General Psychology 11:00 TTh Spring 2011

Jessica Gittinger


Sigmund Freud was born on May 6, 1856 in Freiberg, Moravia which is now Czech Republic. Freud’s father was married three times and widowed twice. His father Jacob Freud, at the age of 39, married Sigmund’s mother, Amalia Nathanson, who was 19 years of age. Freud’s two step-brothers from his fathers first marriage was around the same age as his mother, therefore his oldest stepbrothers son was Freud’s first playmate as a child. Although there was seven younger children born, Sigmund remained his mother’s favorite. When Sigmund was four the family moved to Vienna. Freud’s early experiences in Vienna were very overwhelming due to the family being Jewish and the community being Catholic. He felt like an outsider. The standard for living was quite higher and educational opportunities were better in Vienna than the provinces. The area in which Sigmund’s family lived was called Leopoldstadt slum, which was rich in Jewish people. The housing there was cramped and they had to move quite often, once even with his fathers family. Freud went to a local elementary school and then attended the Sperl Gymnasium, a school that would prepare him for college from 1866 to 1873. Freud was a superior student and passed his final examination with flying colors, qualifying him for the University of Vienna at the age of seventeen. Even though housing was cramped, Sigmund’s parents recognized his scholarly achievement and Freud had his own room, while his siblings had to share a room. Sigmund lived with his parents until age 27, which was the custom at that time.

Freud received his doctor of medicine at the age of 24. He took seven years instead of the normal five acquiring his doctorate. Freud met Martha Bernays when he was 26 and were engaged two months later. They were separated during the most of the four years which preceded their marriage. Sigmund and Martha married in 1887. They had six children. One in particular, Anna, would become one of his most famous followers. Freud spent three years as a resident physician in the famous Allgemeine Krankenhaus, a general hospital and the medical center of Vienna. He spent five months in the psychiatry department. During the last part of Freud’s residency, he received money to pursue his neurological studies. Sigmund spent four months at the Salpêtrière clinic in Paris, France, under a neurologist named Jean Martin Charcot . This would interest Freud in hysteria.

Freud moved back to Vienna and started his own private practice in neurology. He devoted his efforts towards treating patients with hysteria by means of hypnosis. Joseph Breuer introduced Freud to a patient with hysteria, which became a well known case known as Anna O. Freud 39, introduced the term “psychoanalysis” and his work was well underway. At about this time Freud began a unique project, his own self-analysis, which he pursued primarily by analyzing his dreams. A major scientific result was The Interpretation of Dreams (1901). Freud had developed his therapeutic technique, dropping the use of hypnosis and shifting to the more effective and more widely applicable method of "free association." In 1923 Freud developed a cancerous growth in his mouth, which eventually led to his death sixteen years and thirty-three operations later. In spite of this, these were years of great scientific productivity. He published findings on the importance of aggressive as well as sexual drives ( Beyond the Pleasure Principle, 1920); developed a new theoretical framework in order to organize his new data concerning the structure of the mind ( The Ego and the Id, 1923); and revised his theory of anxiety to show it as the signal of danger coming from unconscious fantasies, rather than the result of repressed sexual feelings ( Inhibitions, Symptoms and Anxiety, 1926). Freud spent his last year in London, England, undergoing surgery. He died on September 23, 1939. The influence of his discoveries on the science and culture of the twentieth century is limitless.


Sigmund Freud
By: Mitchell Ackerman

Freud%28M%29.gif Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, was born on May 6, 1958 in Freiberg, Moravia. When he was four or five years old his family moved to Vienna, where he lived most of his life. Sigmund was a very smart child always at the head of his class. He attended medical school, where he began his research mainly focusing on neurophysiology.
Freud is said to have made the idea of the conscious vs. unconscious mind popular. The conscious mind is what a person is aware of at any time: your present perceptions, memories, thoughts, fantasies, and feelings. The largest part according to Sigmund is the unconscious. It includes all the things that are not easily available to awareness, including many things that have their origins there, such as our drives and instincts, and things that are put there because we don’t like to look at them, such as memories and emotions associated with trauma. Freud said that the unconscious is the source of our motivations, ranging from simple desires for food or sex, neurotic compulsions, or the motives of an artist.
According to Sigmund Freud's psychoanalytic theory of personality, personality is composed of three elements. These three elements of personality known as the id, the ego and the superego work together to create complex human behaviors. According to Freud, we are born with our Id. The id is a big part of our personality because as newborns, it allows us to meet our basic needs. Freud believed that the id is based on our pleasure principle. The id wants whatever feels good at the time, with no consideration for the reality of the situation. When a child is hungry, the id wants food, and therefore the child cries. When the child needs to be changed, the id cries. When the child is uncomfortable, in pain, too hot, too cold, or just wants attention, the id talks until his or her needs are met.

The id doesn't care about reality, about the needs of anyone else, only its own satisfaction. If you think about it, babies are not real considerate of their parents' wishes. They have no care for time, whether their parents are sleeping, relaxing, eating dinner, or bathing. When the id wants something, nothing else is important.

Within the next three years, as the child interacts more with the world, the second part of the personality begins to develop. Freud called this part the Ego. The ego understands that other people have needs and desires and that sometimes being impulsive or selfish can hurt us in the long run. It’s the ego's job to meet the needs of the id, while taking into consideration the reality of the situation.

By the age of five the Superego develops. The Superego is the moral part of us and develops due to the moral and ethical restraints placed on us by our caregivers. Many associate the superego with the conscience as it dictates our belief of right and wrong.

In a healthy person, according to Freud, the ego is the strongest so that it can satisfy the needs of the id, not upset the superego, and still take into consideration the reality of every situation. If the id gets too strong, impulses and self-gratification take over the person's life. If the superego becomes too strong, the person would be driven by rigid morals, would be judgmental and unbending in his or her interactions with the world.


Jean Piaget
By: Marty Wendel


Jean Piaget was born on August 9, 1896, in Neuchatel, Switzerland. He is the oldest child of Arthur Piaget and Rebecca Jackson. Piaget was a Swiss biologist, philosopher, and psychologist best known for his work in the area of developmental psychology. He died on September 17, 1980, in Geneva Switzerland and is still buried there today.

At age ten he had already published his first paper, and by age 22 he had received his Ph.D. in science from the University of Neuchatel. In 1925, Piaget, took the chair of philosophy at the University of Neuchatel; his duties where to teach psychology, philosophy, science, a philosophy seminar, and sociology. Also at this time, his first daughter was born. His second daughter was born in 1927 and a boy followed in 1931. With the birth of his children he started to spend considerable time, with the help of his wife, observing their reactions and subjecting them to various experiments. He looked at the genesis of intelligent conduct, ideas of objective constancy, and causality. He also noted symbolic behaviors such as imitation and play. The main benefit that he derived from these studies was that Piaget learned in the most direct way how intellectual operations are prepared by sensory-motor action, long before the appearance of language. With this knowledge he changed his method of study by modifying the direction of conversation to objects that the child could manipulate by themselves. He discovered that children up to the age of twelve did not believe in the constancy of material quantity, weight, and volume of a lump of modeling clay. He had also discovered from his own children that between the ages of six to ten months, they did not possess the notion of constancy and permanency of an object disappearing from view. He felt that there had to be successive stages in the development of ideas of constancy which could be studied in concrete situations rather than solely through language.

Piaget was originally trained in the areas of biology and philosophy. He considered himself a "genetic epistemologist" with his main interest being how one comes to know things. Piaget felt that the difference between humans and animals was the fact that humans are able to do reasoning through abstract symbolism. Piaget was interested in the thought processes that underlie reasoning and felt that younger children answered differently than their older peers due to the fact that the reasoned differently. From this, he observed children of various ages and development the Process of Cognitive Development which has two major aspects: the coming to know and the stages that we move through to acquire this ability.

The four stages of Piaget’s Cognitive Development consist of: the sensorimotor stage, the preoperational stage, the concrete operational stage, and the formal operational stage. The sensorimotor stage ranges from birth to nearly two years in which you experience the world through senses and actions (looking, hearing, touching, mouthing, and grasping). The preoperational stage ranges from age two to about six or seven years; this is when you represent things with words and images using intuitive rather than logical reasoning. The concrete operational stage ranges from age seven to eleven years and is when you start to think logically about concrete events; grasping concrete analogies and performing arithmetical operations. Finally, the formal operational stage ranges from twelve years through adulthood and is when you begin to reason abstractly.


B.F. Skinner
By Travis Line

Burrhus Fredric Skinner or more commonly called B.F. Skinner was one of the most influential American psychologists of all time. He was born on March 20th 1904 in a small town called Susquehanna located in Pennsylvania. His father was a lawyer and his mother was a housewife. He spent much of his childhood building things. For example he and a friend built a cabin in the woods.

After High School he decided to attend Hamilton College. He did not fit in very well there; he did not enjoy the fraternity parties or the football games. B.F. wrote for school paper, including articles critical of the school and the faculty. Upon graduation Skinner decided to become a writer. Moving back home he did not write much. His entire production from the period he called his "dark year." This year consisted of a dozen short newspaper articles and a few models of sailing ships. After this “dark year” Skinner decided to go to New York City for a few months. Working as a bookstore clerk, he started reading books by Pavlov and Watson. He was very impressed and excited about what they did and wanted to learn more.

So, at the age of 24 Skinner enrolled in the Psychology Department of Harvard University. Still rebellious and impatient with what some considered unintelligent ideas, Skinner found a person that was willing to mentor him. His name was William Crozier; he was the chair of a new department of Physiology.

During his time at Harvard he built new equipment and started doing one of his most famous experiments with rats. Skinner constructed apparatus after apparatus as his rats' behavior suggested changes. After a few changes to the apparatus and some lucky accidents Skinner invented the cumulative recorder. This is a mechanical device that recorded every response as an upward movement of a horizontally moving line. The slope showed rate of responding. Skinner discovered that the rate with which the rat pressed the bar depended not on any preceding stimulus (as Watson and Pavlov had insisted), but on what followed the bar presses. This was a new discovery. Unlike the reflexes that Pavlov had studied, this kind of behavior operated on the environment and was controlled by its effects. Skinner named it operant behavior.

In 1936, then 32 years old, Skinner married Yvonne Blue and the couple moved to Minnesota where Skinner had his first teaching job. In 1944 World War II was in full swing. Airplanes and bombs were common, but there were no missile guidance systems. Skinner was willing to do what he could to help and sought funding for a top secret project to train pigeons to guide bombs. He trained pigeons to keep pecking a target that would hold a missile onto a target. The Project Pigeon was discontinued but, the work was useful.
In 1945, Skinner and his family moved to Bloomington Indiana where he became Chair of the Psychology Department at Indiana University. Then in 1989 he was diagnosed with leukemia, but kept as active as he could. At the American Psychological Association, about 10 days before he died, he gave a talk before a crowded auditorium. He passed away August 18th 1990.


Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License