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Freud's theory of
personality
O Three aspects to the personality ­ the id, the ego and the
superego.
O The personality develops through the first five years of
childhood.
O The id is the first part to develop, and is the instructive part, it
demands immediate satisfaction which can be referred to as
the pleasure principle, the main purpose of the id is to gain
pleasure and gratification.
O The ego then develops at about 2 years old which is the rational
part of the personality and it is through the ego that the id gets
what it wants, it attempts to find realistic ways of coping with
the demands of the id in a socially acceptable manner (reality
principle).
O The superego is the third aspect of the personality and acts on
the morality principle, developing at around four years which
embodies the child's sense of right or wrong as well as his or
her ideal self. The super ego aims to perfect our behaviour
learnt through identification with parents and others (morality
principle)…read more

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Freud's theory of
personality
O For the adult the personality to be balanced,
with the ego successfully managing the needs of
both the id and the superego.
O When this balance is lost, such as when the id or
superego is more in control, neuroses can occur
and the individual has problems.
O One way of maintaining balance between the id,
the ego and the superego is to stop some
thoughts and desires becoming conscious ­
defence mechanisms support this function.
O The personality develops through psychosexual
stages.…read more

Slide 4

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The mind is like an
iceberg?
EGO
SUPEREGO
ID…read more

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The role of the
unconscious in Freud's
theory
O Freud proposed that the mind is like an iceberg ­
much of what goes on inside the mind is below
the surface and he claimed the unconscious
mind was the largest part of the mind.
O The conscious mind is logical whereas the
unconscious mind is not and is ruled by the
pleasure seeking and the preconscious mind is
the part we are unaware of but can access in the
form of memories etc.
O The unconscious mind cannot be directly
accessed but expresses itself indirectly through,
for example, dreams.…read more

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The role of the
unconscious in Freud's
theories
O The unconscious is also related to ego defence
mechanisms, conflicts between the id, ego and
superego cause anxiety.
O The ego protects itself with various ego defences
which can be the cause of disturbed behaviour if
overused.
O For example, a boy who cannot deal with what
he perceives as a maternal rejection when a new
baby brother is born may regress to an earlier
developmental stage, soiling his clothes and
becoming more dependent.…read more

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