Istituto Teseo, Italy

Abstract: One of the theories I have examined is that of Henry Murray, who, as in the case of Allport, shares the need for an approach to personality that considers the complexity and uniqueness of the individual, and therefore to the deepening of personological subjectivities without renounce the identification of regularities or general rules. Compared to Allport, Murray attaches great importance to the past experience of the individual, demonstrating in his assumptions that he is influenced by the psychoanalytic vision of the feudian type, with the concepts he elaborated and changed of id, ego and super-ego, and by the Jungian analytical psychology.

Keywords: personality, motivation, behavior, proactive, reactive.

The study of personality on Murray

In Murray, the study of personality coincides with the study of the history of personality, where personology aims to capture the distinctive elements of unity and globality. Like most psychodynamic authors, Murray recognizes motivation as a central role in the study of personality. According to Murray, for personality we must refer to the variety of directional tendencies that are the result of the interaction of biological and social factors. Motivation is an essential element in Murray’s theory, as the motivation that is defined starting from the study of needs, environmental pressures, states of tension and conflict, is what allows us to determine the real unity of the conduct, which in turn it can determine the prediction and control of behavior and from which one can arrive at the core of the personality. The personality therefore coincides with the knowledge of the variety of needs which in different ways affect the stability and development of the personality. The need can be deduced from the form and result of a behavior and in particular from the subjective condition that determines its trigger, from the attention and selective response to a particular class of stimuli. Murray distinguishes needs into psychogenic and viscerogenic, the former connected to psychological-social factors, the latter to organic factors. The viscerogenic needs find their justification and cause within needs of an organic type, psychogenic needs are causally determined within individual psychic experiences, born from interaction with the external world. The needs in turn can be classified into manifest, latent, proactive, reactive, focal and widespread. Needs are interconnected, for example the satisfaction of primary needs anticipates and conditions the development of secondary needs, ie psychological ones; the needs in turn into overwhelming needs with respect to others and subsidiary or instrumental needs with respect to others. Speaking of the motivational process, Murray states that the motivational process depends both on the environment which on the one hand provides the various opportunities for satisfaction, and on the environment itself that exerts various types of pressure on the individual. In fact, while the individual is the bearer of needs, the environment in which the subject lives and works is the seat of pressure (press). Murray, distinguishes two types of pressures, the Alphas which are substantiated in the physical and objective characteristics of the environment, and Beta pressures, which correspond to how the subject himself perceives the pressures. Determining the personality of an individual therefore means defining his biography to capture the salient experiences in events. The event, in fact, constitutes the meeting point of needs and pressures, constituting “the most real object, the concrete unit of analysis for the personologist”.

Conclusion Thematic analysis is therefore the best way to describe and understand an event. In defining the thematic analysis, Murray comes very close to social sciences such as sociology, anthropology, ethnology, useful for a comparative understanding of the whole. The analysis of personality cannot in fact ignore a global and overall vision that does not contemplate the great variability of socialization processes, which act as a background for the constitution of different personalities in cultural contexts. Attention must be paid both to the relational processes between parents and the child of the first years of life, on which a large part of the child’s developmental development depends, and to the different practices that characterize the phases of mating, rearing, education relating to adulthood.