The Ego And The Reality Principle

The Ego And The Reality Principle

According to the original psychoanalyst, Sigmund Freud, our ego is part of our personality that is between the id (our primal, animalistic instincts), our superego (the mature personality formed by the kind of upbringing and social influences in one’s life) and reality.

The ego works based on the reality principle, which strives to satisfy the id's desires in realistic and socially appropriate ways. The reality principle analyses the costs and benefits of an action before deciding to act upon or abandon impulses.

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Sigmund Freud

"The ego represents what we call reason and sanity, in contrast to the id which contains the passions."

The ego has its one internal, silent and invisible measures, known as defense mechanisms to curb the ‘id’. These measures are not visible and can only be known retroactively, like repression, for example.

Our basic and primal instincts are regulated by our ego, and our more moral and idealistic standards, set by the superego, are also kept under check. The ego operates in the preconscious, unconscious and conscious states of the mind. Example: The ego is a safety valve that prevents us from getting out of the car and attacking the driver that has offended us for some reason, however satisfying that may seem at the moment.

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RELATED IDEAS

Sigmund Freud's theory of personality

Freud proposed that the human psyche comprises three separate but related parts that form a person's personality.

  • The id
  • The ego
  • The superego

Freud suggested that the three parts develop at different times and have different roles but work together to form a whole.

Freud's Id, Ego, and Superego Explained

thoughtco.com

Personality Psychology: Important Terminology
  • Classical conditioning: A behavioural technique where a natural stimulus is paired with a previously neutral stimulus. The previously neutral stimulus eventually cause the response without pairing it to the natural stimulus.
  • Operant conditioning: A behaviour training technique where punishments or reinforcements influence behaviour.
  • Unconscious: The container for feelings, thoughts, urges, and memories.
  • Id: The personality component made up of unconscious psychic energy used to satisfy basic urges, needs, and desires.
  • Ego: The unconscious part of the personality that moderates the id's demands, the superego, and reality.
  • Superego: The part of personality composed of our internalised ideals that comes from our parents and society.

What Personality Theories in Psychology May Tell You About Yours

verywellmind.com

Repression: A Primer

Repression in psychological terms is a defence mechanism that involves keeping our feelings, thoughts and urges out of our conscious awareness. Our unacceptable desires are kept away from our consciousness so that we are less anxious.

It is a process by which painful and disturbing thoughts are intentionally hidden, and was first identified by Sigmund Freud. He compared the mind to an iceberg, where only the tip is visible and the major portion is hidden.

How Does Repression Work in Our Unconscious Mind?

verywellmind.com

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