This week in my Media Theory class we will discuss the psychoanalytic theory. Students will be writing about their favorite horror films. We will be covering Freud’s philosophy of one’s identity, ego, and superego. Students are also starting their midterm essay based on what they have learned about media and communication research methods so far this semester based on Chapters 1 through 7.
Chapter 6 Focus Questions:
Psychoanalytic theory tells us about the human psyche is divided into 3 spheres – the conscious, the unconscious, and the preconscious. See Psychotherapy – Sigmund Freud Video.
What did Freud write about the unconscious? How is the psyche like an iceberg? 1. The conscious part is like the tip of the iceberg that we can see. 2. The preconscious part is light below the surface that we can see partially. 3. The unconscious part is way below the surface that we cannot see.
What are the four stages we go through in our sexual development? Freud used the term Libido for by which the sexual instinct is represented in the mind. Oral Phase – Baby stage, rely on our parents for everything like food. Anal Phase – Toddler or potty-training stage, around the early age of the terrible 2’s by often testing the limits. Phallic Phase – Young child to the age of 6, sexual impulse Oedipus Complex – love one parent & hate the other, causes feelings of jealously or anger, shame & guilt. Genital Phase – Puberty Teenage Stage – can cause issues with loyalty, love, distance, and making relationships as a young adult. Can cause anxiety, worry, or depression internally or towards others.
See Pleasure principle vs. Reality principle Video.
Pleasure principle – (ID) In Freud’s psychoanalytic theory of personality, the pleasure principle is the driving force of the id that seeks immediate gratification of all needs, wants, and urges. In other words, the pleasure principle strives to fulfill our most basic and primitive urges, including hunger, thirst, anger, and sex. Reality principle – (EGO) in classical psychoanalytic theory, the regulatory mechanism represents the demands of the external world and requires the individual to forgo or modify instinctual gratification or to postpone it to a more appropriate time. Both the reality principle and pleasure principle pursue personal gratification, but the crucial difference between the two is that the reality principle is more focused on the long-term and is more goal-oriented while the pleasure principle disregards everything except for the immediate fulfillment of its desires.
What is the Oedipus complex? How does it shape texts such as King Kong and Bond novels? The Oedipus Complex – was Freud’s notion that we all experience, when we are young children around the age of 3 Oedipal strivings.
We all desire to have the undivided attention and love of our parent of the opposite sex. This resembles the myth of Oedipus, the Greek hero who unwittingly killed his father and married his mother. Some people overcome this complex so as not to cause trouble, but others do not. It is built upon fantasy and dream fulfillment as we go grow from infancy to a young adult. Freud believed that there is a battle within us in our unconscious as to be a hero or a villain. We all want to be the hero, as we desire to have the ultimate power to control the world.
Define the Id, Ego, and Superego? Id – is the element of the psyche representative of a person’s drives. Freud called chaos, a cauldron of seething excitement. It is also the source of energy, but lacking direction, it needs the ego to harness it and control it. It is connected with impulse, lust and I want it all now kind of behavior. Ego – the ego functions as the executant of the ide and as the mediator between the id and the superego. The ego is involved with the perception of reality and the adaptation to reality. Superego – is the agency in or psyches related to conscience and morality. It is involved with the processes such as approval and disapproval of wishes on the basis of whether they are moral or not, critical self-observation, a sense of guilt over wrongdoing. The functions of the superego are largely unconscious and are opposed to id, elements in our psyches. Mediating between the two, trying to balance them is the ego. See Id, Ego, & Superego Video.
How is the id, ego, and superego typology applied to media and society? The typology can be applied to media and society as we can find characters that tend to be like either the id, the ego, or the superego. The same can apply to books, magazines, films, television shows, cities, heroes (fictional), and heroines (fictional). See Example on Pages 168-169.
What does the most important defense mechanisms? The ego uses a number of defense mechanisms to help people ward off anxieties and maintain psychological equilibrium. Defense mechanisms include the following: Ambivalence, Avoidance, Denial, Fixation, Identification, Projection, Rationalization, Reaction formation, Regression, Repression, Sublimation, Suppression, & Undoing. See Defense Mechanisms Video.
What does psychoanalyst Martin Grotjahn say about horror films and mysteries? Grotjahn states that horror films relate to both our conscious and unconscious because we fear scary ghosts as a child, and as adults, we get a thrill out of watching danger without having to experience it, Television is a symbol and a form of escapism and fantasy for us. Television has become a new field of communication and expression. Horror movies bring out our defense mechanisms like repression and projection, that we obtain pleasure from regressing to another time and place in our minds when life was simpler and uncomplicated. Check out his artwork and his book Beyond Laughter via Google.
What did Freud say about masculine and feminine symbols? A symbol is anything that can be used to stand for something else. Symbols enable us to mask or disguise unconscious aggressive or sexual desires and thus avoid the feeling of guilt that would be generated by the superego if it recognized what we were doing. Freud explains that in our dreams the id uses symbols to trick the superego and obtain the desired gratification. Both men’s and women’s organs can be symbols to represent other objects in life.
What was said about addiction to smartphones? Smartphones can be both positive and negative addicting. The smartphone is a symbol of connection and security that some people become obsessed with it. We have the natural desire to connect with others. Cellphones help to battle loneliness, isolation, and alienation, so we have become dependent on these devices.
How are the theories of Erik Erikson applied to smartphone use? Erikson’s perspective, we all must deal with developmental crises at different stages in our lives. The countless text messages young people send one another have a deeper and more significant meaning than we might imagine, for they are attempts at self-definition, among other things. He states today’s youth are looking for their identity and fall into temporarily over-identify trying to fit in or be accepted by their peers. See chart on page 175. See Erikson’s stages of psychological development Video.
What did Jung and Jungains say about archetypes, the collective unconscious, and the myth of the hero? According to Jung, archetypes are images found in dreams, myths, works of art, and religions all over the world. They are not transmitted by culture but are passed on, somehow, genetically, in a collective unconscious. We are not conscious of them directly, but they reveal themselves in our dreams and works of art. One of the most important archetypes is the hero. See Carl Jung Video.
What was said about the anima and animus?The anima represents the female element found in all males. The animus represents the male element found in all females. Meaning the duality of symbolization of hermaphrodites people with sexual organs from both sexes and in witches, priestesses, medicine men, and shamans. It can affect our personality, the arts, and related phenomena. Both help to find the right partner, to form our inner values, other influence us both positively and negatively, we realize our inner strength as we learn to relate to one another.
What did Jung write about the Shadow element in the psyche? The Shadow represents the dark side of the psyche, which we attempt to keep hidden. It contains repressed and unfavorable aspects of our personalities as well as normal instincts and creative impulses. Thus, in all people, there is a continual battle between shadow aspects of our personalities and our egos, which also contain some negative features.