How to judge if someone is normal

How to judge if someone is normal - How can we judge if...

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How can we judge if someone is normal? The question of how to judge whether someone is normal is highly complex and up to the evaluator to some degree. Nevertheless, psychologists like Professor Steven Reiss have tried to identify the “Normal Personality Types” in the relatively recent publication The normal Personality . I will approach this question mainly by analyzing Steven Reiss’s work, my personal understanding of the theory and personal experiences. In the first part of my essay I will briefly cover abnormality, as defined by Sigmund Freud. This will make Steven Reiss’s model of a normal personality more comprehensible. Subsequently, the “Normal Personality Types” are discussed and a few examples are provided to eventually conclude how one can judge if a person is normal or not. Sigmund Freud suggested in terms of psychoanalytical theory that “Conflicts between the three facets of the personality, id, ego and superego, produce defense mechanisms and anxiety 1 ”, which might lead to abnormality. Freud argued that ordinary problems like “…divorce, unhappiness and work-life imbalance 2 ” are signs of mental illness. This concept is also known as “psychopathology of every day life 3 ”, due to the fact that abnormality is caused by “every day problems”. He further implied that these inner conflicts have to be acknowledged by the individual and consequently have to be encountered in order to achieve balance in the psych again. So in Freud’s view a normal person only seeks to reduce tension 4 . In other words, Freud considers a person that is balanced or stable to be normal. One of the first approaches to define normality was done by Maslow. He constructed a hierarchy of five basic needs: Self-actualization, esteem, love, safety and physiological needs, an individual has to satisfy 5 . Maslow argued that behavior that 1 Malim, Tony .  Introductory Psychology . New York: Palgrave MacMillan,  1998. p.765. Print. 2 Reiss, Steven.  The normal Personality . New York: Cambridge University  Press, 2008. p.3. Print. 3 Reiss, Steven.  The normal Personality . New York: Cambridge University  Press, 2008. p.3. Print. 4 Stephen, Strack.  Differentiating normal and abnormal personality . 2nd.  Springer Publishing Company, 2006. 27. Print. 5 Stephen, Strack.  Differentiating normal and abnormal personality . 2nd.  Springer Publishing Company, 2006. 27. Print.
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satisfies these basic needs can be considered to be normal behavior. However, in my opinion this theory misses the individuality of a person. Maslow simply assumes that love is more important than self actualization and less important than safety. But, is this really the case for everyone? In this concept there is no space for an individual to make a choice. Some people might regard self-actualization as more desirable than love. These individuals would be considered to behave abnormally. Professor Steven Reiss enhanced Maslow’s theory even further. He identified sixteen
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This note was uploaded on 04/07/2012 for the course PSYCH V89.9001 taught by Professor Chamorro-premuzic during the Fall '10 term at NYU.

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How to judge if someone is normal - How can we judge if...

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