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A Case of Homosexuality in a Woman - Paper

by: Teddy Larkin

A Case of Homosexuality in a Woman - Paper HPS 0623

Marketplace > University of Pittsburgh > HPS 0623 > A Case of Homosexuality in a Woman Paper
Teddy Larkin

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Explanations of Humans and Society
Dr. Peter Machamer
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Date Created: 08/31/16
Teddy Larkin Explanations of Humans and Society Professor Machamer 5/28/16 In Freud’s “The Psychogenesis of a Case of Homosexuality in a Woman” he  analyzes a “beautiful and clever girl of eighteen, belonging to a family of good standing”. Although he states that Psychoanalysis is not truly a tool for curing homosexuality, but  one to help those with inner conflict in one particular area or another, he attempts to  study the girl to see if Psychoanalysis could be of any help to her. Her father hoped that  psychoanalysis would cure her lesbianism, but in Freud's view, the prognosis was  unfavorable because of the circumstances under which the woman entered therapy, and  because the homosexuality was not an illness or neurotic conflict. Once he realized that  the girl had a deep­rooted indignation towards men, he terminated his study and told her  parents that if they were to seek more psychoanalysis for her then it should be sought  from a woman. Prior to this discovery he found a few things of interest that may have  attributed to her choice of sexual object. One of the first things Freud thought about was  whether the patient was a homosexual from birth or whether she changed her object  choice later in life.   At the time it was thought that homosexuals had characteristics of the opposite  sex. Though there was a few of these found in the girl, they were not strong enough to  count for much. She was tall like her father and her features were sharper rather than soft  and feminine, but she was still a beautiful and well­developed girl. However, the girl  preferred to think of herself as the lover, not the beloved. Simply being allowed to  accompany the lady and to kiss her on the hand when they parted made her happy. She  loved hearing the lady get complemented on her beauty, but didn’t care at all when she  herself was complimented in that way. Freud compared her actions to those of “the first  passionate adoration of a youth for a celebrated actress whom he regards as far above  him”(23). Freud decides that this particular patient was not a homosexual at birth, but  was rather a “case of late acquired inversion”(28). Three years after writing this case study, Freud publishes his “The Ego and the  Id” in which he explains that the superego comes into being when we resolve the Oedipus complex, where our most basic human need, love, causes us to desire our opposite­sex  parent and feel antagonistic to, even unconsciously murderous of, the same­sex parent we identify with. The Oedipus complex ends when we choose the path of further  identification with the same­sex parent. Further, his apparent reason for homosexuality is  that in the superego's transformation of the object, the aggression towards someone  exactly like yourself is replaced an identification which, in turn, so fully replicates the  original desire for the significant powerful figure that identification is transformed into  affection. Freud explains the female Oedipus complex as when the girl desires the father  and resents the mother. Penis Envy is strong, as the girl wishes to desire this appendage.  Penis Envy is seen as girls acting as a “Tom boy”, and in adulthood, the healthy result of  penis envy is the desire to give birth to a baby boy. In the resolution of this crisis, the girl  will give up the idea of sexually possessing their father and again identify with their  mother. Though Freud had issues with women which shaped his views on cases such as  this one somewhat differently, he remained rather objective throughout. His reasoning  behind the events that brought the girl to him made sound, logical sense. Of course this is only after one peels away the layers of the circumstances of that time period. Many of the things people reject today about Freud were just how people thought back then. While  now we usually reject the idea of physical differences between gay and straight people’s  bodies, in Freud’s time it was thought of as fact. Men and women were viewed  differently then, and though Freud seemed to want to not be horribly sexist, many of the  views he had ended up being sexist by modern standards. Perhaps it was not that he  didn’t believe what he was saying, it was that even the father of psychoanalysis couldn’t  escape the prevailing thoughts and norms held by his society. Freud wrote that changing homosexuality was difficult and therefore possible  only under unusually favorable conditions. Freud states "in general to undertake to  convert a fully developed homosexual into a heterosexual does not offer much more  prospect of success than the reverse"(9). Success meant making heterosexual feeling  possible rather than eliminating homosexual feelings. In this case study presented by  Freud, it is possible to see how focusing on family dynamics, Oedipal structures and  patterns of identification set the stage for the new notion of the ego and id to emerge in  his later books/studies. HPS 0623 Explanations of Humans and Society Final Take­Home Exam **Exams are due in 1017 CL no later than 12:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 25, 2016 Hand in your exam to the department secretary.** Instructions (1) Remember to write your name on the front of your exam. (2) Do not use any secondary literature to complete this exam. (3) Do not use any direct quotes from the texts in the short answer section. (4) You may use a maximum of one quote in the essay section. (5) If you take a concept or idea directly from a page in one of the texts, you must cite the page. (6) Please type (rather than hand­write) your answers if at all possible. I. Short Answer Questions. Answer all of the following questions. (1) Explain Skinner’s notion of generalized reinforcer. Give two examples. A generalized reinforcer is a reinforcer that has been paired with more than one primary  reinforcer and can be exchanged for another reinforcer. Generalized reinforces will have  an affect on the animal’s behavior regardless of the organisms current status. Many  generalized reinforcers are culturally reinforced. For example, in human behavior, money,  recognition and affection are generalized reinforcers. (2) Explain Skinner’s concepts of negative and positive punishment. Provide an example of  each concept. For Skinner, punishment has two types, positive and negative. Positive punishment is  when receiving something unpleasant decreases the occurrences of a behavior in the  future. An example of this could be a penalty, or to be specific, if a teacher frowns when a  student asks a question then the student is not as likely ask that question again. Negative  punishment is when removing something pleasant decreases the occurrences of a behavior  in the future. This is what most people commonly think of when they think of the term  punishment. An example could be removing desert if a child doesn't finish their dinner. (3) Define Piaget’s notions of assimilation and accomodation. Provide an example of each. Assimilation and accommodation are complementary activities that make up adaptation.  Assimilation is using current schemes to interpret the external world. Accommodation is  adjusting old schemes or creating new ones after noticing that current thinking does not  capture the environment completely. For example, the original schema is that a dog is a four­legged animal. An assimilation would  be to see a horse and call it a dog because it has four legs but an accommodation would be  that a dog is a smaller four­legged animal that lives in the house and a horse is a larger  four­legged animal that lives in a field. (4) Explain Piaget’s account of the egocentric stage of children’s moral development. Piaget claimed that young children are egocentric. This does not mean that they are selfish,  but that they do not have the mental ability to understand that other people may have  different opinions and beliefs from themselves. The egocentric child assumes that other  people hear, see and feel exactly the same as they do. (5) Explain Piaget’s distinction between expiatory punishment and punishment by reciprocity. Expiation refers to punishment whose nature has an arbitrary relation to the offense except for  being proportional in magnitude. Reciprocity refers to punishment that has some natural relation  to the offense. He found there was a developmental trend from preference for punishment by  expiation to punishment by reciprocity. II. Essay Questions. Answer one of the following essay questions: (1) Learning plays a major role in the theories of Piaget and Skinner. Those learning theories  seem radically different. First, outline and discuss two major differences between the two  theories Your answer must include a discussion of Skinner’s views on conditioning and Piaget’s  views on assimilation/accommodation.  Secondly, provide one specific example in order to  illustrate these differences. For the final part of this essay, explain in some detail how, despite  these differences, the two theories might be considered compatible or complementary. Use a  specific example to illustrate your point. The most significant difference I found is that the two theories are based on completely  different principles. Radical behaviorism is defined by a refusal to work with the unobservable.  Piaget’s methods were theoretical in manner, only in the mind and unapplied to the real world.  Skinner’s behaviorism doesn’t take into account an individual’s growth and development. To  Skinner, reinforcement affects behavior at any age. Piaget, however, gave the concept of  development a large role in his theory. Piaget felt strongly that the learner is active. Piaget  reasoned that children are not merely passive recipients of information of their environment. He  believed that children act on the world to understand it. However, in Skinner’s behaviorism, a  subject performs an act and is consequently rewarded or punished for that act. The  environment’s role is much more significant as a behavior inducer, while the subject in question  is the passive recipient of learning. Skinner believed that all behavior is predetermined by past and present events in the  objective world.  Skinner theorized that if a behavior is followed by reinforcement, then that  behavior is more likely to be repeated; but if some sort of punishment or negative stimuli follows it, it is less likely to be repeated. He also believed that this learned association could end if the  reinforcement/punishment was removed.  Piaget argued that children do not just passively learn but also actively try to make sense  of their worlds. He argued that, as they learn and mature, children develop schemas. Piaget  thought that when children experience new things, they attempt to make sense of the the new  knowledge with existing schemas via assimilation and accommodation. Assimilation is when  you are faced with new information, you make sense of this information by referring to  information you already have learned previously and try to fit the new information into the  information you already have. Accommodation is the cognitive process of trying to make sense  of some new information by adjusting information/schemas you already have to make room for  this new information.  An example to illustrate these differences can be seen through a young boy who is  swearing in front of his mother. Piaget would simply imagine this scenario yet Skinner would try to test it experimentally. Piaget would argue that the growth and development of the child as an  active learner would be a large factor while Skinner would argue that the child’s behavior,  swearing, could be predetermined by past and present events, and punishment/reinforcement to  his swearing can affect the likeliness of this being repeated. Despite their differences, there are some similarities between Skinner and Piaget.  Each  theorist saw his model as a first step in building a comprehensive evolutionary theory of  knowledge and culture, saw learning in terms of behavior and the process of learning as  cumulative, and were convinced that intellectual development is to a decent degree the result of  learning from experience.  Piaget and Skinner could have combined their theories and looked at  the child experimentally, theoretically, developmentally, with reinforcement/punishment, and if  they had been able to work together I believe both theorists and their work would’ve benefited  significantly! Pick and read carefully one of the posted case studies [by Freud]. In 1-2 pages discuss how what Freud does in the Outline and in Ego & Id fits with what he does in the case. Case study written 3 years before the Ego and the Id Similarities: Differences: Girls don’t want to have sex with their father’s Girls aren’t replacing their dad with a boyfriend but a girlfriend In Freud’s “The Psychogenesis of a Case of Homosexuality in a Woman” he analyses an eighteen-year-old homosexual patient  Freud explains the female Oedipus Complex as when the girl desires the father  and resents the mother. Penis Envy is strong, as the girl wishes to desire this appendage.  Penis Envy is seen as girls acting as Tom boys, and in adulthood, the healthy result of  penis envy is the desire to give birth to a baby boy. In the resolution of this crisis, the girl  will give up the idea of sexually possessing their father and again identify with their  mother. Psychosexual Stages of Development On entering puberty, children enter the final stage of development. The Genital Stage: The sexual impulses of the Id are reawakened in the adolescent. The sexual behavior is now directed toward other people, rather than the self-centered exploration of the phallic period. Females generally lose their penis envy during this stage, so that female genitalia may take the same place of importance as male genitalia. Libidinal energy shifts from the mouth and the anus to the genitalia. This increased cathextion in the genitalia is what increases the overt sexual drive of an individual. Heterosexuality (desire for a sexual partner of the opposite sex) is seen as a healthy direction for mature sexual impulses. Homosexuality is seen by Freud as a genital fixation. Other Gender Differences of Freud The female has a less well developed superego. Penis envy leaves young female children unsatisfied, and beset by feelings of inferiority. Freud himself, however, sometimes did state that his understanding of women was lacking. In developing his theory of male sexual preference, Freud asserted that  heterosexual as well as homosexual preferences required explanation, that neither  could be assumed to be innate. His theory of the oedipal complex, however, held  that the heterosexual outcome was the "normal" resolution, while the homosexual  outcome represented arrested sexual development. In the normal resolution the  boy identifies as a male with the father, gives up the mother as a love object, and  later substitutes another woman of his choice for the mother. The author of the  following article, following the theorizing of Laplanche, claims that there is an  unavoidable homosexual component or residue in the heterosexual resolution  which is implicit in Freudian theory. In the resolution of the complex the boy has  the choice of both parents as love objects or as persons with whom to identify. In  the heterosexual resolution, the boy identifies with the father as a rival for the  mother's affection. But love and identification are not entirely discrete processes.  The identification with the father involves love for the father. The heterosexual  resolution of the oedipal conflict is bought at the price of the homosexual  resolution which, however, is not completely surrendered. The homophobia of  heterosexual males, the author asserts, is the result of the remnants of  homosexuality in the heterosexual resolution of the oedipal conflict.


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