Category: Psychology
Psychoanalysis and Communication

At the current moment communication and various means of mass, medic plays a considerable role in the life of each person. They reflect people’s thoughts and ideas. In the same time, they shape the individual’s behavior. The current work will apply the psychoanalysis for the understanding of the role of communication and mass media in people’s lives in different historical periods.

Analysis and Discussion of the Information

Psychoanalysis is considered to be the theory that studies human psychology and describes the methods of development and reflection of an individual’s personalities and identification themselves in the larger network of social relations. It is closely connected with human desires, needs, and mechanisms of unconsciousness, like sexuality, resistance, and repression.

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The application of psychoanalysis for the understanding of human communication started from the studies of Sigmund Freud. This person obtained the qualification of the doctor at the University of Vienna. He developed theories of the existence of the unconscious mind and created the treatment of psychopathology by psychoanalysis through communication with the patient. Later, this approach was used in various fields of psychotherapy. The background of this therapy lies in the evaluation of personal behavior through the individual’s life traumas and experiences. The additional attention should be paid to the dream psychology developed by Sigmund Freud in his works: “the dreams generate sensory stimuli which is been appeared as his fulfilled wishes in order to sustain his sleep”. The theory of the unconscious and the dream theory formed the background of the studying of communication between people and the role of mass media in our lives.

Communication plays one of the major roles in our lives. This statement is based on the understanding that personal needs and desires to be understood or to be loved. are reflected by means of interaction between different people. In the same time, it should be noted that these desires can be reflected both consciously and unconsciously. In the same time, people often fail to identify these desires concretely. This understanding can be obtained through the application of the psychoanalytic theories for studying and analysis of personal behavior, logic, and thoughts.

The behavior of each individual is shaped by personal experience and encounters which the person obtain through all the life. On the one hand, dealing with situations and events is performed on a conscious level. However, on the other hand, people are driven by unconscious intuition while performing or non – performing certain actions. For example, after doing some particular actions or after communication with other people, a person can feel awkward and weird. These feelings arise only after the completion of the communication, but not during its performance. Only after the completion of the talk, the personal mind comes conscious of what has been done.

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According to the basic concepts of psychoanalysis, the personal mind and ideas, which are reflected through the communication and means of mass media, can be separated into three sections: conscious, preconscious and unconscious. Personal desires and feelings which are felt in the present time can be referred to the conscious. The memory, emotions, and feelings which may be easily recollected are considered to be the preconscious concept. The last concept (unconscious) is represented by the memories which are hard to recollect from the personal mind. These memories result from the experience of personal conscious behavior.

The additional attention should be paid to the three stages of personality structure which were developed by Sigmund Freud in 1923. These stages are the following: ID, ego and superego. It is notable, that these stages are closely connected with the above-stated concepts of psychoanalysis. 

Human wants for the fulfillment of personal desires (both rights and wrong) is placed on the primary stage. ID reflects personal seeking for pleasure as well as avoidance of pain. The additional attention should be paid to the fact of the absence of any human standards and values at this stage. ID refers to the unconscious mind. The reflection of this stage can be shown on the communication between mother and child. The child will not stop whining until the mother buys to him or her an ice cream.

A second stage is Ego. It is positioned between conscious and preconscious concepts of psychoanalysis as it represents a balance between the reality and personal ID Super Ego. On the one hand, the person obeys the established social norms and principles. However, on the other hand, the person seeks to cover demands and wishes. The reflection of this stage can be shown on the example of communication between the students in the crowd who are demanding for their grants in a democratic way according to the established regulations.

The last stage is the Super Ego. The main part of this stage is reflected by the unconscious. The remained part is by preconscious. This stage is totally opposite to the ID because the person worries about standards, ideas, emotions, expectations and moral values. The example of this stage can be shown on the behavior of a good politician. This person has numerous ways to be involved in the scam. However, the individual will avoid it because of personal values and ethics.

Nowadays these ideas are used for the understanding and interpretation of human wishes, thoughts, behaviors, and feelings in the interpersonal communication and means of mass media. The additional attention should be paid to the way of identification of the reasons why different topics attracted the attention of some particular audience during various time periods. This understanding of the media and communication practice will be provided on the example of women magazines which were published at the end of the 20th century and at the beginning of the 21st century. Nick Stevenson (2004) in his work noted that in 1980s women’s magazines were full of so-called “romantic individualism” directed on “winning and shaping the consent of readers to a particular set of values”. The majority of women’s magazines of that time period contained topics concerning personal/domestic life, romance, music, fashion, and beauty. These means of mass media not just offered readers what they were searching for. Nowadays such magazines are less oriented on providing information concerning romance and domestic life, but make the emphasis on business, fashion, and building of relationships with the members of the opposite sex. They combined conscious and preconscious concepts in different time periods.

Additionally, it should be noted that means of mass media shape the behavior and the attitudes of the audience by using such mechanisms of inception of ideas into people’s minds as “monotonous regularity, narrowness, and repetition”. The example of such ideas is the “laddish forms of masculinity” presented in the 1990s. This idea was presented in interviews with focus groups which consisted of young men, interviews with editors, blogs on the Internet, and overall content. Magazines and newspapers attempted to become readers’ friends by providing useful advise, making emphasis on useful pitfalls in the ironic forms. They addressed such previously uncommon matters as fashion, health, and relationships. These topics reflected male’s preconscious and conscious perceptions in the combination with the global processes (like establishment of feminism, lesbian and gay group) which destabilized modern masculine identities.

The above-stated examples of the changing of topics in male and female magazines show how means of mass media reflect ad to form the changes in gender relations. These changes are closely connected with the concepts of psychoanalysis, i.e. conscious, unconscious and preconscious parts of the human mind. Usually, the information is sent through the subliminal messages of communication. These signals pass below the normal limits of perception: they “might be inaudible to the conscious mind (but audible to the conscious and deeper mind)”. Also, they may be represented by the briefly transmitted images which are perceived consciously and unperceived unconsciously. This is performed through the sight and the sound. These messages can be found in music, films, newspapers and magazines, political propaganda, and advertising. It is notable that these messages reflected the changes in the social life and shaped attitudes and behaviors of people since 1960s – 1970s and till nowadays. Duane Elgin (1997) provided the example of how these messages used in the television shifted the personal intends of the audience from such value as “develop a meaningful philosophy of life” towards the value connected with being very well-off financially”. Hence the desire to be an intellectual and developed person was transformed into the desire to be wealthy.

Our Process

The similar situation presents in the current moment. Te means of mass media form people’s desires and create the illusion of the reality directed on the viewer. Hence, it “substitutes liveness and directness for the cinematic dream-state, immediacy, and presentness for regression”. Also, Sandy Flitterman-Lewis provided the example of the analysis of the interpretation of the information from TV by using the psychoanalysis. This means of mass media provides the identification of the objects and events through reverse-shot structures and point-of-views. This is made through showing the event from the looks of filmmakers, and interactions between characters. Usually, in the information provided in modern TV and other means of mass media the spectator, reader or listener are placed outside the fictional world.

Means of mass media are directed on meeting people’s conscious desires to see, to know and to realize, even if these desires do not correspond with the established norms of morality. In the same time, they meet preconscious wishes by providing pleasure to the audience. Sandy Flitterman-Lewis (2012) called this phenomenon as “voyeuristic pleasure”. At the current moment, this pleasure is reflected in the drastically increased amount of sexuality shown in various resources. People want to see sexual bodies which stipulate and cover their desires. Hence, mass media gives it to them by visualization of the denuded bodies or their parts. Consequently, mass media communicates with the unconscious part of the human mind. Additionally, it should be noted, that sometimes coverage of these desires contradicts with established laws and norms (for example, showing the bare bodies in magazines for men).


In conclusion, it should be noted that the current work creates links between psychoanalysis and communication and media research. It shows how the information provided through the interaction with other people or sources of mass media reflect the people’s ideas and shape their future visions and perceptions. The additional attention was paid on the description of major concepts of psychoanalysis (conscious, preconscious and unconscious) and their reflection in communication and means of mass media in various historic periods.

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