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The Personality Puzzle 8th Edition

The Personality Puzzle (8th Edition)

Book Edition8th Edition
PublisherW. W. Norton

Chapter 10, End of Chapter, Think About It, Exercise 1

Page 391


The concepts from S.F.'s theory of psychoanalysis are seen in culture and in the daily conversation of people and their thought processes. Freudian concepts are being used when one tries to analyze the thoughts of other people. At times, individuals themselves also inculcate Freudian concepts. People use the concepts of defense mechanisms or the unconscious in their daily conversation without realizing that they are using the concepts from S.F.'s theory. The psychoanalytic concepts are also being used by laypeople to interpret the behavior of other people. Some instances of people using S.F.'s ideas while speaking about or with another person are as follows:

  • When someone says the name of a former lover while introducing their wife, people might suggest that the person unconsciously is still attached to the person and cannot get over the phase of the breakup. People use the main concept of psychoanalysis, which involves the unconscious while interpreting the behavior of another person.
  • When a parent hits their child after coming back from the office, people might say that the person is displacing the frustration of the boss on the child. This suggests the use of defense mechanism displacement.

A woman XYZ talks to a colleague about their feelings of indifference for a particular man. The woman claims to have never given a chance to that man to captivate and for acquaintance. The woman erroneously used the word captivate instead of cultivate. The colleague interprets this as an unconscious desire of the woman to gain interest or be in a romantic relationship with the man. This instance can be understood through the concept of parapraxes, where the unconscious desire of the woman is displayed through mistakes in speech or slip of tongue. The woman who did not find the man attractive earlier might experience a desire to develop a relationship with the same man.

Sample Response

S.F. gave the three levels of consciousness, which are conscious, pre-conscious, and unconscious. The consciousness involves knowledge of things at present. Pre-conscious involves memory of an event that is not in the awareness at the current moment but which can be easily brought back to the memory. The unconscious involves knowledge that is not in the awareness and cannot be easily brought back to the memory. It consists of the repressed thoughts or urges of a person. Defense mechanisms are mechanisms used by the ego to protect an individual from uneasiness caused by a conflict between the id, ego, and superego. When a person transfers an impulse from a risky target to a safe one, they use displacement as one of their defense mechanisms. For instance, a boy kicks a toy when their parents are angry with them. 


In reference to the unconscious mind, S.F. described parapraxes. Parapraxes refer to the seeping of unconscious knowledge into consciousness, which might emerge as a blunder, memory loss, accident, or omission. S.F. was a firm believer in the existence of a cause for every action. 

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