Sigmund Freud 's Theory Of Personality And The Topographical Model Of The Mind

Sigmund Freud 's Theory Of Personality And The Topographical Model Of The Mind

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When a person makes a decision they make it based on the environment action as a stimulus working together with their internal thought process. Sigmund Freud first developed the theory of personality and the topographical model of the mind where he described the mind as a reservoir of water with an iceberg in it. Freud used this model to describe balance of the conscious and unconscious mind; the iceberg he used to model the conscious mind and the vast reservoir of water he used to symbolize the unconscious mind. He describes the unconscious mind as primitive and containing unpleasant or socially unacceptable feelings. The unconscious is the brains’ processing of information (stimuli) in humans without actually being aware of it. There has been much debate about the brains capability to make decisions unconsciously with differing opinions and several experiments exploring this theory. This essay will use evidence to demonstrate that decision making occurs unconsciously.
In 2006 the Dutch psychologist Ap Dijksterhuis and Nordgren studied a group of participants ability to make complex decisions versus simple decisions. The participants were told they had 4 different kinds of cars to choose from and were given a list of features for each car. In order to make the decisions simpler more complex the number of features to describe the cars were varied. There was either a list of 4 features describing one car making the simple decision or 12 features making the complex decision. The information about the 4 cars was then given to the participants. The list of attributes of the cars were a mixture of positive and negative, with each car having a varied number of positive/ negative features. The participants were then split into two groups...


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...not change their mind but also corresponded more with expert ratings. This indicates that when participants were asked to think consciously about their choices they changed their decisions. These decisions were against expert opinions arguing that these decisions could not be the “best choice”
Looking back on the findings, there is strong evidence to suggest that decision making does not only occur unconsciously, but that people who make decisions unconsciously can make better decisions than those who make decisions consciously. This could possibly be because conscious processing focuses on less important information surrounding the decision than the decision itself causing over- thinking. This could be the reason why in all the experiments mentioned above with the exception of Lassiter et al’s (in Press) experiment, shows that unconscious decision making does occur.

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