Tag: superego

Freud’s Psychoanalytic Theory Of Personality Development

Freud’s Psychoanalytic Theory Of Personality Development

Freud’s Psychoanalytic Theory Of Personality Development


Freud’s Psychoanalytic Theory of personality argues that human behavior is the result of the interactions among three component of the mind: the id, ego, and superego. This theory, known as Freud’s structural theory of personality, places great emphasis on the role of unconscious psychological conflicts in shaping behavior and personality.


According to Freud’s Psychoanalytic Theory, personality develops through a series of stages, each characterised by a certain internal psychological conflict


Freud's Psychoanalytic Theory
Freuds Structure Of Human Mind

Freud (1923) later developed a more structural model of the mind comprising the entities id, ego and superego. These are not physical areas within the brain, but rather hypothetical conceptualizations of important mental functions.
Each component not only adds its own unique contribution to personality, but all three elements interact in ways that have a powerful influence on each individual.
According to theory, certain aspects of your personality more primal and might pressure to act upon your most basic urges. Other parts of your personality work to counteract these urges and strive to make you conform the demands of reality.


Let’s have a closer look at each of these key parts of personality, and how they work individually in details:


Freud’s Structure of the Human Mind-


According to Freud, our personality develops from the interactions among what he proposed as the three fundamental structures of the human mind: the id, ego, and superego. Conflicts among these three structures, and our efforts to find balance among what each of them “desires,” determines how we behave and approach the world.

Freud's Psychoanalytic Theory

The Id


The ID is the only component of personality that is present from birth. This aspect of personality is entirely unconscious and includes the instinctive and primitive behaviors. According to Freud, the id is the source of all psychic energy, making it the primary component of personality.

It is the part of the unconscious that seeks pleasure. Freud’s idea of the id explains why people act out in certain ways, when it is not in line. It is the part of the mind, which holds all of human’s most basic and primal instincts. It is the impulsive, unconscious part of the mind that is based on desire to seek immediate satisfaction. The id does not have a grasp on any form of reality or consequence. Freud understood that some people are controlled by the id because it makes people engage in need-satisfying behavior without any accordance to what is right or wrong.

Freud's Psychoanalytic Theory

Freud defined the id as the part of the mind “cut off from the external world, has a world of perception of its own. It detects with extraordinary acuteness certain changes in its interior, especially oscillations in the tension of its instinctual needs, and these changes become conscious as feelings in the pleasure-unpleasure series. It is hard to say, to be sure, by what means and with the help of what sensory terminal organs these perceptions come about.

The id is driven by the pleasure principle, which strives for immediate gratification of all desires, wants, and needs. If these needs are not satisfied immediately, the result is a state anxiety or tension.

This sort of behavior would be both disruptive and socially unacceptable. According to Freud, the id tries to resolve the tension created by the pleasure principle through the primary process, which involves forming a mental image of the desired object as a way of satisfying the need.

Although people eventually learn to control the id, this part of personality remains the same infantile, primal force all throughout life. It is the development of the ego and the superego that allows people to control the id’s basic instincts and act in ways that are both realistic and socially acceptable.

 The Ego


The EGO is the component of personality that is responsible for dealing with reality. According to Freud, the ego develops from the id and ensures that the impulses of the id can be expressed in a manner acceptable in the real world.
The ego operates based on the reality principle, which strives to satisfy the id’s desires in realistic and socially appropriate ways. The reality principle weighs the costs and benefits of an action before deciding to act upon or abandon impulses. In many cases, the id’s impulses can be satisfied through a process of delayed gratification–the ego will eventually allow the behavior, but only in the appropriate time and place.

Freud's Psychoanalytic Theory
The ego also discharges tension created by unmet impulses through the secondary process, in which the ego tries to find an object in the real world that matches the mental image created by the id’s primary process.


Freud used the word ego to mean a sense of self, but later revised it to mean a set of psychic functions such as judgment, tolerance, reality testing, control, planning, defense, synthesis of information, intellectual functioning, and memory.


In contrast to the instinctual id and the moral superego, the ego is the rational, pragmatic part of our personality. It is less primitive than the id and is partly conscious and partly unconscious. It’s what Freud considered to be the “self,” and its job is to balance the demands of the id and superego in the practical context of reality.
In order for people to maintain a realistic sense here on earth, the ego is responsible for creating balance between pleasure and pain. It is impossible for all desires of the id to be met and the ego realizes this but continues to seek pleasure and satisfaction.


Although the ego does not know the difference between right and wrong, it is aware that not all drives can be met at a given time. The reality principle is what the ego operates by in order to help satisfy the id’s demands as well as compromising according to reality. Although both the id and the ego are unconscious, the ego has close contact with the perceptual system. The ego has the function of self-preservation, it has the ability to control the instinctual demands from the id.

The Superego


The superego, which develops around age four or five, incorporates the morals of society. Freud believed that the superego is what allows the mind to control its impulses that are looked down upon morally. The superego can be considered to be the conscience of the mind because it has the ability to distinguish between reality as well as what is right or wrong. Without the superego Freud believed people would act out with aggression and other immoral behaviors because the mind would have no way of understanding the difference between right and wrong.


Freud's Psychoanalytic Theory

The superego is considered to be the “consciousness” of a person’s personality and can override the drives from the id. Freud separates the superego into two separate categories; the ideal self and the conscious. The conscious contains ideals and morals that exist within society that prevent people from their internal desires. The ideal self contains images of how people ought to behave according to societies ideals.


Freud’s concept of the human mind is processed through each stage. The super ego functions at a conscious level. It serves as a type of screening center for what is going on. Society and parental guidance is weighed against personal pleasure at this level. Obviously, this puts in motion situations ripe for conflict. The last component of personality to develop is the superego.
The superego acts to perfect and civilize our behavior. It works to suppress all unacceptable urges of the id and struggles to make the ego act upon idealistic standards rather that upon realistic principles. The superego is present in the conscious, preconscious, and unconscious.


Freud's Psychoanalytic Theory

Freud believed that the id, ego, and superego are in constant conflict and that adult personality and behavior are rooted in the results of these internal struggles throughout childhood. Much like a judge in a trial, once experiences processed through the superego and the id fall into the ego to mediate a satisfactory outcome.


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