Date of Award

Spring 2013

Document Type




First Advisor

Marie Suthers

Second Advisor

Beth Haile

Third Advisor

Darren Nealis


This paper will discuss the developmental cycle of women (infancy/childhood to adulthood to old age) and how animal archetypes appear in their psyche as a result of social and biological influence. The discussion of archetypes typically occurs within the field of psychotherapy without strong empirical evidence. In general, there have been few efforts to bridge psychotherapy and experimental psychology. In examining the biological basis of archetypes, this paper will attempt to create such a bridge between these two disciplines. The exposure to archetypal and animal characters during sensitive periods of language acquisition may influence symbol assignment and memory from an early age. Female needs to satisfy unfulfilled social or maternal urges in adult stages of development are possibly impacted by the presence of animals both in the physical and psychic world. The ongoing overlap of archetypal images acting against subliminal backdrop of rapid biological development may have a long lasting or even permanent effect on subconscious action, reasoning, and memory. The emotional importance of animal bonds throughout life could impact behaviors such as altruism, empathy, and maternal care. Similar patterns associated to early development may appear as defense mechanisms later in life with issues surrounding memory loss and trauma.