Phase 5 Individual Final Project Case Study of Marshall Bruce Mathers III (aka Eminem) Colorado Technical University Online Abstract Marshall Bruce Mathers III also known as Enimem is not only a rapper, record producer, actor, and Grammy award winner but also one of the most controversial and bestselling artists of the 21st century. (Eminem 2012) In this paper I have included a bio-sketch of his life from birth to his current day success. I have also provided a psychological explanation, in my opinion, of his behaviors using the behaviorist perspective as well as a comparison of those behaviors utilizing the humanistic theory.
Additionally I have included a detailed outlook on Eminem’s upbringing using Erik Erikson’s human development theory, Lawrence Kohlberg’s foundational theory, Abraham Maslow’s theory of motivation-hierarchy of needs, and David McClelland’s three needs theory. To conclude this paper I will discuss how understanding human behavior through the use of psychological behaviors is very useful. Biosketch of Marshall Mathers “Eminem” Marshall Bruce Mathers III later known as Eminem was born October 17, 1972 in St. Joseph Missouri. His mother, Deborah Mathers was only 15 at the time he was born.
Deborah raised Marshall alone due to his father Marshal Mathers Jr. abandoning the family when Eminem was eighteen months old. (Eminem) Deborah rarely maintained employment for longer than a few months at a time. Deborah’s lack of stable employment caused the family to move multiple times between Missouri and Michigan. Due to the constant relocation and instability in his life Marshall spent much of his childhood living in subsidized housing projects In his biography Marshal states “I would change schools two or three times a year.
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That was probably the roughest part of it all,” (Eminem) The lifestyle he was forced to live left him feeling like an outcast, having no friends, keeping to himself, and constantly being beaten up at school. The abuse by his school mates along with his own mother abusing him left a large negative impact on his life. At age seventeen Eminem attended Lincoln High School in Warren Michigan. (Eminem) Even with his wide vocabulary range and habit of reading the dictionary for fun he struggled with the educational atmosphere and dropped out of school.
Eminem stated, “I don’t feel that I am stupid but school just wasn’t for me. ” ( Reece2012) His passion for rap started at the young age of four, beginning with rhyming words and battling his schoolmates in the lunch room. However he did not become serious about rapping until he was fourteen and later when making a name for him-self at the age of seventeen. (Reece 2012)Eminem explains that his biggest challenge was the constant rejection from the other rappers because of the color of his skin. This rejection caused even more anger to build up and eventually flow through his music later on in his career.
Despite his reoccurring failure at rap battles and poor radio show appearances Eminem released his first album titled Infinite in 1999. (Reece 2012) The album sold less than 1,000 copies and did not make a profit. However, this was still the first hugely important step needed for the millions of dollars he would make during his career. After selling his first record the next life changing event occurred. On December 25, 1995 Eminem and his longtime girlfriend Kim Scott welcomed their daughter into the world naming her Hailey Jade Scott. Reece 2012) Despite Eminem’s new daughter being born he kept pushing his rapping career. During this time in his life he made many attempts to make a name for himself, but he continuously failed and eventually had nothing. The trials and tribulations he went through revealed themselves t loudly in the form of outrage during a rap battle in 1997. Eminem lasted an hour in this battle, throwing down every race card he was given earning him second place losing only because of one minor slip up.
Furious at the feeling of failure once again he failed to notice that in the audience there were producers from Interscope Records. Producer Dr. Dre from Intersope eventually caught up with Eminem and signed him on the spot. (Eminem) In 1999 Eminem released The Slim Shady LP album making him an instant success and selling over three million copies. His music was comprised of childish humor, energy, profanity, and violence. Eminem’s lyrics often referenced his personal views on life and his with other people including his mother and wife Kim Mathers, which he later divorced.
Even though many people view his music as profane, violent, drug promoting, and homophobic Eminem went on to release his next album titled The Mashall Mather’s LP released May 2000. This album went on to sale over 19 million copies and earned him a Grammy Award for Best Rap Album in 2001. Along with a Grammy this album is considered to be among the greatest rap albums of all time. (Eminem) In 2007 after years of success Eminem nearly died from a drug overdose. Family problems, drugs, alcohol, and the loss of his daughter in a custody battle kept him from recording music until 2009.
In late 2009 he announced that he had gone to rehab and produced the album Relapse. In 2010 Eminem released an album called Recovery. Both of these albums were auto-biographical albums relating to his addiction experiences bringing him back to mainstream rap. (Eminem) Eminem recently stated, “I started learning how to not be angry about things, learning to count my fucking blessings instead. By doing that, I’ve become a happier person. ” (Eminem) I have chosen to focus on and investigate why Eminem focused on negative concepts throughout his music career.
I think that he is an excellent example to why behavioristic perspective makes since. As I mentioned in the biographic sketch Eminem was constantly bounced around, never having stability because he was raised by an abusive mother. He was placed into many situations where he was beaten, cussed at, and ridiculed for reasons beyond his control. Eminem was also forced to grow up in mostly poverty ridden housing projects that ran rampant with drugs, guns, and violence. I believe that because he grew up pretty much with the previously mentioned issues the behavior and norm for him was learned and often times came through in his music.
In a lot of his songs he discusses that he is angry with his mother often times referring to her in a vulgar manner. In his song Puke he refers to his ex-wife and not wanting to be around her because she is disgusting and ridicules her. In the song I’m Sorry Mama he references to his childhood and being a failure and later talks as though he is happy his mother is dead. The second behavior I feel is learned is his addiction problem. Through song lyrics Eminem accuses his mother of being addicted to prescription drugs.
He was raised in poverty ridden areas where drugs were very prevalent. He grew up seeing drugs as a way to cope and deal with life, and this environment made a lasting impression on him. In 2006 his career tapered down and he went through a divorce. At this point he reverted back to the behavior that he learned growing up; using drugs and alcohol are acceptable ways to cope. His music after his overdose reflects his new learned behavior and ideas from rehab. The next part of my case study focuses on Eminem’s motivations and development throughout his life.
This is analyzed using Erik Erikson’s human development theory, Lawrence Kohlberg’s foundational theory, Abraham Maslow’s theory of motivation-hierarchy of needs, and David McClelland’s three needs theory. According to Erik Erikson’s psychosocial stages of development stage one is: Trust Versus Mistrust. This stage lasts from birth until eighteen months of age and is the crucial time frame that a child develops an attachment to a caregiver. (Editorial 95-97)I believe that Eminem did not have his needs met in this stage. His father was in and out of his life for most of this time period.
Because of his absence Eminem did not develop a connection or attachment with his father. Although Eminem was living with and being raised by his mother there was a lack of trust/ attachment with her as well. At the time of Eminem’s birth Deborah was fifteen years old and using drugs. (Eminem) I believe that Deborah was stuck in Erikson’s fifth stage which is Identity versus Role Confusion. Being stuck in this stage made it difficult for her to give Eminem the tools necessary to have trust and an attachment to her. As Eminem got a little older he fell into Erikson’s third stage of Initiative versus which is Guilt.
During this stage children begin to develop mental and physical activities that develop self-confidence. (Editorial 95-97) Eminem struggled with this stage. He moved from school to school and he was picked on and abused. At this time he was also living in an abusive home. The abuse from school and home injured Eminem’s confidence and often made him feel alone and like an outcast. (Eminem) According to Eminem the only way he had of showing he had some confidence was by challenging rap battles starting at the age of four in the lunch room at school. Reece 2012) Although the battles in the lunch room may not have been the most appropriate way to obtain confidence it was how Eminem managed to make his way through this stage. Stage four is Competence versus Inferiority, also known as Industry versus Inferiority. This stage is when children develop social and intellectual skills, and become confident in their talents and competencies. (Editorial 95-97) Eminem excelled in this stage. It was during this stage that Eminem failed out of school and began focusing on his rapping career. Eminem endured the feeling of excessive failure and was often criticized for being white.
His relationship with his mother during this stage was poor because of her constant ridicule of him for dropping out of school and pursuing a career in rap music. (Reece 2012) Even with the lack of support he pushed through and eventually he was recognized in 1977 by producer Dr. Dre. This recognition was a large part of why Eminem was able to complete this stage. Eminem had finally made a name for him-self and began to recognize and embrace who he actually was. This occurred in stage five of Erikson’s theory which is Identity versus Role Confusion.
Eminem utilized this time to recognize what he had gone through in his life growing up. During this stage he raps about his life in many of his songs and is able to understand and explain why he is the way he is. It was also during this time that the role in life he played as “Marshall Mathers” was now non-existent. Eminem was now identified as a leading musician; and he was comfortable with this life and persona he had created for himself. According to Lawrence Kohlberg his theory of Moral development can be broken down into three levels and seven stages.
Kohlberg believed that people functioning at lower levels of his theory are motivated by self-interest. (Editorial100-101) While Eminem is a smart individual the behaviors that he displayed for much of his life would have placed him in the first level of Kohlberg’s theory. Kohlberg believes that level one stage one is that children base decisions on seeking pleasure and avoiding pain or getting caught. Stage two is the cost benefit stage in which one acts out morally to get an award. (Editorial 100-101) Eminem is known as one of the most controversial artists in the 21st century.
He seeks out pleasures by pushing limits in his songs that are against most people’s moral beliefs. He often acts in a manner that may not be acceptable, but often times got him rewarded. Eminem does not meet the criteria for level two or three of Kohlberg’s theory. Eminem doesn’t behave morally. He embraces and works off criticism rather than trying to avoid it. Eminem is far from meeting the stage three requirements of Kohlberg’s theory. He is still promoting violence, drugs, and alcohol; and his morals are not even close to what modern day society accepts as appropriate.
Finishing up with Eminem’s adulthood it is best described by Erikson’s sixth stage which is Intimacy versus Isolation. By age thirty-five Eminem had been married and divorced twice to the same woman. Eminem lives the typical party life of sex with multiple women, drugs, alcohol, and, not much concern for other individuals or relationships. Even though Eminem has not led the perfect life he has remained proud of his daughter and career. Eminem was still releasing music as recent as 2010 and currently working in studios for a new album that he will be releasing later at no specific date.
He continues to be just as widely known by today’s youth as he was when he originally debuted. Eminem clearly had some type of motivation which leads me to Abraham Maslow’s theory of motivation. I believe that Eminem strived to reach the Esteem Needs of Maslow’s pyramid. The Esteem Needs level he is in causes him to feel that he belongs and has a degree of importance. Recognition, attention, social status, and accomplishment are all motivators to reach this point. (Maslow) Eminem lacked a lot of these characteristics as a child and now he has fame from billions of fans.
He is recognized by all races as being a brilliant rap artist and has accomplished his dream of being a musician. I believe that he made gaining recognition and fame so important that he skipped the safety needs stage. He used what little money he had on recording songs and going to rap battles instead of using it on food and a safe place to live. According to David McCelland’s theory of three needs Eminem’s motivations become clearer. Eminem had a huge need and want to succeed in rapping. Rapping was something he wanted bad enough that he pushed through a lot of hardships to obtain.
The second part of McClelland’s theory is affiliation. Affiliation according to McCelland is the need for human interaction and positive relationships with others. (Editorial 184) This was not a motivation for Eminem; Eminem’s relationships were damaged as his career grew. For example, putting his mom’s past behaviors out for the public to hear or talking poorly about his daughter’s mom in the lyrics he raps. The third motivation which was power was definitely one of Eminem’s biggest motivations. Eminem uses his music to impact others with his bizarre lyrics and tales of a terrible life.
He also had established the power to make people understand that just because he was white he still lived in poverty and became a rap star, and most importantly he got his life story told. Reflecting back on the behavioristic perspective I still find it to be true that most of his behaviors were learned. Eminem’s mother was undereducated and addicted to drugs. Because she was undereducated she like Eminem did not progress through the important stages of Erikson’s theory. How can it be expected for Eminem to go through all the stages when he was raised in a fashion of where the proper guidance was non-existent?
Secondly in Maslow’s theory of Hierarchy needs a person should have their physiological needs met first, then safety, and then social needs. (Maslow) Eminem’s mother fell short in this area as well. Her concern to keep him safe and have a since of security were less than her need to socialize and be accepted by others. This seems to be the path that Eminem followed her example with. In phase one I focused on the behavioral perspective and analyzed Eminem’s need to have negative concepts throughout his music, and his addiction to drugs and alcohol.
In this section of my case study I will analyze these same two behaviors. However in this section of my paper I will be using the humanistic theory. The humanistic theory explains the human behavior as based on the basic goodness of the person, rather than more biologically or socially mechanistic models. The humanistic theory explains that behaviors are a combination of here and now responsibility, worth and self-improvement. (Editorial 202) First I want to address Eminem’s constant use of negative lyrics that often refer to his past.
As part of the humanistic approach Abraham Maslow created the hierarchy of needs theory. Maslow explains that the lowest level of needs is the physiological needs category. Eminem struggled with having his basic needs met as a child mainly because of the poor living conditions and because his mother did not provide for him. Eminem struggled with the next two levels of Maslow’s hierarchy safety needs and sense of belonging as well because the lack of safety and protection and sense of being loved during his childhood. Eminem managed to make it through his life and eventually made it to the fourth level of needs.
The fourth level is his self-esteem; although he was now famous his self-esteem was is still pretty low. He valued the need to have self-worth and often got self-worth by building himself up and by using other’s flaws such as his mother’s to make himself look and feel better. He also did this to make it more obvious to others that he was forced to overcome obstacles in his life. This theory when applied to Eminem’s life is much different than the behavioristic theory outcome which showed his behaviors were learned from being in the environment he was raised in.
However, the humanistic approach shows that he chose these behaviors because of the events that occurred in his life. His anger was not learned but was an outcome of the things he has gone through throughout his life. The second behavior to look at is his drug and alcohol addiction. The humanistic theory explains the drug and alcohol addiction as a way for Eminem to increase his self-esteem. He could have also used his addictions to replace the lack of love and sense of belonging he felt throughout his life. He essentially used his addiction as a way to cope with the basic essential needs that were never met in his life.
The humanistic approach explains his addiction as a filler in the needs hierarchy, something to give him what he lacks. He didn’t have love or the feeling of being needed; the alcohol took away that feeling and replaced it with another happy or high feeling. This is also very different from the behavioral aspect that showed he gained this behavior from learning it from is mom and or environment he grew up in. Either way you look at it from the behavioral approach or the humanistic approach you will get the same result. Eminem’s behaviors occur directly from events in his past.
This is very helpful when explaining why he is the way he is, because it gives concrete reasons and not excuses for his behaviors. Psychological theories don’t leave much room for assumption which cuts out misunderstandings. Without the theories one may simply think that Eminem is controversial for the simple sake of wanting attention. I have learned a lot by breaking down Eminems’s life story and analyzing it. I learned that some of the behaviors we learn as children are instilled in us whether we realize it or not. I used to think that the saying,” It’s all I know” was an excuse.
Looking further into the behaviors and matching them with different stages of Eminem’s life has given me a better understanding. This is definitely something that I can use while working with troubled youth at my current job. I also have learned that even if your life doesn’t follow the correct stages or theories motivations can make the world of difference. Eminem did not live the perfect life and did a lot of things out of order but he was motivated enough to succeed in what he wanted. All the theories are very helpful but still leave room for alterations.
I guess it is life’s learning manual as best as you can get Now to reflect back on all of Eminem’s behaviors and the different theories I have used to break down his life and personality I will discuss whether his behaviors are normal or abnormal. Normal behaviors are defined as the behaviors, attitudes, and approaches to life expected for a given society. Abnormal behaviors are defined as the thoughts and behaviors that stand outside of what is expected for a given society. (Editorial 2011) Eminem clearly displays abnormal behaviors. Eminem shows behaviors that we as an American society tend to frown upon.
He is very vulgar and publicly projects his thoughts of encouraging violence and alcohol through the use of his music. Eminem also tends to represent the “thug life” mentality dancing around sagging his pants, swearing, and promoting the use of drugs and violence during his concerts. Proper normal American behavior is very much against how Eminem behaves. Normal behaviors for American culture are hardworking, respectful, polite, and dignified conversation. Society often associates behaviors like Eminem’s as a representation of an under educated criminal.
I believe that Eminem’s behaviors can be attributed to his past. According to the Psychoanalytic Perspective a person’s psychological disorders stem from unresolved childhood issues pertaining to sex drive and aggression; deals with subconscious impulses and influences on conscious thought and behavior. (Editoral 2011) Eminem has multiple childhood issues that deal with aggression, his impulses, influences and sex drive. He was abused and built the aggression towards others. He was very impulsive which I feel he learned from his mother constantly moving them around at the spur of the moment.
He also growing up had a huge lack of love from his mother and very little female attention which can contribute to his need for affection as an adult creating a very unhealthy sex drive. My feelings on the use of case studies are still split. One of the big advantages of case studies is that you can determine a person’s personality, behaviors and social acceptance based off of theories that have already been made all you have to do is analyze and place them where you see fit. A disadvantage of the case study method would be that it is based off of one’s own thoughts and perspective hich leaves a lot of room questions and speculation. As I have been working week to week and reviewing the different theories I have learned a lot. I learned that that has been an influence from somewhere whether it be from a person’s environment or by simply having being born to a particular family (genetics) that a person’s behaviors can usually be directly linked. I have truly learned that the best way to understand someone is to put your-self into their shoes. Look at where they were brought up, family characteristics and traits they inherited. Psychology plays a massive part especially in my workplace.
I work in an environment that is meant to help troubled youth become productive members of society. We focus on helping them obtain normal behaviors to make it in society. Now that I have a better understanding of why these youth make the choices that they do I have the necessary tools to help them in a more direct manner instead of guessing. For example, if I know that a kid has been moved from foster home to foster home because their mother or father was on drugs I can place them into one of the theories such as Maslow’s hierarchy and break down the behaviors and life events that they need to work through.
I have also learned that there is probably a reason for the kids to act out simply out of the thrill of being bad. I will continue to study psychology so that I may further my career with a better understanding. I also just simply find it to be very interesting to understand how a person’s brain works and affects their everyday life. Also by studying psychology I have a better understanding of myself. I see what my personality profile is and am more aware of how other people may perceive me.
It also has opened my mind to be able to understand others in a more efficient way. I will apply the knowledge I have learned in this course and have already begun to do so in my career. I have a better understanding of the clientele I work with and will continue to expand on what I have learned. The final part of my paper focuses on the statement “You can’t understand others unless you understand yourself. ” I still struggle with completely understanding myself and why I may or may not be the way I am. Although I an place myself into different theories and it makes since there are still some open questions I have. I used the MBTI test and it made it a little clearer as to why I tend to gravitate to some other personality types. Since I know why I get along better with some people it also opened my eyes to understand why others may get along with each other for example bully kids and scape goat kids tend to stick to others that are like them. I see it in my particular workplace that quite often as a team builder amongst staff where we are required to learn each other’s personality.
As adults in a working environment it helps us focus on learning each other better and lowers the amount of personal issues that we as a company have. I also feel that understanding other’s behaviors and personalities is helpful because you better understand who may be more suitable for a particular duty that needs done. I think that this course would be a valuable learning tool to everyone that works in the environment I work in. As a life skills trainer to troubled youth we are supposed to help them understand why they do what they do.
How are we supposed to really be able to completely and fully help them if we can’t clearly explain it to them or ourselves why the behaviors they have are fixable or why they have them in the first place. As an addition to what training responsibilities I already have with staff at work I will be implementing that they learn some of these theories we explored. I also have already begun to use the personality type test to bring staff together as a starting learning experience for them to understand who they work with and the benefits of utilizing each other’s strong personality attributes.
References Eminem. (2012) Biography. com. Retrieved 03:12, August 23, 2012 from http://www. biography. com/people/eminem-9542093 Eminem. Reece, Rod. (2012) Retrieved 03:25, August 23, 2012 from http://www. imdb. com/name/nm0004896/bio Editorial Board(2011) Introduction to Psychology, Electronic Version. Pgs 95-97,100-101,184. Words of Wisdom LLC. Retrieved from course smart solutions database. Maslow’s Theory of Motivation(2012) Retrieved 01:51, August 30,2012. From http:www. envisionsoftware. com/articles/Masolw_Needs_Hierarchy
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