Id, Ego, and Superego Are Part of a Structural Model of Personality (2022)

According toSigmund Freud, human personality is complex and has more than a single component. In his famouspsychoanalytic theory, Freud states that personality is composed of three elements known as the id, the ego, and the superego. These elements work together to create complex human behaviors.

Each component adds its own unique contribution to personality and the three interact in ways that have a powerful influence on an individual. Each element of personality emerges at different points in life.

According to Freud's theory, certain aspects of your personality are more primal and might pressure you to act upon your most basic urges. Other parts of your personality work to counteract these urges and strive to make you conform to the demands of reality.

Here's a closer look at each of these key parts of the personality, how they work individually, and how they interact.

Id, Ego, and Superego Are Part of a Structural Model of Personality (1)

(Video) FREUD's Personality Theory: Id, Ego, Superego (Structural Model)

The Id

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

The id is driven by thepleasure 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. For example, an increase in hunger or thirst should produce an immediate attempt to eat or drink.

The id is very important early in life because it ensures that an infant's needs are met. If the infant is hungry or uncomfortable, they will cry until the demands of the id are satisfied. Young infants are ruled entirely by the id, there is no reasoning with them when these needs demand satisfaction.

Imagine trying to convince a baby to wait until lunchtime to eat their meal. The id requires immediate satisfaction, and because the other components of personality are not yet present, the infant will cry until these needs are fulfilled.

However, immediately fulfilling these needs is not always realistic or even possible. If we were ruled entirely by the pleasure principle, we might find ourselves grabbing the things that we want out of other people's hands to satisfy our own cravings.

This 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 use ofprimary process thinking, 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 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.

(Video) Sigmund Freud's Structure of Personality: the Id, Ego, and Superego

The Ego

  • 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 functions in theconscious,preconscious, andunconsciousmind.
  • The ego is the component of personality that is responsible for dealing with reality

The ego operates based on thereality 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 ofdelayed gratification—the ego will eventually allow the behavior, but only in the appropriate time and place.

Freud compared the id to a horse and the ego to the horse's rider. The horse provides the power and motion, while the rider provides direction and guidance. Without its rider, the horse may simply wander wherever it wished and do whatever it pleased. The rider gives the horse directions and commands to get it to go where the rider wants it to go.

The ego also discharges tension created by unmet impulses through secondary process thinking, 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.

Imagine that you are stuck in a long meeting at work. You find yourself growing increasingly hungry as the meeting drags on. While the id might compel you to jump up from your seat and rush to the break room for a snack, the ego guides you to sit quietly and wait for the meeting to end.

(Video) Sigmund Freud | Structure of personality | id, Ego, Superego

Instead of acting upon the primal urges of the id, you spend the rest of the meeting imagining yourself eating a cheeseburger. Once the meeting is finally over, you can seek out the object you were imagining and satisfy the demands of the id in a realistic and appropriate manner.

The Superego

The last component of personality to develop is the superego.

  • According to Freud, the superego begins to emerge at around age five.
  • The superego holds the internalized moral standards and ideals that we acquire from our parents and society (our sense of right and wrong).
  • The superego provides guidelines for making judgments.

The superego has two parts:

  1. The conscienceincludes information about things that are viewed as bad by parents and society. These behaviors are often forbidden and lead to bad consequences, punishments, or feelings of guilt and remorse.
  2. The ego idealincludes the rules and standards for behaviors that the ego aspires to.

The superego tries 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.

The Interaction of the Id, Ego, and Superego

When talking about the id, the ego, and the superego, it is important to remember that these are not three separate entities with clearly defined boundaries. These aspects are dynamic and always interacting to influence an individual's overall personality and behavior.

With many competing forces, it is easy to see how conflict might arise between the id, ego, and superego. Freud used the termego strengthto refer to the ego's ability to function despite these dueling forces.

A person who has good ego strength can effectively manage these pressures, while a person with too much or too little ego strength can be unyielding or disruptive.

(Video) Freud's Psychoanalytic Theory on Instincts: Motivation, Personality and Development

What Happens If There Is an Imbalance?

According to Freud, the key to a healthy personality is a balance between the id, the ego, and the superego.

If the ego is able to adequately moderate between the demands of reality, the id, and the superego, a healthy and well-adjusted personality emerges. Freud believed that an imbalance between these elements would lead to a maladaptive personality.

For example, an individual with an overly dominant id might become impulsive, uncontrollable, or even criminal. Such an individual acts upon their most basic urges with no concern for whether their behavior is appropriate, acceptable, or legal.

On the other hand, an overly dominant superego might lead to a personality that is extremely moralistic and judgmental. A person ruled by the superego might not be able to accept anything or anyone that they perceive to be "bad" or "immoral."

A Word From Verywell

Freud's theory provides one conceptualization of how personality is structured and how the elements of personality function. In Freud's view, a balance in the dynamic interaction of the id, ego, and superego is necessary for a healthy personality.

While the ego has a tough job to do, it does not have to act alone. Anxiety also plays a role in helping the ego mediate between the demands of the basic urges, moral values, and the real world. When you experience different types of anxiety, defense mechanisms may kick in to help defend the ego and reduce the anxiety you are feeling.

(Video) Id, Ego and Superego - Structure of Personality || ReadingisBest || Psychology Theory

FAQs

What is the structural model of personality? ›

A structural theory of personality is described that is based on a model of emotion. The theory proposes a specific network of relationships between various levels of personality. These include the levels of emotion, defense, diagnosis, and intrapsychic forces, as well as dreams and nightmares.

What are the 3 structures of personality? ›

Freud proposed that the mind is divided into three components: id, ego, and superego, and that the interactions and conflicts among the components create personality (Freud, 1923/1949). According to Freudian theory, the id is the component of personality that forms the basis of our most primitive impulses.

What is the id, ego and superego theory called? ›

In his famous psychoanalytic theory, Freud states that personality is composed of three elements known as the id, the ego, and the superego. These elements work together to create complex human behaviors. 1

How do the id, ego and superego interact to influence a person's personality? ›

The id, ego and superego work together to create human behavior. The id creates the demands, the ego adds the needs of reality, and the superego adds morality to the action which is taken.

Which is most important ID ego or superego? ›

Answer and Explanation: Freud believed that a healthy person should have the ego as the strongest component of his or her mind. This is because the ego needs to moderate between the desires of the id and the superego, either of which can be destructive in the extreme.

Who developed structural model? ›

Sigmund Freud proposed this model in 1923 to replace his earlier topographic model, in which the mind was divided into three regions: the unconscious, preconscious, and conscious. Also called structural approach; structural hypothesis; structural theory.

What is psychoanalytic theory of personality? ›

Psychoanalytic theory emphasizes that the human organism is constantly, though slowly, changing through perpetual interactions, and that, therefore, the human personality can be conceived of as a locus of change with fragile and indefinite boundaries.

What are the components of personality? ›

The Five Factor Model breaks personality down into five components: Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Openness, and Stress Tolerance. Personality tests that are based on this model measure where an individual lies on the spectrum of each of the five traits.

Who developed a psychoanalytic personality theory which involved the id, ego, and superego? ›

One of Sigmund Freud's most well-known ideas was his theory of personality, which proposed that the human psyche is composed of three separate but interacting parts: the id, the ego, and the superego.

What is Freud's psychoanalytic theory? ›

Psychoanalysis was founded by Sigmund Freud. Freud believed that people could be cured by making their unconscious. a conscious thought and motivations, and by that gaining "insight". The aim of psychoanalysis therapy is to release repressed emotions and experiences, i.e. make the unconscious conscious.

What happens when the id, ego, and superego are in conflict? ›

Parts of the unconscious mind (the id and superego) are in constant conflict with the conscious part of the mind (the ego). This conflict creates anxiety, which could be dealt with by the ego's use of defense mechanisms.

What is a structural model in psychology? ›

By. In psychology, this is approach which states that individual character has three elements, functions or divisions named as: id, ego, and superego. It is also known as structural approach or structural hypothesis.

What are Freud's 3 theories? ›

Freudian theory postulates that adult personality is made up of three aspects: (1) the id, operating on the pleasure principle generally within the unconscious; (2) the ego, operating on the reality principle within the conscious realm; and (3) the superego, operating on the morality principle at all levels of ...

What is the structural model of personality in psychoanalytic theory? ›

6.1 The Structural Model of Personality: According to Sigmund Freud's psychoanalytic theory of personality, personality is composed of three elements. These three elements of personality--known as the id, the ego and the superego--work together to create complex human behaviors.

What is the importance of id, ego, and superego in our personality? ›

According to Freud's psychoanalytic theory, the id is the primitive and instinctual part of the mind that contains sexual and aggressive drives and hidden memories, the super-ego operates as a moral conscience, and the ego is the realistic part that mediates between the desires of the id and the super-ego.

Which method did Freud use to study personality? ›

psychoanalysis, method of treating mental disorders, shaped by psychoanalytic theory, which emphasizes unconscious mental processes and is sometimes described as “depth psychology.” The psychoanalytic movement originated in the clinical observations and formulations of Austrian psychiatrist Sigmund Freud, who coined ...

What is the difference between ego and superego? ›

Ego refers to the realistic and controlling component of the psyche. In comparison, the superego is the last component which refers to the critical and moralizing part.

What is the meaning of structural model? ›

The structural model consists of the objects in the system and the static relationships that exist between them. Groups of objects can be partitioned into packages or subsystems. Object model diagrams define the structural model. This section describes the code generated from object model diagrams.

Is structural equation modeling a theory? ›

The purpose of structural equation modeling (SEM) is to define a theoretical causal model consisting of a set of predicted covariances between variables and then test whether it is plausible when compared to the observed data (Jöreskog, 1970; Wright, 1934).

What is type theory of personality? ›

Type theory is a theory of personality that states that human beings have different temperaments and personality traits. Each personality type is defined by a set of stable characteristics: such as introversion or extroversion. Personality traits can be found within personality types: such as loyalty or generosity.

What is theory of personality? ›

Personality theories study how an individual develops their personality and can be utilized in studying personality disorders. These theories address whether personality is a biological trait or one that is developed through a person's interaction with their environment.

Which of the following is not a component of personality? ›

Q.Which of the following is NOT a component of personality?
B.family. .
C.traits.
D.attitude
Answer» b. family. .
1 more row

What are the 3 main theories of personality? ›

Here are three leading theories of personality, their implications, and their applications in everyday life.
  • Freud's Theory. ...
  • Eysenck's Personality Theory. ...
  • Cattell's 16PF Trait Theory.

What are the 7 Theories of Personality? ›

The major theories include dispositional (trait) perspective, psychodynamic, humanistic, biological, behaviorist, evolutionary, and social learning perspective.

What are the six theories of personality? ›

In describing personality, we'll go through six different personality theories: psychoanalytic theory, humanistic theory, trait theory, social-cognitive theory, biological theory, and behaviorist theory.

What are the Big 5 personality models? ›

These five primary personality traits are extraversion (also often spelled extroversion), agreeableness, openness, conscientiousness, and neuroticism.

How many personality types are there? ›

Based on the answers to the questions on the inventory, people are identified as having one of 16 personality types.

Who developed the Five-Factor Model of personality? ›

Robert McCrae and Paul Costa went on to develop the Five-Factor Model (FFM), describing the personality in terms of five broad factors. Psychologist Lewis Goldberg used the term the 'Big Five' and developed the International Personality Item Pool (IPIP), the first psychometric test.

What is Freud's topographical model? ›

The topographical theory is Freud's first “map” of the different systems of the mind. According to Freud, the mental apparatus can be broadly under- stood in terms of three mental systems: the sys- tems unconscious (Ucs.), preconscious (Pcs.), and conscious (Cs.).

Is ego Super ego? ›

The superego is the ethical component of the personality and provides the moral standards by which the ego operates. The superego's criticisms, prohibitions, and inhibitions form a person's conscience, and its positive aspirations and ideals represent one's idealized self-image, or “ego ideal.”

What is a superego in psychology? ›

According to Sigmund Freud's psychoanalytic theory of personality, the superego is the component of personality composed of the internalized ideals that we have acquired from our parents and society. The superego works to suppress the urges of the id and tries to make the ego behave morally, rather than realistically.

Which of the following is the part of the personality that has the immediate gratification function? ›

According to Freud, the id is the source of all psychic energy, making it the primary component of personality. The id is driven by the pleasure principle, which strives for immediate gratification of all desires, wants, and needs.

What are Freud's 3 theories? ›

Freudian theory postulates that adult personality is made up of three aspects: (1) the id, operating on the pleasure principle generally within the unconscious; (2) the ego, operating on the reality principle within the conscious realm; and (3) the superego, operating on the morality principle at all levels of ...

What are the 3 elements of Freud's topographical model of the mind? ›

Freud's personality theory (1923) saw the psyche structured into three parts (i.e., tripartite), the id, ego and superego, all developing at different stages in our lives. These are systems, not parts of the brain, or in any way physical.

What are the three topographical models of personality according to Sigmund Freud? ›

Freud distinguishes three instances of personality according to the topographical model (Freud, 1916-17): conscious, preconscious, and unconscious. These can be clearly distinguished through psychoanalytical experience gained in the course of working with clients.

Why is the superego important *? ›

The superego is important because it controls people's impulses set forth by the id and encourages them to adhere to rules and standards.

What is psychoanalytic theory of personality? ›

Psychoanalytic theory emphasizes that the human organism is constantly, though slowly, changing through perpetual interactions, and that, therefore, the human personality can be conceived of as a locus of change with fragile and indefinite boundaries.

Why is Freud's psychoanalytic theory important? ›

Sigmund Freud's theories and work helped shape current views of dreams, childhood, personality, memory, sexuality, and therapy. Freud's work also laid the foundation for many other theorists to formulate ideas, while others developed new theories in opposition to his ideas.

Why is it called superego? ›

The superego is where morals and conscience come from, according to Freud. Your superego comes from what you've learned from parents, teachers, and other adults in your life. The word superego is the closest literal translation from the original German über-Ich.

What are the stages of personality development? ›

According to Erik H Erikson, the eight distinct stages, each with its own psychological conflict and resolution, contributing to a major aspect of personality, are: infancy (oral/sensory); early childhood (anal/muscular); play age (locomotor/genital); school age (latency); adolescence; early adulthood; adulthood; old ...

What principle is the superego based on? ›

The superego operates on the morality principle. It is the moral compass, telling people what is right and what is wrong.

What are the main components of personality? ›

The Five Factor Model breaks personality down into five components: Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Openness, and Stress Tolerance.

Which of the following is not a component of personality? ›

Q.Which of the following is NOT a component of personality?
B.family. .
C.traits.
D.attitude
Answer» b. family. .
1 more row

Which method did Freud use to study personality? ›

psychoanalysis, method of treating mental disorders, shaped by psychoanalytic theory, which emphasizes unconscious mental processes and is sometimes described as “depth psychology.” The psychoanalytic movement originated in the clinical observations and formulations of Austrian psychiatrist Sigmund Freud, who coined ...

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