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A mental mechanism operating outside of and beyond conscious awareness by which certain external attributes, attitudes, or standards are taken within oneself.


the acceptance and incorporation of the standards or beliefs of other persons, or of society, by the individual. Internalization is a basic concept in FREUD's theory of personality development. The child's conscience (SUPEREGO) is formed by internalizing society's MORES, as represented by the parents’ personal values and standards. As suggested by this psychodynamic usage, the total acceptance of beliefs and values is usually implied when the concept is employed in a more general way. However, some expressed attitudes or behaviours may be based on social pressures, such as CONFORMITY, and involve compliance rather than internalization. See also SOCIALIZATION, OVERSOCIALIZED CONCEPTION OF MAN.



transfer inward from without. The concept of internalization entered psychology as a result of the work of the French sociological school (E. Durkheim and others), which linked internalization with the concept of socialization, the adoption of basic categories of individual consciousness from the sphere of social ideas. In the cultural-historical theory of the Soviet psychologist L. S. Vygotskii, the idea of internalization acquired fundamental importance for psychology. One of the basic premises of this theory is that any genuinely human form of the psyche initially evolves as an external, social form of human communication and only then, as a result of internalization, becomes a psychological process for an individual person. Stages of internalization have been traced in detail in works devoted to “intellectual actions.” In such works it has been demonstrated that internalization is not a simple transfer to action on the level of ideas (J. Piaget, Switzerland) but represents the formation of an internal structure of consciousness. Through its accompaniment by several other action changes, such as generalization or reduction, internalization leads to the formation of a new concrete psychological process.


Durkheim, E. “Sotsiologiia i teoriia poznaniia.” Novye idei v sotsiologii, collection 2. St. Petersburg, 1914.
Vygotskii, L. S. hbrannye psikhologicheskie issledovaniia. Moscow, 1956.
Vygotskii, L. G. Razvitie vysshikh psikhicheskikh funktsii. Moscow, 1960.
Gal’perin, P. Ia. “K ucheniiu ob interiorizatsii.” Voprosy psikhologii, 1966, NO. 6.


References in periodicals archive ?
Conversely, youths who internalize can be perceived by parents and teachers as passive aggressive and non-cooperative (for example, externalizing) (Shaw et al.
It is an inclusive milieu where members internalize democratic values and ideals.
The T-lymphocytes, similarly exposed, failed to internalize either the C particulates or the C/Fe particulates and subsequently showed no ultrastructural lesions.
Possibly, because of the WEEE Directive, prices will increase because companies are going to have to internalize the cost of recycling," Bowman says.
They love technology and want to understand it and internalize it.
To his comrades, the combat controllers, who have instinctively reached out to protect and care for Valerie and her daughters, I note that each of you can look at your comrades and now see, now feel, now understand and now can internalize the depth of meaning of the words Shakespeare attributed to Henry V at Agincourt: "We few, we happy few, we band of brothers.
We need to] change what we measure so we start to internalize those costs instead of externalizing them.
Organizations and groups that can understand and internalize these concepts will almost certainly be successful," Babka says.
Campers may internalize that they are bad people, which degrades self-esteem.
In general, the assessment of mode of anger expression may increase clinicians' awareness of potential risk factors for adolescents who are likely to internalize versus externalize their anger.
Classifying descriptions of childhood socioemotional problems into a child's tendency to either externalize or internalize emotions and behaviors is a common practice in child development research (Campbell, 1995; Cicchetti & Toth, 1991).
Rather than being excited about her new six-figure position, Finley, 44, began to internalize the increasing pressures associated with being the highest-ranking African American in a largely white company.