Karen Horney's Psychological Concepts Quiz

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12 Questions

What did Karen Horney propose as the origin of neurotic behavior?

Unrealistic and exaggerated desires

Which of the following is NOT one of Horney's primary neurotic needs?

Need for freedom and independence

How did Horney suggest childhood experiences contribute to the development of neurotic needs?

By causing the individual to develop unhealthy coping strategies

How does Horney's concept of self-theory differ from Freud's concept of the unconscious?

Self-theory focuses on conscious thoughts and behaviors

Which of the following is NOT mentioned as a key concept attributed to Karen Horney in the text?

Trait theory

What factor does NOT contribute to the formation of neurotic needs according to Horney?

Adulthood achievements

According to Karen Horney, what is the concept that represents a distorted representation of the self based on an individual's neurotic needs?

Ideal selves

What fundamental human experience did Karen Horney introduce as a driving force behind neurotic needs?

Basic anxiety

How did Karen Horney's approach to psychoanalysis differ from Freud's?

Horney focused on humanistic aspects, while Freud focused on sexual instincts.

What did Karen Horney identify as the impact of social and cultural forces on an individual's self-concept and behavior?

Gendered socialization

How did Karen Horney explain the development of neurotic needs in individuals?

As a result of inherent vulnerability and insecurity

What were some of the neurotic needs that Karen Horney observed particularly in women due to gendered socialization?

Need for love and approval

Study Notes

Karen Horney's Psychological Concepts

Karen Horney (1885-1952) was a German psychoanalyst and one of the most prominent female figures in the field, known for her unique contributions to psychoanalytic theory. Her concepts, which challenged some of Sigmund Freud's ideas, offer a new perspective on understanding human motivation and development. In this article, we'll explore some of Horney's key concepts, including neurotic needs, self-theory, basic anxiety, and the influence of culture and gender.

Neurotic Needs

Horney proposed that neurotic behavior originates from the individual's attempt to fulfill their neurotic needs, which are essentially unrealistic and exaggerated desires. She identified three primary neurotic needs:

  1. Need for love and approval: The desire to be loved, admired, and accepted by others.
  2. Need for power and control: The desire to influence, dominate, and assert oneself over others.
  3. Need for safety and security: The desire for stability, predictability, and protection from threats.

These neurotic needs, according to Horney, are caused by childhood experiences, such as overly strict or neglectful parents, which lead the individual to develop unhealthy coping strategies.


Horney's self-theory is a profoundly different perspective on the self compared to Freud's concept of the unconscious. She argued that individuals possess real and ideal selves, with the latter being a distorted representation of the self based on the individual's neurotic needs. Horney believed that people's self-concepts are shaped by their social and cultural environments, and thus she advocated for the importance of self-realization and self-acceptance.

Psychoanalytic Theory

Although Horney's concepts deviated from traditional psychoanalytic theory, she still recognized the importance of unconscious processes. She believed that both conscious and unconscious motivations contribute to an individual's behavior, and she emphasized the role of the individual's subjective experience in shaping their self-concept. Horney's approach to psychoanalysis was more humanistic and less focused on sexual instincts, as Freud's theory was.

Basic Anxiety

Horney introduced the concept of basic anxiety, which is a generalized and ongoing sense of unease and fear. She posited that basic anxiety is a fundamental human experience, and it arises from the individual's inherent sense of vulnerability and insecurity. Basic anxiety, according to Horney, is a driving force behind neurotic needs, as individuals seek to alleviate their anxiety through self-defeating behaviors.

Culture and Gender Influences

Horney recognized the impact of social and cultural forces on an individual's self-concept and behavior. She observed that gendered socialization often leads to the development of neurotic needs, particularly in women. For example, women may develop a neurotic need for love and approval, leading them to engage in self-destructive behaviors to meet the expectations of others. Horney argued that these gendered neurotic needs are the result of socialization, and they can often be challenged and overcome through self-understanding and self-acceptance.

In conclusion, Karen Horney's contributions to psychoanalytic theory offer a unique perspective on human motivation and development. Her concepts, including neurotic needs, self-theory, basic anxiety, and the influence of culture and gender, provide a framework for understanding the complexity of the human psyche and the role of social and cultural factors in shaping our self-concepts. Horney's work challenges traditional psychoanalytic theory and offers new insights into the human experience.

Test your knowledge of Karen Horney's unique contributions to psychoanalytic theory with this quiz. Explore concepts such as neurotic needs, self-theory, basic anxiety, and the influence of culture and gender on human motivation and development.

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