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  • Professor Paul Bloom: Okay.

  • The last class we talked about the brain.

  • Now we're going to talk a little bit about some

  • foundations. So today and Monday we're going

  • to talk about two very big ideas and these ideas are associated

  • with Sigmund Freud and B. F.

  • Skinner and are psychoanalysis and behaviorism.

  • And I want to talk about psychoanalysis today and

  • behaviorism next week. Now, one of these things--One

  • of the things that makes these theories so interesting is their

  • scope. Most of the work we're going to

  • talk about in this class--Most of the ideas are narrow.

  • So, we're going to talk about somebody's idea about racial

  • prejudice but that's not a theory of language acquisition.

  • We'll talk about theories of schizophrenia but they're not

  • explanations of sexual attractiveness.

  • Most theories are specialized theories but these two views are

  • grand theories. They're theories of everything,

  • encompassing just about everything that matters,

  • day-to-day life, child development,

  • mental illness, religion, war,

  • love. Freud and Skinner had

  • explanations of all of these. Now, this is not a history

  • course. I have zero interest in

  • describing historical figures in psychology just for the sake of

  • telling you about the history of the field.

  • What I want to tell you about though is--I want to talk about

  • these ideas because so much rests on them and,

  • even more importantly, a lot of these ideas have

  • critical influence on how we think about the present.

  • And that's there. Now, for better or worse,

  • we live in a world profoundly affected by Sigmund Freud.

  • If I had to ask you to choose a--no, name a famous

  • psychologist, the answer of most of you would

  • be Freud. He's the most famous

  • psychologist ever and he's had a profound influence on the

  • twentieth and twenty-first century.

  • Some biographical information: He was born in the 1850s.

  • He spent most of his life in Vienna, Austria,

  • but he died in London and he escaped to London soon after

  • retreating there at the beginning of World War II as the

  • Nazis began to occupy where he lived.

  • He's one of the most famous scholars ever but he's not known

  • for any single discovery. Instead, he's known for the

  • development of an encompassing theory of mind,

  • one that he developed over the span of many decades.

  • He was in his time extremely well known, a celebrity

  • recognized on the street, and throughout his life.

  • He was a man of extraordinary energy and productivity,

  • in part because he was a very serious cocaine addict,

  • but also just in general. He was just a high-energy sort

  • of person. He was up for the Nobel Prize

  • in medicine and in literature; didn't get either one of them;

  • didn't get the prize in medicine because Albert

  • Einstein--Everybody loves Albert Einstein.

  • Well, Albert Einstein really wrote a letter because they

  • asked for opinions of other Nobel Prizes.

  • He wrote a letter saying, "Don't give the prize to Freud.

  • He doesn't deserve a Nobel Prize.

  • He's just a psychologist." Well, yeah.

  • Okay. While he's almost universally

  • acclaimed as a profoundly important intellectual figure,

  • he's also the object of considerable dislike.

  • This is in part because of his character.

  • He was not a very nice man in many ways.

  • He was deeply ambitious to the cause of promoting

  • psychoanalysis, to the cause of presenting his

  • view and defending it, and he was often dishonest,

  • extremely brutal to his friends, and terrible to his

  • enemies. He was an interesting character.

  • My favorite Freud story was as he was leaving Europe during the

  • rise of the Nazis, as he was ready to go to

  • England from, I think, either Germany or

  • Austria, he had to sign a letter from the Gestapo.

  • Gestapo agents intercepted him and demanded he sign a letter

  • saying that at no point had he been threatened or harassed by

  • the Gestapo. So he signs the letter and then

  • he writes underneath it, "The Gestapo has not harmed me

  • in any way. In fact, I highly recommend the

  • Gestapo to everybody." It's--He had a certain

  • aggression to him. He was also--He's also

  • disliked, often hated, because of his views.

  • He was seen as a sexual renegade out to destroy the

  • conception of people as good and rational and pure beings.

  • And when the Nazis rose to power in the 1930s he was

  • identified as a Jew who was devoted to destroying the most

  • sacred notions of Christianity and to many,

  • to some extent, many people see him this way.

  • And to some extent, this accusation has some truth

  • to it. Freud made claims about people

  • that many of us, maybe most of us,

  • would rather not know. Well, okay.

  • What did he say? Well, if you ask somebody who

  • doesn't like Freud what he said, they'll describe some of the

  • stupider things he said and, in fact, Freud said a lot of

  • things, some of which were not very rational.

  • For instance, he's well known for his account

  • of phallic symbols, arguing certain architectural

  • monuments are subconsciously developed as penile

  • representations. And related to this,

  • he developed the notorious theory of penis envy.

  • And penis envy is an account of a developmental state that every

  • one of you who is female has gone through,

  • according to Freud. And the idea is that you

  • discovered at some point in your development that you lacked a

  • penis. This is not--This is a

  • catastrophe. And so, each of you inferred at

  • that point that you had been castrated.

  • You had once had a penis but somebody had taken it from you.

  • You then turn to your father and love your father because

  • your father has a penis, so he's a sort of penis

  • substitute. You reject your mother,

  • who's equally unworthy due to her penis lack,

  • and that shapes your psychosexual development.

  • Now, if that's the sort of thing you know about Freud,

  • you are not going to have a very high opinion of him or of

  • his work, but at the core of Freud's

  • declamation, the more interesting ideas,

  • is a set of claims of a man's intellectual importance.

  • And the two main ones are this. The two main ones involve the

  • existence of an unconscious, unconscious motivation,

  • and the notion of unconscious dynamics or unconscious conflict

  • which lead to mental illnesses, dreams, slips of the tongue and

  • so on. The first ideathe idea of

  • unconscious motivationinvolves rejecting the claim

  • that you know what you're doing. So, suppose you fall in love

  • with somebody and you decide you want to marry them and then

  • somebody was asked to ask you why and you'd say something

  • like, "Well, I'm ready to get married

  • this stage of my life; I really love the person;

  • the person is smart and attractive;

  • I want to have kids" whatever. And maybe this is true.

  • But a Freudian might say that even if this is your honest

  • answeryou're not lying to anybody elsestill,

  • there are desires and motivations that govern your

  • behavior that you may not be aware of.

  • So, in fact, you might want to marry John

  • because he reminds you of your father or because you want to

  • get back at somebody for betraying you.

  • If somebody was to tell you this, you'd say,

  • "That's total nonsense," but that wouldn't deter a Freudian.

  • The Freudian would say that these processes are unconscious

  • so of course you just don't know what's happening.

  • So, the radical idea here is you might not know what--why you

  • do what you do and this is something we accept for things

  • like visual perception. We accept that you look around

  • the world and you get sensations and you figure out there is a

  • car, there is a tree, there is a person.

  • And you're just unconscious of how this happens but it's

  • unpleasant and kind of frightening that this could

  • happen, that this could apply to things

  • like why you're now studying at Yale, why you feel the way you

  • do towards your friends, towards your family.

  • Now, the marriage case is extreme but Freud gives a lot of

  • simpler examples where this sort of unconscious motivation might

  • play a role. So, have you ever liked

  • somebody or disliked them and not known why?

  • Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you're doing

  • something or you're arguing for something or making a decision

  • for reasons that you can't fully articulate?

  • Have you ever forgotten somebody's name at exactly the

  • wrong time? Have you ever called out the

  • wrong name in the throes of passion?

  • This is all the Freudian unconscious.

  • The idea is that we do these things--these things are

  • explained in terms of cognitive systems that we're not aware of.

  • Now, all of this would be fine if your unconscious was a

  • reasonable, rational computer, if your unconscious was really

  • smart and looking out for your best interest.

  • But, according to Freud, that's not the way it works.

  • According to Freud, there are three distinct

  • processes going on in your head and these are in violent

  • internal conflict. And the way you act and the way

  • you think are products, not of a singular rational

  • being, but of a set of conflicting creatures.

  • And these three parts are the id, the ego, and the superego

  • and they emerge developmentally. The id, according to Freud,

  • is present at birth. It's the animal part of the

  • self. It wants to eat,

  • drink, pee, poop, get warm, and have sexual

  • satisfaction. It is outrageously stupid.

  • It works on what Freud called, "The Pleasure Principle."

  • It wants pleasure and it wants it now.

  • And that's, according to Freud, how a human beginspure id.

  • Freud had this wonderful phrase, "polymorphous

  • perversity," this pure desire for pleasure.

  • Now, unfortunately, life doesn't work like that.

  • What you want isn't always what you get and this leads to a set

  • of reactions to cope with the fact that pleasure isn't always

  • there when you want it either by planning how to satisfy your

  • desires or planning how to suppress them.

  • And this system is known as the ego, or the self.

  • And it works on the "Reality Principle."

  • And it works on the principle of trying to figure out how to

  • make your way through the world, how to satisfy your pleasures

  • or, in some cases, how to give up on them.

  • And the egothe emergence of the ego for Freud--symbolizes

  • the origin of consciousness. Finally, if this was all there

  • it might be a simpler world, but Freud had a third

  • component, that of the superego. And the superego is the

  • internalized rules of parents in society.

  • So, what happens in the course of development is,

  • you're just trying to make your way through the world and

  • satisfy your desires, but sometimes you're punished

  • for them. Some desires are inappropriate,

  • some actions are wrong, and you're punished for it.

  • The idea is that you come out; you get in your head a

  • superego, a conscience. In these movies,

  • there'd be a little angel above your head that tells you when

  • things are wrong. And basically your self,

  • the ego, is in between the id and the superego.

  • One thing to realize, I told you the id is

  • outrageously stupid. It just says,

  • "Oh, hungry, food, sex, oh,

  • let's get warm, oh."

  • The superego is also stupid. The superego,

  • point to point, is not some brilliant moral

  • philosopher telling you about right and wrong.

  • The superego would say, "You should be ashamed of

  • yourself. That's disgusting.

  • Stop doing that. Oh."

  • And in between these two screaming creatures,

  • one of you; one of them telling you to seek

  • out your desires, the other one telling you,

  • "you should be ashamed of yourself," is you,

  • is the ego. Now, according to Freud,

  • most of this is unconscious. So, we see bubbling up to the

  • top, we feel, we experience ourselves.

  • And the driving of the id, the forces of the id and the

  • forces of the superego, are unconscious in that we

  • cannot access them. We don't know what--It's like

  • the workings of our kidneys or our stomachs.

  • You can't introspect and find them.

  • Rather, they do their work without conscious knowledge.

  • Now, Freud developed this. This is the Freudian theory in

  • broad outline. He extended it and developed it

  • into a theory of psychosexual development.

  • And so, Freud's theory is, as I said before,

  • a theory of everyday life, of decisions,

  • of errors, of falling in love, but it's also a theory of child

  • development. So, Freud believed there were

  • five stages of personality development, and each is

  • associated with a particular erogenous zone.

  • And Freud believed, as well, that if you have a

  • problem at a certain stage, if something goes wrong,

  • you'll be stuck there. So, according to Freud,

  • there are people in this room who are what they are because

  • they got stuck in the oral stage or the anal stage.