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Id Ego Superego

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Id Ego Superego

Sigmund Freud believed that adults’ behaviours are determined by psychological and environmental factors rather than biological factors.

The psychodynamic perspective proposes psychological drives influence human behaviour, feelings, and emotions. Based on these energies at play, Freud proposed the notion of the unconscious mind.

Id Ego Superego

Freud believed that most of our daily actions and behaviours are not controlled consciously but are the product of our unconscious mind.

The unconscious mind is where feelings, thoughts, urges, and memories outside of our conscious awareness are stored. It holds unacceptable or unpleasant information, such as pain, anxiety, and conflicts.

The influence of the unconscious seeps into every part of our lives. The unconscious mind actively represses traumatic memories from reaching conscious awareness. These memories might cause anxiety; therefore, the mind uses defence mechanisms to avoid discomfort.

Traumatic experiences can reveal themselves in many different ways, through dreams, fantasies, slips of the tongue, Freudian slips, creativity, and neurotic symptoms.

What is Jung’s view on the Unconscious mind?

Carl Jung, Freud’s successor, further developed the concept of the unconscious mind. He agreed with Freud’s view about the unconscious’s essential role in shaping our personality. According to Jung (1981) from his book The Collected Works of C. G. Jung: Structure and dynamics of the psyche,” the spiritual heritage for humanity’s evolution is born afresh in the brain structure of every individual.”

He proposed that the unconscious mind is divided into the personal unconscious and the collective unconscious. However, according to the collective unconscious theory, the collective conscious is the deepest level of the personality (psyche). It contains inherited ancestral memories and archetypal experiences of an entire human species rather than one individual.

The shadow archetype is based on animal instincts that influence our unconscious, such as things we do to ensure our survival.

What is the metaphor of an iceberg proposed by Freud?

Freud (1900 - 1905) developed a topographical model of the mind. He was describing the features of the mind structure and functioning, the ego, superego and id.

He used the analogy of an iceberg when describing different levels of the mind. He proposed The metaphor of an iceberg to explain the other parts of our mind. The conscious mind consists of the mental processes we are aware of; this is the tip of the iceberg, while the unconscious mind is the hidden, more significant part of the iceberg.

For example, you may feel hungry at this moment and decide to eat. This feeling you are aware of and can act on with clarity.

The preconscious mind maintains thoughts and feelings that we are unaware of, but they can quickly be brought to consciousness. It is found just below the level of consciousness before the unconscious mind. However, negative emotions or traumas are repressed and not readily available in the preconscious mind.

You are not presently thinking about your email address, but now, you can easily recall it.

The unconscious mind compartmentalises mental processes that are not accessible to the consciousness, but it affects behaviour, feelings, and even judgements.

Id Ego Superego [+] The metaphor of the iceberg [+] StudySmarterThe metaphor of the iceberg

What is the role of the unconscious mind concerning the structure of personality?

Freud (1923) claimed that the human psyche or personality has several aspects. The personality theory describes that the mind is structured into three parts (also known as tripartite), the id, ego, and superego. These systems are developed in different stages in our lives.

Children go through unconscious processes of development of a sequence of five stages generally referred to as the psychosexual stage model. The stages are: oral, anal, phallic, latent, and genital. These different stages are associated with the driving force in children’s development. During these stages, the child develops the human psyche or personality, describing the personality theory that the mind is structured in three parts, the id, ego and superego.

These parts interact to form a whole, and each makes a relative contribution to our behaviour.

Id Ego Superego [+] Superego, Id and Ego [+] StudySmarterId, Ego & Superego - StudySmarter Originals.

What is the id?

The id is the primitive or instinctive part of the mind containing aggressive, sexual drives and hidden memories.

The id is the primitive and instinctive element of personality, consisting of the genetic inheritance or biological parts since birth. In ancient Greek mythology, Eros is used as a reference because he is considered someone working with life energy, similar to the libido, along with aggressive death, or instinct, Thanatos.

The id works on the pleasure principle, craving instant gratification. The id is impulsive and relates to basic urges, needs, and desires.

If a person is cold, the id demands them to find warmth.

A newborn child does not have a well-developed personality, such as ego or superego. They only possess the id, as babies are unaware of their surrounding reality or do not have their ego yet formed. The only awareness is about their basic needs, such as food, love and care.

Freud claimed that the id drives and seeks pleasure and instant gratification. If the id is denied pleasure, the person will become frustrated.

The id imitates the function of the limbic system in the brain: this is the brain’s “emotion centre” and the foundation of our appetites, fear and aggression.

What is the Ego?

The ego deals with the reality principle and mediates between the desires of the id and the superego.

The ego is not present at birth and arises in response to control by others, specifically parents, during the anal stage of development, at around two years old. It works as a mediator between the other two personalities, the demands of the id and the moralistic demands of the superego. Several defence mechanisms manage the ego.

The ego uses the reality principle. If anxiety is experienced, the unconscious defence mechanisms are activated to help prevent the mind from facing unpleasant feelings or making the person feel better. The ego interacts in our thinking process, orientated towards problem-solving, realism, and rationality.

The ego resembles the function of the prefrontal cortex in the human brain: this is the brain’s “decision-making centre” and handles messages from the limbic system and decides how to act on them.

The ego is ‘that part of the id which has been modified by the direct influence of the external world.’ (Freud, 1923, p. 25)

What is the superego?

The superego controls our moral conscience.

The superego is driven by values and morals of society, learned in childhood, from the parents and society. It is formed by the end of the phallic stage of psychosexual development. The superego is characterised by the “inner voice” that lets us know when we have crossed the boundaries, behaving in a way that does not truly mirror the self.

The conscience is the internalisation of societal rules. It determines which behaviours are allowed and causes guilt when rules are broken.

The superego represents the moral standards of the internalised parent and will punish the ego for eventual mistakes by feelings of guilt.

The superego’s function is to control the id’s impulses, especially those society forbids, such aggression. It also persuades the ego to turn to moralistic goals and seek the idealised self.

The superego has two systems: The conscience and the ideal self.

The conscience is the inner voice that whispers to us when we do something wrong. The conscience can punish the ego by raising guilt feelings driving us to our “ideal self”.

If the ego surrenders to the id’s demands, the superego will enlighten a person’s feelings of guilt.

Difference between ego and superego

The ego works in the conscious, preconscious, and unconscious minds. The superego is the internalised aspect of personality that holds all of the moral principles and ideals that we learn from parents and society based on our notions of right and wrong.

The superego gives us the guidelines for making our judgments, and it begins to emerge around age five.

Complementing the difference between ego and superego in Freud’s words:

Freud made the analogy of the id being a horse while the ego is the rider. The ego is ‘like a man on horseback, who has to hold in check the superior strength of the horse.’ (Freud, 1923, p. 15)

Id Ego Superego - Key takeaways

  • The psychodynamic perspective proposes psychological drives emphasise human behaviour, feelings, and emotions. Based on these energies at play, Freud proposed the notion of the unconscious mind.
  • The unconscious extended its influence into every part of our waking and sleeping lives. Traumatic memories actively prevent the unconscious mind from reaching conscious awareness.
  • Jung’s view on the unconscious mind did not differ from Freud’s. However, the collective unconscious theory believes it is the deepest level of the personality (psyche). It contains inherited ancestral memories and archetypal experiences of an entire human species rather than one individual.
  • The conscious mind consists of the mental processes we are aware of.
  • The unconscious mind compartmentalises mental processes that are not accessible to the consciousness, but it presently affects behaviour, feelings, and even judgements.
  • The id is the primitive or instinctive part of the mind containing aggressive, sexual drives and hidden memories.
  • “Freud made the analogy of the id being a horse while the ego is the rider. The ego is ‘like a man on horseback, who has to hold in check the superior strength of the horse.’”
  • The ego uses the reality principle.
  • The superego controls our moral conscience.

Frequently Asked Questions about Id Ego Superego

The id is our instinctive part that contains aggressive and sexual drives and hidden memories. The superego controls our moral conscience, which is also related to the ideal self. The ego is the part that deals with reality and works as a mediator of the desires of the id and the superego.

These parts interact to form a whole, and each part makes a relative contribution to our behaviour.

It was Sigmund Freud.

The structure of personality describes that the mind is structured into three parts (also known as tripartite), the id, ego and superego. These systems are developed in different stages in our lives.

The ego affects our personality by mediating between the impulsive demands of the id and the reality of the external world. It helps us to make the right decision. The id is the instinctive part of the mind and contains aggressive, sexual drives and hidden memories from the past that can still affect us in the future. The superego controls our moral conscience.

The role of the unconscious is a complex of mental activities, outside the awareness realm. Sigmund Freud claimed that unconscious processes affect our behaviour throughout life, based on unconscious childhood conflicting experiences.

The unconscious mind actively represses traumatic memories from reaching conscious awareness. These memories might cause anxiety; therefore, the mind uses defence mechanisms to avoid discomfort. 

One example of the unconscious in psychology is the development of personality such as ego, id, and superego.

The unconscious is a reservoir of emotions and feelings that happened in the past. During the development of a child, lots of memories are kept in the unconscious mind. The id for example is the instinctive part of the mind that contains hidden memories from the past that can still affect us in the future. The superego is the part that mediates our moral conscience, also mostly acquired from the parents, during childhood.

Final Id Ego Superego Quiz

Question

What is the psychodynamic perspective of the unconscious mind?

Show answer

Answer

The psychodynamic perspective proposes that psychological drives emphasise human behaviour, feelings, and emotions. Based on these energies at play, Freud proposed the notion of the unconscious mind. 



Show question

Question

What is the unconscious mind known for?



Show answer

Answer

The unconscious mind is known as the place that stores feelings, thoughts, urges, and memories outside of our conscious awareness.



Show question

Question

What kind of information does the unconscious mind hide from our 

conscious mind?

Show answer

Answer

The unconscious mind keeps the information 

that is unacceptable or unpleasant, such as pain, 

anxiety, and conflict. Overall, traumatic experiences 

can reveal themselves in many different ways.



Show question

Question

Was Jung’s view on the unconscious mind different from Freud?



Show answer

Answer

The unique unconscious concept did not differ from Freud’s idea. However, he proposed the unconscious to be divided into the personal unconscious and the collective unconscious. However, the collective unconscious theory believes it is the deepest level of the personality (psyche). It contains inherited ancestral memories and archetypal experiences of an entire human species rather than one individual.



Show question

Question

What is the metaphor of the 

iceberg proposed by Freud?

Show answer

Answer

Freud used the analogy of an iceberg when describing different levels of the mind. 



Show question

Question

From (1900 - 1905) Freud developed the topographical model of the mind; what was he describing?



Show answer

Answer

Freud developed a topographical model of the mind. He was describing the 

features of the mind structure and functioning, the ego, superego and id. 



Show question

Question

What is one example of the conscious mind?



Show answer

Answer

Suppose you feel hungry at this moment and decide to eat. This is a feeling you are aware of and can act on with clarity. 



Show question

Question

What is one example of the preconscious mind?

Show answer

Answer

You are not presently thinking about your email address, but now as mentioned, you can easily recall it.

Show question

Question

Are negative emotions or traumas readily available in the preconscious mind?


Show answer

Answer

No. Negative emotions or traumas are repressed and not readily available in the preconscious mind.

Show question

Question

True or False: The unconscious mind compartmentalises mental processes that are not accessible to the consciousness, but it affects behaviour, feelings, and even judgements.

Show answer

Answer

True!

Show question

Question

What is the id? 



Show answer

Answer

The id is the primitive or instinctive part of the mind 

containing aggressive, sexual drives and hidden memories.



Show question

Question

True or False: The ego does not use the reality principle.



Show answer

Answer

False!

Show question

Question

What is the superego?



Show answer

Answer

The superego controls our moral conscience.



Show question

Question

How many systems and what are the 

systems related to the superego?


Show answer

Answer

The superego has two systems: 

The conscience and the ideal self. 



Show question

Question

What is one example of the superego?



Show answer

Answer

For example, if the ego surrenders to the id’s demands, the superego will enlighten a person’s feelings of guilt.



Show question

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