HENRY ALEXANDER MURRAY'S THEORY OF PERSONOLOGY
(Neo-Freudian Theorist)
Prepared by:
Aira Lorraine P. Fabellon, Mianne Airish C. Hernandez and Paul John P. Lanic
B.S. Psychology - University of Santo Tomas
(September 2011)




                   “For me, personality is [a] jungle without boundaries.”          -Henry Murray


INTRODUCTION
Trait Theories/Theorists
·         These are theories or theorists that reject or make way out of the conception that personality must be studied in accordance to the principles of Freudian Psychoanalysis


What are traits?
Ψ   Traits are behavior consistent over time.
Ψ They are theoretical components of an individual used to explain the person’s behavioral consistencies.



***Therefore, a trait theorist would not look into the ‘specifics’ of behavior; rather, a trait theorist would look into the collective disposition of the person

PERSONOLOGY
  • Essentially, it is the study of the person himself.
  • Henry Murray believed that no isolated piece of behavior could ever be understood without taking into account the fully functioning person.
  • Also, Murray believed that "Personology is simple in structure but complex in detail.”


A.     DIVISIONS OF PERSONOLOGY
The backbone or the foundation of Personology is similar to Freud’s contention of the “Provinces of the Mind”. However, Murray has a different interpretation for each province.

1.      ID
Ø  The repository of all innate impulsive tendencies.
Ø  Provides the energy and the direction of behavior.
Ø  For Freud, the Id contains primitive, amoral & lustful impulses.
Ø  For Murray, it contains socially acceptable impulses like empathy and love.
Ø  Since Murray learned from his psychoanalytic knowledge to Carl Jung, his view of the Id is almost similar to Jung’s Shadow Archetype [see 
Shadow Archetype].
Ø  The strength of Id impulse varies among individuals.

2.      SUPEREGO
Ø  Freud: The Superego stems out after the child identifies with his/her parent and acts as the parental voice.
Ø  Murray: It is the internalization of the culture’s values and norms by which we come to judge our behavior and that of others.
Ø  Freud: At the age of 5, the superego is crystallized.
Ø  Murray: Superego continuously develop throughout lifetime.
Ø  Freud: The superego is in constant conflict with Id.
Ø  Murray: Not in constant conflict because the Id contains not just bad impulses but also good ones.
Ø  Freud: Gives of guilt and feelings of inferiority when ego acts contrary to its demands or unable to meet its standards.
Ø  Murray: Superego thwarts socially unacceptable impulses thus it determines when, where and how acceptable ones are expressed and satisfied.

NOTE: While the superego is developing so is the ego-ideal. The ego-ideal represents what we can become at our best (IDEALIZED SELF IMAGE) and not what we can become if we do not meet superego’s standard.

3.      EGO
Ø  In Personology, the ego is the rational governor of personality.
Ø  The view of the ego in Personology opposes Freud’s contention that the ego is the slave of id, superego and the reality.
Ø  In Murray’s definition, the ego is the one that organizes behavior coming from the id impulse whether good or bad.
Ø  It is called as the arbiter of the two contenders, id and superego and may favor one over the other.
Ø  Also, the ego can integrate the two dimensions of personality so that what we want to do (Id impulse) is in harmony with what the society expects us to do (superego).

NOTE: A strong ego can mediate between the clashes of impulses between id and superego but conflicts in Murray’s system can arise when there is a presence of a weak ego.

B.     PROCESS
               I. Directionality
Ø  The study of man’s directional tendencies holds the key to understanding human behavior.
Ø  Has led to the most complex system of motivation

               II. Needs
Ø  Some state of affairs which, if presents, would improve the well being of an organism.
Ø  Are constructs, or inferred conditions, but they are considered to be real.
Ø  A need involves a physiochemical force in the brain that directs perceptual and intellectual abilities.
Ø  Internal

Ψ     
Types of Needs:
     1. Primary Needs (Viscerogenic Needs)
          §  Needs that arise from the internal body state
          §  Required for survival


     2. Secondary Needs (Psychogenic Needs)
          §  Needs that arise indirectly from the primary needs
          §  Has no specific origin in the body
          §  Concerned with emotional satisfaction


     3. 
Reactive Needs
          §  Involves a response to something that is specific in the environment.
          §  Are only aroused when the object appears.
     
     4. Proactive Needs
          §  Do not depend on the presence of an object
          §  These are needs that when aroused, do not depend on the environment.


     5. Overt Needs
          §  Needs that express themselves in motor behavior.


     6. Covert Needs
          §  Usually belonged to the world of fantasy and dreams.
NOTE: Murray developed a list of 12 primary needs and 28 secondary needs.

                            
Characteristics of a Need
o   
Prepotency
§  More important needs are to be satisfied first before other needs can operate.
Ex:
need to study  → need to eat (oftentimes, physiological needs are needed to be satisfied first)
need to play     → need of air/oxygen

o   
Subsidiation
§  Process wherein one need operates in the service of another.
Ex:
Subsidiary                  Subsidiary need
n. Affiliation       →        n. Achievement
n. Rejection        →        n. Harmavoidance

o   
Need Interaction
§  Needs do not operate in complete isolation from one another
§  Only two positive needs that interact can form a good/positive goal.
§  One negative in interacting needs make the goal bad or socially unaccepted.
Ex.
need to eat (+) + need to drink (+) = socially accepted
need to pass (+) + need to cheat (-) = socially unaccepted

               III. Press
Ø  Aspects of the environment that are effective determinants of behavior.
Ø  can be termed as “pressure”.
Ø  external
Ø  press are governed by the pressure of reality


Ψ     
Two Kinds of Press
          o   
Alpha Press
     §  Press governed by reality or external factor in behavior.


          o   
Beta Press
     §  A kind of press that is dependent to the individual.


Example 1. (A 30 year-old woman is not yet married.)
Alpha press: Her relatives say the she should marry soon.
Beta press: “They’re mocking me for being single! I’m not born to be one. They’ll see. I’ll marry a perfect man.”


Example 2. (A man has just become a father.)
Alpha Press: He needed to look for a job to sustain his family’s needs.
Beta Press: “My son must be proud for me in the future. I must become a president of one company.”

               IV. Press-Need Pattern (Tension-reduction)
Ø  Need and Press are the behavioral units of personality (actones).
Ø  Produces tension (energy) to create an action.
Ø  The interaction between a press and a need produces an OPTIONAL BEHAVIOR.

Case 1:  A young adult experiences a press of poverty.
                                                                                                      → Find a job. (Optional behavior)
PRESS OF POVERTY → NEED OF FINANCIAL SECURITY → Beg for alms. (Optional behavior)
                                                                                                      → Rob a bank. (Optional behavior)

Case 2 (with alpha and beta press):
A professor announces a hard examination.

PRESS OF EXAMINATION → NEED TO STUDY(produced from the Alpha Stress) → Study hard OR  .                                                                                                                                                     Make Reviewers
                                               → LITTLE NEED TO STUDY(produced from the Beta Stress)→ Play OR
                                                                                                                                                           Don't study

               V. Vectors of Personology
Ø  Direction of the behavior
Ø  The direction of the behavior will be dependent on the life themas.
Ex. When there is a press of failure, then a person might react in two ways,



               VI. Thema
Ø  the combination of the need and the press or the total picture of the person’s functioning.
Ø  is the core of personality in personology.
Ø  Life themas are certain values which form a kind of “supercontrol” to the individual.

C.     GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT
Murray divided childhood into five (5) stages. Each stage leaves its mark on our personality in the form of an unconscious “COMPLEX” that directs our later development.


NOTE: A 
Complex: A normal pattern of childhood development that influences the adult personality and is completely unconscious. It only becomes abnormal when they are manifested in an extreme manner or when a person becomes fixated at that stage.

1.      The Claustral Stage
•      The fetus in the womb is secure, serene and dependent, conditions we may all occasionally wish to reinstate.
•      Residuals of the uterine or prenatal experience of the individual.
     a.      Simple Claustral Complex
          ü  Desires to be in a small, warm, dark place that is safe and secluded.
          ü  Tends to be dependent on others, passive and oriented toward safe, familiar behaviors that worked in the past.
          ü  Need for passivity, harmavoidance, seclusion and succorance.
     b.      Insupport Claustral Complex
          ü  Centers on feelings of insecurity and helplessness
          ü  Fears open spaces, falling, drowning, fires, earthquakes or any situation involving novelty and change.
     c.       Egression or Anti-Claustral Complex
          ü  Based on a need to escape from restraining womblike conditions.
          ü   Includes fear of suffocation and confinement
          ü   Manifests itself in a preference for open spaces, fresh air, travel, movement, change and novelty.
          ü   Strong need for autonomy

2.      The Oral Stage
•      Represent derivatives of early feeding experiences.
     a.      Oral Succorance Complex
          ü  Features a combination of mouth activities, passive tendencies, and the need to be supported and protected.
          ü   Behavioral manifestations include sucking, kissing, compulsive eating, drinking, and a hunger for affection, sympathy, protection, and love.
          ü   Need for passivity and succorance.
     b.      Oral Aggression Complex
          ü  Combines oral and aggressive behaviors, including biting, spitting, shouting, and verbal aggression such as sarcasm.
          ü   Strong aggressive needs and a need for harmavoidance.
     c.       Oral Rejection Complex
          ü  Includes vomiting, being picky about food, eating little, fearing oral  contamination (such as from kissing)
          ü   Desires seclusion, and avoiding dependence on others
          ü   Need for seclusion and autonomy

3.      The Anal Stage
•      Derived from events associated with the act of defecating and bowel training
•      There is a preoccupation with defecation, anal humor, and feces-like material such as dirt, mud, plaster, and clay.
     a.      Anal Rejection Complex
          ü  A person with this complex may be dirty and disorganized.
          ü   Need for autonomy and anal sexuality.
     b.      Anal Retention Complex
          ü  Manifested in accumulating, saving, and collecting things, and in cleanliness, neatness, and orderliness.
          ü   Need for autonomy and to retain possessions and a strong need for order and cleanliness.


4.      The Urethral Stage
•      Associated with excessive ambition, a distorted sense of self-esteem, exhibitionism, bedwetting, sexual cravings, and self-love.
*** The Urethral Stage is sometimes called as the stage of the 
Icarus Complex.

     Icarus Complex
          ü  Displays such qualities as a craving for immortality and strong narcissism.
          ü   Persons with this complex aim too high and their dreams are shattered by failure.


5.      The Genital or Castration Stage
Murray disagreed with Freud’s contention that fear of castration is the core of anxiety in adult males. He interpreted the 
castration complex in narrower and more literal fashion as a boy’s fantasy that his penis might be cut off. Murray believed such a fear grows out of childhood masturbation and the parental punishment that may have accompanied it.


D. PSYCHOPATHOLOGY
• needs in conflict produce tension
• a tension-free state is a source of distress.
• Prepotency – unsatisfied need such as pain, hunger, and thirst will become the greatest urgency. Thus, directs the whole of personality.
• Fixations in complexes are abnormal.


E. CHANGE (Thematic Apperception Test)
• The TAT consists of a set of ambiguous pictures depicting simple scenes.
• A projective and subjective test
•   Used for assessing unconscious thoughts, feelings, and fears.



F. CRITIQUE ON MURRAY'S THEORY OF PERSONOLOGY
  • Moderate generation of research
  • Low in generating falsifiable hypotheses
  • Low ability to organize knowledge
  • Moderate in guiding action
  • Low in internal consistency
  • Low in parsimony


G. CONCEPT OF HUMANITY
  • Free choice over determinism
  • Optimism over pessimism
  • Causality over Teleology
  • Proactive and Reactive
  • Situational and Constitutional
  • Uniqueness over Universality
 


Comments

MEER
02/08/2014 3:26am

very informative....NICE!

Reply



Leave a Reply