exercised in all sorts of defense mechanisms the motive there being to raise the threshold level of access to consciousness. Repression can occur only when cathexis is subtracted from a drive cathected idea.

The threshold of access to consciousness is raised to prevent the drive cathected idea from reaching to the critical level of intensity when the individual would be consciously aware of its presence.

A drive-cathected idea is repressed for protection from pain or anxiety. But other ideas that have only associative link with the drive-cathected idea, escape repression, and become expressed in the form that is not painful or anxiety-laden.

This psychic function of the escape of the ideas having only associative link with the drive-cathected idea, and of their being expressed through such an overt behaviour which is for the present not likely to be threatened by the censor, has been called Displacement, it is a common accompaniment of repression.

The example given is that of hand-washing so often, and with great care. In some cases, the root for this symptom has been found to be in the idea of masturbation, a result of the libidinal drive. Washing the hand is not considered to be a dirty habit, and hence is not anxiety-laden as masturbation. So, hand-washing has been quoted as an example of displacement, also a sort of defense mechanism.

At the same time, “The tender care of the hands, expresses some of the cathexis of the genitals”. The ideas which are associatively linked with the idea that is repressed, but which themselves are not repressed, are the examples of displacements. The displacement is the mechanism through which the forbidden idea is expressed in disguise, gets its “message through to consciousness”.

Freud describes how the mechanism of repression tends to spread. Once the link between the repressed idea and the associatively linked ideas that have got an expression through displacement, is consciously recognised, such associatively linked ideas also start causing anxiety, with the result that the same are also repressed.

3. Reaction Formation:

Let us begin with an example. Suppose a person has an idea of hatred against his father, but the same makes him feel, or may cause an immediate unconscious reaction that harbouring such an idea is immoral. The energy released because of the drive of hostility is inhibited, tamed or civilized through counter-cathexis, and a counter-drive leads to the impulses of excessive love or respect for the father.

The counter drive differs from the primary instinctual drive as:

(i) The former is established against a primary drive, as a reaction to it

(ii) It is a more tamed, inhibited and a civilized drive than the latter.

But, whenever the subject has a little feeling that his overt behaviour has leaked the original drive of hatred, he would further inhibit his counter drive too through more controls and defenses.

One more characteristic of the counter-drive is that it has a life of its own whenever its maladaptiveness is realised, it too requires defenses and controls and it is possible that in respect of each counter-drive, again and again, defenses and controls may be required each time layering the new ones upon those of the previously used ones and each time the cathexis of these derivative motives becomes more and more inhibited, and less and less demanding and peremptory.

The example is, one, as a reaction formation, indulgences into acts of kindness only to realise that his behaviour has been maladaptive. He may grow pessimistic or disillusioned to find that the object on one account or the other did not deserve that much kindness, or that in a bid to show kindness to the object, he has exceeded the reasonable limit.

In such a situation some sort of defense and control may be established over kindness. In a neurotic form of kindness, one may be giving out, and giving more only to feel hurt and angry that the object is not grateful enough for it. Here, the subject may give acceptable conscious expression to less repressed hostility along with the counter-drive.

Isolation is the mechanism to isolate the feeling associated to an idea, but not the content of the idea itself. This isolation is executed through repression the more exact word for which here would be “Intellectualization”.

The example is, some people do not respond with anger or hostility when they are insulted or imposed upon it appears as if they were unconscious of such behaviour of others towards them or were unaware of their intent.

By and by, they grow so habitual or structuralized of responding to such a situation isolating the feeling of anger or hostility that they always appear to be playing cool to such a situation though actually they may be pondering upon the situation to take action more appropriately against those inflicting insult or imposing something upon them.

The close relative of isolation, is intellectualization. Intellectuahsation is a cognitive function it consists of understanding situation cognitively so that appropriate means may be thought out to accomplish the objectives without being swept off by the affective side of the drive expression.

But one negative impact of such a structualisation is that the person thus structuralized may not have that force in his behaviour which the affective side of the drive may cause to grow because of the energy released by it.

Affect serves as a signal which guides the subject in adapting the behaviour to the purpose to be achieved.

Affect seeks emotional discharge in an explosive manner only until mature ego is developed, and the affect is at the primary process level but, when personality has developed to the structure of mature Ego level, that is, the affect is at the secondary process level, it serves as a signal indicating the significance of the problem, and, helping in setting a goal for the adaptive behaviour.

So, repressing affect would mean preventing it from functioning as a signal.

Isolation is a psychodynamic process which saves a person the anxiety which may be caused’ by the impinging of two mental events upon each other while occurring simultaneously, and which are of such nature that they cannot co-exist harmoniously.

In such a situation, separation of the one from the other is essential to save the individual the difficulty of reconciling the two or of dealing with the two simultaneously. Such a separation is the defense mechanism of isolation.

Suppose I go to a temple, and there, along with a feeling of devotion, an idea occurs impinging upon the feeling of devotion that the idol that I am bowing to, is nothing but a work in stone or in some metal. The psychological situation causes anxiety, mental trouble and the only way out is Isolation. For the time-being, at least, I would make a psychological separation of the two mental events which are irreconcilable.

Other example of isolation is that a man having the tender feelings of love, may not have sexual relationship with a woman and may not be loving tenderly another woman with whom he has sexual relationship.

In such a case, tender love and sexual feelings have to be separated through a device of defense mechanism though feelings of both types are expressed but on different occasions, and in relation to different persons.

A drive motivation which is undesirable, but which being too strong to be prevented from consciousness, makes one to adopt a defense mechanism of attributing that undesirable characteristic or drive motivation to another person this mechanism is called Projection—one projects something undesirable into one’s character, into that of another.

A prudish spinster may be complaining against over-sexuality into another person. And, she herself may grow into militantly non-sexual as a reaction formation. Such a complaint expresses both sexuality and hostility that have come to the consciousness of the complainant.

A person who always strives to give the impression of himself being a religious man, would project such feelings of his into the character of other persons, which are incompatible with religion.

It, generally, happens that a person who, because of his own selfish behaviour, is cut off from other members of his family or society, would complain aggressively against unsociability of others, and would himself grow more unsocial.

One more form of projection is also witnessed in the behaviour of people in general. Suppose, my son has scored very high marks in an examination since my praising my own son on this account would be immodest, so I may start speaking of other cases of high scores only to bring to the notice of others the fact of my son having scored so high.

AL Baldwin writes—”Projection is not so much a modification of the actual content of consciousness as a modification of the organisation of consciousness.”

It means, whatever content comes to consciousness, remains there in its entirety the defense mechanism of projection is to effect a change in its organisation only—whatever content is there in the consciousness of a person, is projected as a characteristic in the personality of someone else, or in others what originally was in reference to one’s own self, is reorganized in reference to others.

Only such a one adopts this defense who has developed self-image or self-esteem to protect the same, for example, one would express one’s sex-related drive- cathexis through describing someone else engaged in sexual actions attributing the motive to another person.

In a given situation, what we imagine the other would behave, actually, in most cases, projects what our instinctual drive might have driven us to behave but for our Ego or Superego.

It is the most primitive of all defenses. It distorts cognition in a more severe way. To deny the existence of a reality is denial. A very young child hallucinates things as still the faculty of perceiving reality is not developed, nor has he developed his Ego. A seriously psychotic person also distorts cognition through denying the facts because he cannot face realities.

A grown-up denies a reality to protect himself from an anxiety- arousing situation or when it is otherwise unpleasant to him. A grown up may deny facts when they are minor or unclear.

We may have seen people denying an impending unpleasant event for example, when a driver says, “I do not feel sleepy when I so determine,” the probability is that he may be feeling the impact of sleep while he so declares. “Denial is perceiving the world in the way that one wants it to be rather than the way it is.” (AL Baldwin).

Now, we should distinguish hallucination from denial. Denial is the distortion of cognition, but hallucinations do not imply distortion of cognit­ion as the child who hallucinates, has still not fully developed the faculty of perceiving facts still, he cannot distinguish what he is hallucinating, and what he is perceiving.

He hallucinates things for drive-satisfaction a grown-up denies things to protect himself from pain or anxiety.

As the child grows older, he cannot deny realities, his Ego is also stronger now. Of course, he can deny realities in a play or in a day-dreaming there, things may be taken to exist as he would like them to be, rather than, as they are. A grown-up also day-dreams. Both playing and day-dreaming may provide respite from burdensome or hard realities only for a while.

A person with a fully developed Ego would adopt other types of defenses than Denial to protect himself in an anxiety-arousing situation. As already told in the beginning that this list of mechanisms does not exhaust all the defenses, there may be a lot of others, too, but Freud has described these six as the most important among them.

Later neo-Freudians viewed these defenses in a broader context as to how they affect the styles of perceiving and thinking besides serving as defensive devices. They have described these mechanisms as cognitive controls and cognitive styles.

In the development of the personality of a child, these controls and styles play an important part. The personality of a person has three aspects- physical, cognitive and conative. It is the cognitive aspect of personality which is mainly represented and affected by the defense mechanisms.

Cognitive controls and cognitive styles:

Though defense mechanisms are mainly concerned with the cognitive aspect of personality, yet, their effect may be perceived upon the over-all functioning of the individual.

How a person controls his cognitive functions, that is, his perceptions and think­ing what is the way of his knowing of things, or of being conscious of things or of facts, and his judgment about the same—all this forms an important part of an individual’s personality. In wider perspective, defenses are cognitive controls and cognitive styles.

These controls and styles are adopted in general forms to protect oneself in an unpleasant or anxiety-arousing situation, none the less, individual differences are there which, besides other characteristics, make personalities distinct. The general cognitive functioning of an individual influences the kinds of defenses one develops.

Using stroop colour—naming test, George Klein and his colleagues investigated one particular cognitive style as Constricted Control as distinct from Flexible Control. Those who have developed constricted controls in their functioning, happen to be very precise and meticulous and, do not allow intuitive or affective factors to influence their cognitive as those with flexible controls do.

The high interference group shows more vulnerability to interfering stimuli from the periphery. Just to concentrate on the main content, the central content, such a group would adopt the defense of isolating the peripheral objects, and the style of constricted control develops. Of course, the need that is present at the moment, would affect the nature and intensity of control.

Baldwin writes, “The same procedure is even stronger when there is a compelling need present which threatens to impinge upon the perception.”

“If the season is hot, and in a picture the central item is “ice-cream”, the pictures of other items, given on the periphery, would be ignored through the mechanism of isolation, and concentration would be high on “ice-cream” and other related words if the same are given there.

The subject would be vulnerable to the intrusion of words related to hot-relieving things such a situation would make not only the visual movement of the subject constricted, but also his association to other objects. The mechanism is both a defense and a result, “the entire pattern of interaction with the environment is coloured”.

The Establishment of Personality Structures by Freud’s Psychoanalysis Theory:

Freud describes the development of personality through three structures- Id, Ego and Superego. Each of the three structures has distinct patterns of reactional behaviour that is caused by the arousal of some motive. Each structure determines how drive representations would appear in consciousness and lead to drive discharge.

We can know what is the development structure of personality, looking at the dispositional properties of the subject. It means, each structure is characterised by its own dispositional properties.

Id, Ego and Superego—each has its own distinct dispositional properties which indicate the type of structure that one is having it gives the idea how a person functions, what are the various properties that are evidenced during the period of drive discharge and how the various properties are related to one another.

Id is the structure of personality when a primitive instinctual force reigns supreme, it is highly impulsive and rash, and, can tolerate no delay in the gratification of a drive. It is the primitive source of energy which is blindly utilised to serve the urges of the wild “Self” only.

It is uncultured and thoughtless. A child, in the beginning, happens to be at the Id stage when has no thought of right or wrong but immediately rushes into an action being prompted by some instinctual impulse. It is only gradually that the personality develops towards the structure of Ego.

Even when the Ego structure has been developed, it is not the case that one gets totally above, and beyond the properties which characterize the structure of Id—a constant struggle goes on between the urges of the Id, and the directions given by the Ego.

Id is related to primary process only when no defense mechanisms have developed. Rappaport has described the models of the functioning of primary process, separately in reference to action, cognition and affect. In each case, the primary process is consisted of three stages.

Here, we are giving each of the three models as given by Rappaport:

The primary model of action:

The infant grows restless as drive accumulates and it demands immediate gratification. The child starts yelling and would not be affected by any means that may have to be tried at, to make it tolerate even, a little delay in the fulfillment of the motive. The drive is satisfied when the child gets to breast sucking. With it the motive is achieved and the final stage of quiescence is reached to when no drive happens to exist there.

Drive determines the experience it determines what the organism is to be conscious of but for the drive to become conscious, memory of the previous gratification serves as a vehicle. In case of previous cognition, drive discharge is not as effective as it happens when the object is present, hence cognitions cannot be taken as effective substitutes for the behaviour.

The child is very young but he has learned what it is he wants, and he thinks about it. Still, he is not mature enough to have sensing and thinking as separate functioning—sensing and thinking, generally, go simultaneously and, his thoughts are hallucinatory, they being not based on the realities of the situation but are related to the object he wants to achieve, and, the object is not present.

“Cognition, or conscious experiencing of the drives representation, occurs where the aim of the drive is not achieved”. But as the child matures, he perceives the present situation also besides remembering the past gratifying experience with the result that gratification occurs in reality and not in hallucination only.

The third of the primary models, as described by Rappaport is the model of affect:

Drive—Absence of drive object—Affect discharge.

Again, drive is there but no object is there for its gratification, and the result is that the drive discharge does not happen to be so effective as it would have been in case of the presence of the drive object whatever discharge is there, is only an emergency discharge of the drive cathexis— here again, the gratification is hallucinatory.

So long as Id is the only system present, the process happens to be consisted of three stages—restlessness of the organism, his experiencing the affect, and his experiencing a hallucinatory gratification followed by a state of quiescence when there is no action, no cognition, and no affect.

Ego is the second structure which personality attains in due course of development. Ego is realistic and makes the person appreciate the realities of the situation and makes him behave in the wider interests of his self. “It represents the role of enlightened self-interest in the personality.”

Though Ego is not unaware of the drive, and of the impulses which the drive may give rise to, yet, its role is to restrain the person from behaving on the spur of an instinctive drive in a reckless manner. It may prepare the person for a detoured or delayed gratification of the drive, if an attempt for an immediate gratification of the same may harm the self-esteem of the person.

Ego would not permit such a step of behaviour which the people would not approve of. It is in the interest of the person, living in a society, that it (Ego) controls the drives by way of delaying, inhibiting or restraining them so that their aims may be achieved realistically and with no harm to the self of the person.

The Ego may arrange for the maximum gratification of the drives for which it may have to inhibit drives for a certain period of time may have to detour the gratification, and reconcile incompatible impulses arising out of instinctual drives.

The Ego performs the following five functions:

1. It raises the threshold for drive discharge. The drive object may be present even then it controls the subject from behaving impulsively to achieve that object. Though such a control may result in the frustration of the subject, yet it develops tolerance in the subject for such a frustration, and it prepares the subject for better adaptation of course, in extreme cases, such a control may make one neurotic.

2. It controls the access of ideas to consciousness. For a behaviour the access of an impulse to consciousness is essential, but the same is prevented by the Ego, and thus it distorts consciousness.

3. The Ego directs the behaviour towards the acceptable goals. Acceptability can be judged only through a cognitive function. The Ego selects an effective means to the goal. If necessary, the Ego may make the individual take detours and balance “one value against another”. Thus, the Ego may make an individual plan an action well in advance before he actually indulges into it.

4.Logical thinking is the fourth function of the Ego. The individual thinks in a logical sequence because of the Ego. He thinks according to some set of rules in contrast to what he does at the structural level of Id—there, the sequence of thoughts going “from one drive representative to another regardless of logical rules or realistic factors”.

5. The Ego directs the individual what goal to select. The Ego makes use of the affect as a signal to be guided in the selection of a goal which should be such that it may relieve of a feeling of frustration— may it be despondency, anger or some other unpleasant feeling, as well as it should be important, too.

Again, the functioning is at the secondary process level, and affect accompanies the drive frustration as a signal to help the person select the right goal.

The Ego-cathexes are basically derived from the instinctual drives, but here the effect that accompanies the frustration of instinctual drives is controlled, indicating thereby that the situation demands some sort of adaptive behaviour. To the Id, Freud attributes “dynamically unconscious content, primary process functioning, the pleasure principle and drive cathexes.

In contrast, the Ego is partly conscious and partly not so. It operates following the secondary process. Nevertheless, no distinguishing line can be drawn between the Id and the Ego. There is a continuum from one structure to the other the higher level controlling the lower one, and evolving out of the lower.

Superego marks the difference in the aims that comes about when an individual has further developed to the third structured system of the personality. To describe the development of personality theoretically, Freud has used these three terms—Id, Ego and Superego. He has distinguished the first two on the basis of means adopted.

When an individual is very young, it happens to be very impulsive and labile, and cannot tolerate any delay in the gratification of a drive Freud calls his first structural system of the personality by the name Id.

And, to the second structural system as Ego, when one grows more realistic, and, would work for the maximal drive satisfaction. Sometimes, Ego may inhibit the expression of an instinctual drive when such an expression is considered not to be helpful in the attainment of maximal drive satisfaction.

But in case of both the structural systems, that is, Id and Ego, there is no difference in aims. These are the means adopted that distinguish one from the other. In case of Superego, the aims are also different from the ones that activate the young child who is still at the structural level of Id.

Superego is the guide that enables a mature individual not to adopt such an aim which is irreconcilable with the social order. An individual at the structural level of Id or Ego is not mature enough to allow only such a drive discharge which may serve for the satisfaction of the person without disrupting the social order. It is possible to do so when the structural system of Superego has developed.

The social system can remain constant over the generations only when social rules become incorporated into the individual personality for it, conflict between the egocentric satisfaction of the individual and the maintenance of social order must be resolved. The Superego is the result of the resolution of this conflict as well as it is system of the personality which enables an individual to resolve such a conflict.

There is a dynamic relationship among these three systems of personality—Id, Ego and Superego. For all these systems. Id is the basic source of motivation. It represents the forces which lead to direct, immediate expression of the instinctual drives.

The Superego represents the cultural restrictions on the expression of instinctual drives. The Ego seeks maximal satisfaction within the restrictions imposed by superego and the realities of the world. Superego begins to be acquired even during the period of childhood.

As for example, the child would try to acquire the parental interpretation of sexual prohibitions. Later on, as an individual grows in age, his capacity to feel the restricting nature of the societal rules, increases and the realities of the world also exert a restricting impact—all this represents the development of the system of Superego in the personality of the individual.

In some cases, the restrictions and fears that stem from the Superego may be unrealistic and rigid. In such cases, the Ego plays the arbitrary role by way of bringing some compromise between the Superego and the Id.

Now, reconciliation has to be found between the impulsive nature of the Id, seeking direct expression of the instinctual drives, and, the restrictive nature of the Superego demanding strict observance of the societal rules. The psychoanalysts have described the mechanisms of Ego—Id relations in greater details than they have done in case of ego-superego.


Effects of Heredity and Environment on our Personality

Every individual on this earth is different from the other. No one person is fully like other person.

Every person differs from the other, either physically or psychologically. Even the twins are no exception to this. They differ in some aspects or other. Particularly when we look at people from psychological point of view these differences are quite obvious. In many instances even the children differ from their parents.

They will have some similarities with some forefathers or grandparents instead of their parents. What makes these differences to exist? What are the causes? The answer to these queries can be traced from two factors, viz., heredity and environment.

The basic sources of personality development are heredity and environment.

1. Heredity:

Heredity refers to the genetic inheritance received by every individual at the time of conception. The origin of every human life can be traced to a single cell called zygote. It is formed by the union of sperm and ovum.

The sperm and ovum will contain 23 pairs of chromosomes out of which one will be sex determining chromosome. Female will have 23 pairs of XX chromosomes. Male will have 22 pairs of XX and 2 single, represented as XY. X chromosome from mother and Y chromosome from father will lead to male offspring, XX from both parents give rise to female. In each chromosome there are innumerable genes.

These genes are the real determiners of hereditary characteristics—which pass on from one generation to the other. At the time of conception, the genes from chromosomes of both the father and the mother fuse together and determine the traits of the offspring to be born.

The physical characteristics such as height, weight, colour of eye and skin, social and intellectual behaviour are determined by heredity. Differences in these characteristics are due to the change in the genes transmitted. Fraternal twins also differ from each other, because they are born out of different genes. However, we find more resemblances in identical twins because they are born out of monozygotic.

2. Environment:

In simple terms environment means the society, the fields of society and even the whole world. But here, the word environment is restricted to mean the environment within mother’s womb and just born, as well as the environment around the individual.

Like heredity, environment also has been found to play a very important role in determining the behaviour and personality development of an individual. The environmental influences are those which act upon the organism at the earlier stages of development, i.e., before and also after birth.

Environment includes all the extrinsic forces, influences and conditions which affect the life, nature, behaviour, the growth, development and maturation of living organism (Douglass and Holland).

Hence, we can say that environment means all that is found around the individual. The zygote is surrounded by a jelly like substance known as ‘cytoplasm’. The cytoplasm is an intracellular environment which influences the development. Though the life begins with single cell, in the process of cell division several new cells are formed and a new internal environment comes into existence.

As the fetus develops the endocrine glands are formed. The hormonal secretion by these glands gives rise to another intracellular environment. Hormones are necessary for normal development, but defects in hormone secretion like over or under secretion may lead to congenital deformities.

The growing embryo is surrounded by amniotic fluid in the uterus which creates another environment. This fluid will provide the necessary warmth and protection against the dangers due to organisms and other chemical effects on fetus.

The fetus is also connected to the mother by the umbilical cord, through which the nourishment is supplied. Sufficient nourishment is necessary from the mother. Otherwise the child will suffer from malnutrition. The defects in mother like drug or alcohol addiction, smoking, malnutrition, diabetes, endocrinal disturbances, small uterus and such other problems cause many problems in child.

The psychological state of mother like over excitement, depression also may cause damaging effect on the child.

After nine months, the child is born and enters a new environment which is entirely different. A new life begins in a new environment. This new environment will have a different culture, ideology, values, etc.

The home atmosphere, parental love and affection, association with sibling, neighbours, peers, teachers, etc. will create an entirely different and new atmosphere. This is called social environment. All the social factors stated above shape the personality of the child.

There is a long standing controversy regarding the importance of heredity and environment. Supporters of heredity say that the environment cannot change a dog into a goat. On the other hand, the environmentalists are of the opinion that for the development of a plant only seed is not important but also environment like sunlight, manure, water, etc.

Innumerable studies have been conducted on both sides. However, the results indicate that heredity and environment are interdependent forces. Whatever the heredity supplies, the favourable environment brings it out. Personality characteristics attained by heredity are shaped by environment.


Multidimensionality of Gender Identity

Although Kagan (1964) and Bem (1981) differed in terms of the mechanisms believed to promote sex typing and whether or not sex typing is adaptive or maladaptive, both perspectives posit that sex typing is indicative of gender identity. Although it is not an unreasonable idea, recent work examining the nature of identity suggests that it may be much more complex than the degree to which people adhere to gender norms. Contemporary perspectives on identity challenge the utility of relying on one construct or type of measurement as a means for assessing the nature of a particular identity (Ashmore et al., 2004 Egan & Perry, 2001 Sellers et al., 1998 Way, Santos, Niwa, Kim-Gervey, Chapter Five). Specifically, researchers have proposed that social identities are made up of various components, each with important implications for particular outcomes (Ruble et al., 2004). Although psychologists differ in the aspects of identity they emphasize, current research points to three dimensions worth careful consideration when thinking about gender identity, sex typing, and adjustment: centrality, evaluation, and felt pressure. (Centrality refers to the importance of gender to one’s identity evaluation refers to how one views gender-related values, beliefs, roles, and behavioral practices in one’s culture and felt pressure refers to one’s perceptions of the need to conform to these cultural values, beliefs, roles, and behavioral practices.)

Although gender may be among the most important social categories in American society, individuals may differ in the degree to which they consider it an important and positive aspect of their overall identity. Research has shown that children differ in predictable ways with respect to which aspects of their overall identity they consider most important. For example, ethnicity is more central to the self-concept of immigrant compared to non-immigrant American children. Moreover, research has shown that children may differ in the extent to which they are happy with their gender and feel pressure from themselves and others (parents and peers) to behave in a sex-typed manner. Thus, centrality, evaluation, and felt pressure have all been shown to be important factors in the relationship between group membership and self-esteem (Ruble et al., 2004).


The psychology of a one-night stand

IT’S THAT TIME of year again when couples are holding hands and booking up all the hotel rooms in town.

Valentine’s Day is about love, but let’s face it, it’s also about sex.

Not everyone is in a relationship – and like all human beings, they have needs too.

Sex is an important part of any relationship, but also a part of life. (It’s also officially good for your health).

While couples have the luxury of betting on when their next sexual experience will be, single people don’t necessarily have that option. Opportunities arise, and perhaps that is where the one-night stand comes in.

The Oxford Dictionary definition of a one-night stand is:

There’s that word ‘relationship’ again. However, it does seem rare a one-night stand results in a relationship.

The stereotype

The stereotype idea commonly displayed on TV and in the movies is that a one-night stand involves a man, out for his own fulfilment, and a woman, who is left ashamed and full of regret, longing for love.

That’s not often the case at all. Is the thought that a woman could want to fulfil her own selfish needs too much to fathom, or is there really a different sort of psychology going on for men and women.

Think about how the movies portray it. Even when they are trying to breakdown the concept of casual sex, it always ends with a happy ending.

In the movie ‘Friends with Benefits’, starring Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis, they ultimately end up falling in love, as is often the case in Hollywood movies.

Women are often portrayed trying to detach, but they just can’t hack the no strings sex. So, is that the case in real-life?

Tony Moore, a counseller for Relationships Ireland, a not-for-profit organisation that offers confidential relationship counselling services and Nuala Deering a psychotherapist and sex therapist.

Moore said the stereotype is men pray on innocent women for that sort of thing.

“I have been doing this job for over 23 years, I can only speak from experience, but while yes, that can be true at times, I have seen it from both sides, both men and women.”

Having counselled couples for many years, he said one-night stands is something that comes up a lot. While these are not single people, it is clear one-night stands involve married people too, more often the men.

“The question always asked in session, is ‘why, why, why’. Why did they partner feel the need to do this. And the partner always attempts to give some bullshit answer.”

Moore said one thing that does come out again and again is something either their partner doesn’t agree with or doesn’t want to believe is true.

Satisfying their needs

Moore said the same can be said for those who are single or in a casual relationship.

He said one-night stands can be a bit of fun for people, both men and women, but said it is important to know what you are going in to.

However, Moore said there is two people involved in this. “We can’t solely blame the guys.”

Hurt feelings

However, while he said men can often walk away from the experience, without a care in the world (which he admitted is not always the case) women do carry it with them, he said.

“Not always, but some women have a lot of guilt, be it they don’t feel good about themselves or regret why they did it. This doesn’t happen as much for men, who anonymise the women.”

Moore said the men he has in session often can’t recall much about the woman they had a one-night stand with, either what she did for a living, or much detail about her at all.

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“They can look at me quite blankly when I ask these questions,” said Moore.

Deering said one-night stands do seem more common now, but perhaps more people are just more open about talking about them.

Double standards

“I still think men have the attitude that they wouldn’t end up with the women who they had a one-night stand with. Men still have those double standards,” said Deering.

One-night stands are often featured on TV (Sex and the City etc), but Deering said she would worry younger people are getting the wrong message about what is expected from them.

She added that people could be avoiding intimacy with one-night stands.

“It is easier to be physical with another human being than actually getting to know the person. I think people often don’t give themselves the chance to get to know a person by going to bed with them too soon. It can often block a more intimate, deeper relationship.”

Women also tend to put their needs before men, sexually, she said.

Worry about your own needs

“I hear a lot from women who are worried about their partners because they have no sexual desire, before they worry about their own needs.”

“I think women need to consider themselves and their needs before others.”

If two people decide to have a one-night stand, Moore said it should be on the right terms.

“I am afraid to say that alcohol and drugs often plays a part in these encounters. People need to be grown up about it, be responsible and safe. There are dangers.”

What do you think? Do men and women have different attitudes towards one-night stands? Can both men and women have fun, or do they both expect different things? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below.


Sex After Trauma (Pt. II): The Psychology Behind My Promiscuity

About a year ago, I wrote this column for my college newspaper's special issue on sex, love and intimacy. It's about the difficulties with having sex after experiencing sexual trauma. It's about 99 percent truthful.

Nowhere in that column do I tell lies. But I did omit certain things that would have been relevant to include. I wrote a scrubbed clean version of my story partially to make it more palatable, and partially because I didn't fully understand the psychological mechanisms behind what I was going through. I was trying to protect my reputation, before I realized I had nothing to be ashamed of.

I'm finally laying everything out on the table, because I know there are people in the world who need to hear this. And any company that doesn't want to hire me because I openly discuss the side effects of sexual trauma is a company I don't want to work for anyway. I have nothing to apologize for, or to be ashamed of.

Hypersexuality is a common side effect of sexual trauma (as is avoiding sex altogether). I didn't know this at the time I wrote that piece. During that period of my life, I wasn't just, "taking a guy home from the party because I wanted to." I was actively going on Tinder and looking for guys to meet at bars and then bring home with me, because I felt like I needed to.

My logic was: If I can sleep with random people, that means I'm fine. That means my trauma doesn't affect me.

I didn't realize that this was a completely normal reaction to sexual trauma until I talked about it in therapy, and my counselor assured me that it was a common response.

I also recently read Come As You Are, by sex educator Emily Nagoski, who describes how trauma can press on your sexual accelerator:

Sometimes, too, survivors find themselves locked in a pattern of sexual behavior. Their brains become compulsive about undoing the trauma, redoing it differently, or simply understanding it. Like biting on a cold sore or squeezing a pimple, the brain can't leave the trauma alone, even though you know you'd heal faster if you could. The result is that the survivor has multiple partners, often following a habitual pattern, without feeling perfectly in control of the decision to have those partners.

I described it as always having my finger on the "yes" button. I was "yes" happy. But I wasn't happy. I was waking up in the morning with a stranger's arm around me and feeling sick to my stomach.

One of these endeavors went terribly wrong and sent me into a huge panic attack that lasted until about 5 a.m. I vowed that morning to leave behind my promiscuity for good.

If you are a survivor and you are reading this, and you are thinking, "Wow, that sounds an awful lot like me," know this: Your response is normal. And if you're feeling trapped, frustrated or unhappy, you can do something about it. There is a way out.


"I'm finally laying everything out on the table, because I know there are people in the world who need to hear this. . I have nothing to apologize for, or to be ashamed of."

I deleted Tinder, took a break from men for a while, and did some pretty intense EMDR therapy to reprocess all the memories of what happened to me. Therapy can be scary. The prospect of looking your trauma right in the face, rolling up your sleeves and doing the work required to put it in its place is beyond intimidating. But I can say from personal experience that you'll come out on the other side feeling 1000 times better than you felt when you started.

I never went back to sleeping with random people. When I felt like I was ready to start dating again, I wrote in my new Tinder profile: "Do not message me if you are only looking for hook-ups." (More on how that turned out next week.)

Now, this is not to say that everyone with a lot of sexual partners has a mental health issue. My goal here is not to condemn promiscuity it's to recount how I went from handling my trauma in an unhealthy way to handling it in a healthy way. My problem was not just that I was sleeping around -- it was that I was sleeping around with people who I didn't even really want to sleep with.

During one of my sessions, my therapist told me this:

"Society has all kinds of value systems for determining when sex is okay and when it's not okay. But the only one that really matters is the unity of mind, heart and body."


"Society has all kinds of value systems for determining when sex is okay and when it's not okay. But the only one that really matters is the unity of mind, heart and body."

I have never heard anything more true about sex in my entire life.

My mind, heart and body were not all on board with the people I was bringing home. That's where I went wrong. Part of my therapy was learning to trust myself to make good choices -- to listen to all parts of myself, and yield whenever one is saying no.

As I've talked about before, most of the information our culture feeds about sex is wrong. We're caught in tangle of mixed messages, wondering what the characteristics of healthy sexuality are -- having only one partner, having many, or having none? -- and trying to replicate those characteristics in order to feel "normal." But the key to healthy sexuality has nothing to do with social standards it's whatever your mind, your heart, and your body agree is right for you.

So if you are a sexual trauma survivor seeking to find a sense of normalcy in your sexuality, listen to all those parts of yourself. Recognize that sometimes they might say different things. Forgive yourself for not listening to all their voices in the past, and promise always to listen to them in the future.

And when the day comes that they are all saying the same thing--yes--that is when you will find the sense of empowerment, and healing, that you have been looking for.


Child Abuse

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse involves an adult engaging a child in sexually explicit conduct, including direct sexual contact, simulation of sexual contact, or visual representation of sexual contact. The acts of sexual abuse may include rape, molestation, prostitution, child pornography, incest, or other forms of exploitation of a child for the sexual gratification of an adult. Though there are varying legal definitions for child sexual abuse across cultures and jurisdictions, sexual abuse of a child can lead to trauma and stigma for a child and his or her family. Long-term health of a sexually abused child usually depends on the support of the family or community and protection from further harm.


5. Sexual Addiction

Pornography and “cybersex” are highly addictive and can lead to sexually compulsive behaviors (that decrease a person’s capacity to perform other major tasks in life). Over 90 percent of therapists surveyed in one study believed that a person could become addicted to “cybersex.” 30) In an American survey, 57 percent of frequent viewers used online sexual activity to deal with stress. 31) A 2006 Swedish study of regular Internet pornography users found that about six percent were compulsive users and that these compulsives also used much more non-Internet pornography as well. 32)

Addictive pornography use leads to lower self-esteem and a weakened ability to carry out a meaningful social and work life. A survey of pornography addicts found that they disliked the “out of control” feeling and the time consumption that their pornography use engendered. All of the sexual compulsives reported they had felt distressed and experienced impairment in an important aspect of their lives as a result of their addiction. Almost half of the sexual compulsives said their behavior had significant negative results in their social lives, and a quarter reported negative effects on their job. 33) In another survey, sexual compulsives and sexual addicts were 23 times more likely than those without a problem to state that discovering online sexual material was the worst thing that had ever happened in their life. 34) No wonder then that severe clinical depression was reported twice as frequently among Internet pornography users compared to non-users. 35)


Adverse Childhood Experiences Affect Adult Behaviors

Adverse childhood experiences negatively affect adult life, says a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). One in four young adults were severely maltreated during childhood and approximately half of adults in England have suffered an adverse experience during their childhood.

Roughly one in ten adults have experienced four or more adverse childhood experiences. There are many forms of childhood adversity, ranging from physical abuse to emotional neglect.

Around 50,500 children in the UK are thought to be at risk of abuse right now, says the National Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC). Almost one in five children aged 11-17 have been severely maltreated.

The most common recorded experiences are:

  • Sexual abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Emotional neglect
  • Physical abuse
  • Physical neglect
  • Substance abuse in home
  • Mental illness in home
  • Incarceration of family member
  • Parental separation or divorce
  • Witnessing violence against their mother

Adverse experiences are proven to affect behavior in adult life and increase the risk of physical and mental health problems. The larger numbers of detrimental childhood experiences correlate with a higher risk of health issues.

Adults who suffered child abuse visit the doctor more often, have surgery more often, and have more chronic health conditions than those who did not experience childhood trauma.

Traumatic events can not only alter the immune system, but can affect quality of sleep, lower the pain threshold, and result in negative adult behaviors.

Research shows that individuals with four or more of the 10 adverse childhood experiences are:

  • Two times more likely to smoke cigarettes
  • Four times more likely to engage in drug abuse
  • Seven times more likely to suffer from chronic alcoholism
  • Eleven times more likely to abuse drugs via injection
  • Nineteen times more likely to attempt suicide

Sufferers often hide childhood adversities because of elapsed time, shame, secrecy and social taboos against discussing these topics. More than one in five children, aged 11-17, who were physically hurt by a parent or guardian did not tell anyone else about it. More than one in three children who experienced sexual abuse by an adult kept it a secret, and that figure rose to four out of five when sexual abuse was from a peer.

The reality of childhood abuse is a challenging one. Though the most severe forms of physical abuse, such as homicide and deaths by assault, have been steadily falling, online abuse continues to grow. A UK research paper from the London School of Economics reports that 13 percent of UK 9- to 16-year-olds said they had been bothered or upset by something online in the past year.

However, there is also an increased willingness to speak out about abuse and neglect. The number of people contacting the NSPCC helpline increased by 15 percent in 2012/13 compared with the previous year.

Figures show that improving the lives of children who have been affected by adverse experiences in England can have positive impacts. Helping those affected at a young age can help reduce drug use and violence by 50 percent, reduce teenage pregnancies by 33 percent and cut binge drinking and smoking by 15 percent each.

Research concludes that stable and secure childhoods are critical to ensuring negative and health-harming behaviors do not occur in adult life. Creating safe, positive environments for children is essential. We all have a responsibility to ensure the protection of children both inside and outside of the home.


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