Psychology

Segmund Freud



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According to Freud, the id, superego and ego are the parts that make up a person's personality.

The id represents the deep, inaccessible part. The main drive of the id is immediate gratification and it is without values, ethics or logic. It is said to obey the pleasure principle, in that its main aim is indulging in pleasurable gratification without taking into account the context one is in and producing a state free from all tension or to keep the level of tension as low as possible. To do it, it uses the primary process kind of thinking which means that it uses energy from motor activities such as swelling of the bladder that results in immediate urination. For example if one is attending a lecture and begins feeling hungry, the id will work for immediate gratification of this hunger. In reality such immediate gratification cannot be attained till after the lecture is finished and the person can go eat. The part that controls the id and relates to reality is the second part, the ego. The way that person gains information about the id is through the analysis of dreams and various forms of neurotic behavior.

The ego is the executive of personality. It is the rational part that mediates between the immediate impulses of the id and the pressure from the superego. The ego operates according to the reality principle which means that it delays immediate gratification till an appropriate time. To do this, the ego employs the secondary process. This process involves learning, memory, planning and judgement. The ego takes into account the real world in a way that provides satisfaction to the person and at the same time prevents the person from being destroyed by the real world.

The third component of the personality, the superego, represents the ideals and values of society as they are conveyed to the child by what the parents do and say. Within this structure, the conscience arises. In general the role of the superego is to block the unacceptable impulses of the id and to pressure the ego to serve the ends of morality. It is concerned with the "shoulds" that one must do. Freud maintains that this part arises specifically from the resolution of the Oedipus Complex (the child's sexual attraction to the parent of the opposite sex.) When behavior is punished it becomes incorporated into the individual's conscience. On the the other hand, when behavior is rewarded it becomes part of the ego ideal.

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