1: Sigmund Freud's View of Personality
2: Drives, Structural and Topographical Models
3: Freuds Stages of Psychosexual Development
4: Freud's Ego Defense Mechanisms
to Sigmund Freud, there are only two basic drives
that serve to motivate all thoughts, emotions, and
behavior. These two drives are, simply put,
sex and aggression. Also called Eros and Thanatos, or life and death, respectively, they
underlie every motivation we as humans experience.
you learn more about Freud's theories, you'll start
to see a sexual pattern develop, one that emphasizes
sex as a major driving force in human nature.
While this can seem overdone at times, remember what
sex represents. Sexual activity is a means to
procreation, to bringing about life and therefore
assuring the continuation of our bloodline.
Even in other animals, sex is a primary force to
assure the survival of the species.
or the death instinct, on the other hand serves just
the opposite goal. Aggression is a way to
protect us from those attempting harm. The
aggression drive is a means to allow us to procreate
while at the same time eliminating our enemies who
may try to prevent us from doing so.
it sounds very primitive, it must not be looked at
merely as sexual activity and aggressive acts.
These drives entail the whole survival instinct and
could, perhaps, be combined into this one drive: The
drive to stay alive, procreate, and prevent others
from stopping or reducing these needs. Looking
at the animal kingdom it is easy to see these forces
driving most, if not all, of their behavior.
look at a few examples. Why would an adult
decide to get a college degree? According to
Freud, we are driven to improve ourselves so that we
may be more attractive to the opposite sex and
therefore attract a better mate. With a better
mate, we are more likely to produce offspring and
therefore continue our bloodline. Furthermore,
a college degree is likely to bring a higher income,
permitting advantages over others who may be seen as
Structural and Topographical Models of Personality
Freud's Theory is quite complex and although his
writings on psychosexual development set the
groundwork for how our personalities developed, it
was only one of five parts to his overall theory of
personality. He also believed that different
driving forces develop during these stages which
play an important role in how we interact with the
Model (id, ego, superego)
to Freud, we are born with our Id.
The id is an important part of our personality
because as newborns, it allows us to get our basic
needs met. Freud believed that the id is based
on our pleasure principle. In other words, the
id wants whatever feels good at the time, with no
consideration for the reality of the situation.
When a child is hungry, the id wants food, and
therefore the child cries. When the child
needs to be changed, the id cries. When the
child is uncomfortable, in pain, too hot, too cold,
or just wants attention, the id speaks up until his
or her needs are met.
id doesn't care about reality, about the needs of
anyone else, only its own satisfaction. If you
think about it, babies are not real considerate of
their parents' wishes. They have no care for
time, whether their parents are sleeping, relaxing,
eating dinner, or bathing. When the id wants
something, nothing else is important.
the next three years, as the child interacts more
and more with the world, the second part of the
personality begins to develop. Freud called
this part the Ego.
The ego is based on the reality principle. The
ego understands that other people have needs and
desires and that sometimes being impulsive or
selfish can hurt us in the long run. Its the
ego's job to meet the needs of the id, while taking
into consideration the reality of the situation.
the age of five, or the end of the phallic stage of
development, the Superego
develops. The Superego is the moral part of us
and develops due to the moral and ethical restraints
placed on us by our caregivers. Many equate
the superego with the conscience as it dictates our
belief of right and wrong.
a healthy person, according to Freud, the ego is the
strongest so that it can satisfy the needs of the
id, not upset the superego, and still take into
consideration the reality of every situation.
Not an easy job by any means, but if the id gets too
strong, impulses and self gratification take over
the person's life. If the superego becomes to
strong, the person would be driven by rigid morals,
would be judgmental and unbending in his or her
interactions with the world. You'll learn how
the ego maintains control as you continue to read.
believed that the majority of what we experience in
our lives, the underlying emotions, beliefs,
feelings, and impulses are not available to us at a
conscious level. He believed that most of what
drives us is buried in our unconscious.
If you remember the Oedipus and Electra Complex,
they were both pushed down into the unconscious, out
of our awareness due to the extreme anxiety they
caused. While buried there, however, they
continue to impact us dramatically according to
role of the unconscious is only one part of the
model. Freud also believed that everything we
are aware of is stored in our conscious.
Our conscious makes up a very small part of who we
are. In other words, at any given time, we are
only aware of a very small part of what makes up our
personality; most of what we are is buried and
final part is the preconscious or subconscious.
This is the part of us that we can access if
prompted, but is not in our active conscious.
Its right below the surface, but still buried
somewhat unless we search for it. Information
such as our telephone number, some childhood
memories, or the name of your best childhood friend
is stored in the preconscious.
the unconscious is so large, and because we are only
aware of the very small conscious at any given time,
this theory has been likened to an iceberg, where
the vast majority is buried beneath the water's
surface. The water, by the way, would
represent everything that we are not aware of, have
not experienced, and that has not been integrated
into our personalities, referred to as the