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Id, Ego & Superego

Id, Ego & Superego

Description:

This lesson will define and discuss Freud's view on the structure of personality through analysis of the id, ego, and superego.

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Tutorial

This lesson is going to cover Freud's theory on personality by examining:

  1. The Id
  2. The Super Ego
  3. The Ego

1. The Id

Psychoanalytic theory attempts to uncover how unconscious forces can affect our conscious minds. Freud originally proposed in the late 1800s an idea that the self is composed of three different parts, and the interaction between these three different parts is what creates a person’s personality.

The first part of our unconscious mind is the id. The id is primitive and animalistic, and it provides the mental energy for us. It operates on what's called the pleasure principle. The pleasure principle says that we need to immediately satisfy any kinds of needs or desires that we have.

ExampleIf a person is hungry, they eat. If someone sees something that they like, they take it.


Term to Know

  • Id
  • Unconscious part of the personality that provides mental energy; driven by the desire for pleasure.

The id also generates what's called the libido, which is the mental energy for personality; it's the drive behind it. The libido is divided into:

  • Life energies- motivations to survive and seek pleasure
  • Death energies- anger and a desire for destruction, so wanting to destroy things.

Term to Know

  • Libido
  • Life force.

2. The Super Ego

The super ego is other part of our unconscious as well as a little part our conscious mind. The superego is the part of the personality that judges and provide standards for our behaviors. It's the sort of opposite of the id. It balances out the impulsiveness of the id with values about what we should or should not be doing. There are two parts of a superego:

  • The ego ideal - a person’s standards of good behavior for themselves. This is a person’s standard for what is considered to be a good or bad person. Often this comes from parents when growing up.
  • The conscience- the standards for bad behaviors, what we consider to be negative or unwanted. These standards come from a person’s parent and the general society

Terms to Know

  • Superego
  • The conscience; part of personality that judges and provides standards for behavior.
  • Ego Ideal
  • Standard for good behavior; when we meet this standard we fell pride.

There is a conflict that's constantly going on between the id and the superego, and this conflict creates anxiety. If the id wins, the anxiety manifests itself by the superego by creating feelings of guilt.

ExampleIf you eat a whole cake because the Id says eat, eat, eat, then the superego will make you feel guilty about the fact that you did that. It might make you feel like you have to go to the gym to work it off.

If the superego wins, then the id needs to channel those energies that were created by that need into other activities. And this is either displacing or sublimating the energies through acceptable means.

Example  Instead of doing something that you are not supposed to do, you might instead try to channel that energy into sports or dance.


3. The Ego

The last part of the mind is the ego. The ego is the central part of our personality. It helps to direct the actions and thoughts of our conscious minds. The ego is responsible for all of our thinking, planning, deciding, and everything in our interactions with the external world. It also acts to moderate the superego and ego.

Term to Know

  • Ego
  • Part of the personality that directs and controls conscious thoughts.

The ego deals with the desires of the id in a realistic and socially acceptable kind of way, which is to say, our superego. This is what we call the reality principle, and is what operates the ego. The ego resolves any kind of anxiety that occurs as a result of conflicts between the id and the superego.


Summary

Freud stated as part of the psychoanalytic theory that the self is composed of three parts. The id is an unconscious part of the mind that provides mental energy, of libido, and operates on the pleasure principal. The super ego is part of our unconscious and conscious mind. It is made up of the ego ideal and the conscience. The conflict between these two parts creates anxiety. The ego works as a moderator for both and resolves the anxiety that is created.

Keep up the learning and have a great day!

Source: This work is adapted from Sophia author Erick Taggart.

TERMS TO KNOW
  • Libido

    Life force.

  • Ego Ideal

    Standard for good behavior; when we meet this standard we fell pride.

  • Superego

    The conscience; part of personality that judges and provides standards for behavior.

  • Ego

    Part of the personality that directs and controls conscious thoughts.

  • Id

    Unconscious part of the personality that provides mental energy; driven by the desire for pleasure.