psychology 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.

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 Freud.)

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:

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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