topics for artists: the basics
>> Perspectives on Psychology - Psychodynamic and Cognitive
>> Psychodynamic - Freud and Others
>> Cognitive - Computer as Human Mind
>> Freud and Computer and Me (in between)
Perspectives on Psychology - Psychodynamic and Cognitive:
A perspective refers to a school of thought or a model in psychology. The agreed models act as basses (rules) to study human mind systematically. Psychodynamic and Cognitive are two perspectives I'm interested in. Both have basic principles, metaphors to help understand the principles, and methods to gather data.
Basic Principles: Behavior is largely the result of unconscious processes, motivation and early experiences.
Metaphors: Consciousness is like the tip of an iceberg; the mind is like a battleground for warring factions.
Methods: Interpretation of verbal discourse, slips of the tongue, dreams, fantasies, actions and postures; case studies; limited experimentation.
Basic Principles: Behavior is the product of information processing: storage, transformation, and retrieval of data.
Metaphors: The mind is like a computer; enduring patterns of thought are like software.
Methods: Experimentation with humans; computer modeling.
- Drew Westen, Psychology: mind, brain, & culture (NY 1996), p. 11
Psychodynamic - Freud and Others:
Psychodynamic perspective originates in Freud's theory. Freud used three
major models: the topographic model (conscious, pre-conscious, subconscious),
the developmental model (psychosexual stages - the oral, the anal, the
phallic, the latency, the genital), the structural model (id, superego,
ego). Many followed Freud, and eventually many adopted or split from his
theory to form new theories. (Jung is one of many who followed/split from
Cognitive - Computer as Human Mind:
The cognitive perspective sees a human mind as a computer loaded with
software to take inputs from the environment then to transform them to
produce outputs. In short, it sees a human mind as a information processing
device. The cognitive perspective is relatively new. However, since the
method used is scientifically sound: experiments result in concrete data
and analysis of the data, and computer technology provided convenient modeling
tools, it is widely used in areas such as study of memory, thought, decision
making process. In fact, any human activities that tend to use discreet
steps in thinking or acting can be studied using the cognitive perspective.
The weakness of the cognitive perspective is a exclusion of factors such as emotion, motivation, and intuition. Some cognitive scientists argue that computers should be studied (artificial intelligence) as well as human subjects.
Freud and Computer and Me (in between):
Well, you have to understood that I read "The Interpretation of Dreams" when I was in high-school as "a piece of literature", rather than "a psychology text". As an artist, I still see Freud as a thinker or a writer rather than a scientist. (I'm not saying his theory is invalid, but I think his writings have more to do with humanity than science). Anyway, just to give you a flavor how his theory is applied to art/ literature these days, I copied some of the journal titles from PsycInfo:
Title: Ahab's madness revisited: Moby-Dick and Milton's Serpent.
Abstract: Examines Herman Melville's presentation of Ahab and Ishmael's attitudes toward the white whale in Moby Dick. It is suggested that Ishmael's allusions to the Jupiter-Europa myth in his description of the white whale can also seen as an allusion to the scene in Milton's Paradise Lost where Jupiter myths are used to describe the satanic serpent who temps Adam and Eve. Comparisons are made between satanic and phallic images of both the whale and the serpent.
Subject Headings: Literature, Phychoanalytic Interpretation, Jungian Psychology, Myths
Title: A psychoanalytic study of migration: Its normal and pathological aspects
Abstract: Consider the internal and external motivations involved in an individual's or group's decision to migrate. Migration in the myths of Adam and Eve, Oedipus, and the tower of Babel is examined; and the steps that the migratory process passes through in its several phases are delineated. (...)
Subject Headings: Phychoanalytic Interpretation, Human Migration, Immigration
-PsycINFO Database, American Psychological Assn.
Computer? I am a programmer who want to be a good
system designer (I'm interested in Object-Oriented Modeling/Analysis).
Well, my interest in the cognitive perspective or generally in programming
is my love of simplicity and beauty of well structured systems. I guess
my brain is pretty flexible. Well-designed computer software systems as
well as well-composed pieces of music, or paintings are beautiful. I strive
for simplicity in programming, and in art. But the psychodynamic perspective
gives me insights to understand what is essential. If you are confused,
I understand, the part of the reasons I'm setting up my web-site is to
understand different aspects of my work, with many components and links.
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