Sunday, September 7, 2014

Guide Notes on Henry Murray: Theory of Personology

Essential Points About Henry Murray

Personality is located in the brain “No brain, No personality.”

From a Psychoanalytic Perspective Murray used the term personology to describe his study of human lives and individual differences in personality. He described a habit system as automatic, unconscious behaviors shaped by the id, ego, and superego. Murray emphasized positive instincts related to motivation and needs.

His theory of personality is based upon needs and motives that suggest our personalities are a reflection of behaviors controlled by needs. While some needs are temporary and changing, other needs are more deeply seated in our nature. According to Murray, these psychogenic needs function mostly on the unconscious level, but play a major role in our personality.

1) Murray was influenced by Freud's Psychoanalytic Theory although made his own distinction of  id and superego.

2) Importance of genetic and maturational factors in the stages of development of personality: a) childhood-adolescence-young adulthood, b) middle years, and c) senescence (final era).

3) Complex - effects of infantile experiences upon later behavior are clear and extensive. The five complexes are: a) claustral complexes, b) oral complex,  c) anal complex, d) urethral complex, e) genital or castration complex.

4) Need is a construct (a convenient or hypothetical concept) which stands free for a force. In the brain region, a force which organizes perception, apperception, intellection, conation and action in such a way as to transform in a certain direction existing, unsatisfying situation.

5) 5 different types of needs: a) Primary (viscerogenic needs) and Secondary Need (psychogenic needs),   b) Overt (motor) and Covert (fantasy/dreams) Needs, c) Focal and Diffuse Needs - anything related to the environmental objects - if it is unsuitable (fixation) - considered pathological, d) Proactive and Reactive Needs - from within - kinetic/response to environmental event e) Modal needs and effect needs - doing something with a certain degree of quality and excellence/lead to a desired state or end.

6) Press - environmental force that interacts with needs to determine behavior. Two kinds of press - alpha (objective) press and beta (perceived) press.

7) Thema - molar and interactive behavior unit - involves press and the need that is operating.

8) Strengths

  • promoted interest in psychoanalytic theory among academic psychologist
  • emphasized on the importance of the past and present context within which behavior takes place
  • intensive study of small numbers of normal people

9) Weaknesses

  • critics think his theory is borad
  • his skill at taxonomy creating fine distinctions and detailed classifications made his studies unecessarily complex
  • his writing and research not trendy at this current time

10) Trivia:

a) Had an affair (since he refused to leave wife Josephine Rantaul) with Christiana Morgan - co-author of TAT.

b) In 1943 Murray helped complete Analysis of the Personality of Adolph Hitler (predicted Hitler would
choose suicide if Germany is defeated and that Hitler had participated in a homosexual relationship).

c)Then 16-year-old Ted Kaczynski, participated in Murray's ethically questionable, CIA-sponsored MK ULTRA experiments in which twenty-two undergraduates were used as guinea pigs. Kaczynski who went on to become the Unabomber, a serial killer targeting academics and technologists.

d) Murray was a leading authority on the works of American author Herman Melville (Moby Dick) and
amassed  a collection of books, manuscripts and artifacts relating to Melville. At his death he was
preparing a book tentatively titled ''A Melville Mosaic: Morsels from the Unpublished Biography.''

Sources, References and Related Links:

Personality, D. Limpingco and G. Tria, 3e's_system_of_needs