Rezoning pleasure: drives and affects in personality theory

Doris McIlwain*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


    Much contemporary psychological and psychoanalytic research embraces affects but deletes drives. Tomkins made specific place for both affects and drives in his theory, suggesting that much of interest arose from their conflict and co-assembly. This article explores why drives have been dismissed, and argues for their explanatory usefulness in an embodied science of personality. Possible advantages of Tomkins' affect theory over Freud's are discussed as a prelude to assembling (via Westen) a lean, mean, motivational model of personality development. The model combines a view of drives consonant with contemporary evidence and representative of the early Freud with a differential affect theory indebted to Silvan Tomkins. Applications of the model are explored using as case studies personality research on psychopathy and the role of shame in narcissism. The model explores the way that signature personality profiles emerge as developmental pathways are opened or closed due to affective idiosyncrasy.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationRealism and psychology
    Subtitle of host publicationcollected essays
    EditorsNigel Mackay, Agnes Petocz
    Place of PublicationBoston
    PublisherEntomological Society of Canada
    Number of pages47
    ISBN (Electronic)9789004188877, 9789004194878
    Publication statusPublished - 2011

    Publication series

    NamePhilosophy of History and Culture
    ISSN (Print)09226001

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