Freud's Theory of Personality

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The conscious mind

Consists of all the mental processes which we are aware of.

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The preconscious mind

Contains all the memories that are not at present in the conscious but have not yet been repressed. These can be brought into the consciousness without much effort.

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The unconscious mind

Contains material that is too threatening to be permitted access to the conscious.

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The ID

  • exists at birth
  • operates according to the pleasure principle
  • reduce tension, avoid pain and obtain pleasure without consideration
  • springs from what Freud held to be two instinctive drives that all humans possess:
  • Eros - libido (sexual desire)
  • Thanatos - death or aggressive instinct which will attack anyone or anything that interferes with the gratification of the libido
  • to satisfy the libido, the id seeks complete possession of everything that it wants or loves
  • as we grow up-, we learn to control the demands of the id
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The EGO

  • from around the age of 2
  • it's the conscious part of the mind
  • acts as a kind of referee between the id and the superego
  • operates according to the reality principle
  • represents reason and good sense
  • has defence mechanisms
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The SUPEREGO

  • from around the age of 4 or 5 years
  • operates according to the morality principle
  • consists of two parts:
  • Ego - ideal which tells us what we should be and do
  • Conscience which tells us what we should not be and do
  • makes us feel good and proud when we do something good and miserable, guilty and shameful when we go against the rules
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The ORAL stage

  • 0-2 years
  • the mouth is the focus of sensation and stimulation
  • people who remain fixated at the oral stage, perhaps by early weaning, may as adults, seek constant oral gratification by smoking, chewing etc
  • personality traits resulting from oral fixation including dependancy and gullibility etc
  • during this stage, only the id is in existance
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The ANAL stage

  • 2-4 years
  • ego starts to develop as the child becoms aware of the self and recognises that she must take account of the demands of reality
  • libido is directed towards the a*al region
  • conflict may lead to a*al fixation and two different personality traits:
  • Anal-retentive - self controlled, holds everything in
  • Anal-expulsion - careless, messy, stubborn
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The PHALLIC stage

  • 4-6 years
  • oedipus complex
  • boys go through it differently to girls
  • castration anxiety
  • girls believe they have already been castrated and feel inadiquit because of lack of pen*s
  • females resolves pen*s envy by having children
  • Freud concluded that women don't develop the same superegos as men
  • in both s*xes, the s*xual feelings towards the opposite s*x parents are repressed for a number of years
  • by about 5, the oedipus complex is resolved and the childs personality patterns are formed
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The LATENCY stage

  • 6-puberty
  • s*xuality lies dormant and children want nothing to do with the opposite s*x
  • they develop self confidence and learn social rules for the appropriate male and female behaviours
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The GENITAL stage

  • puberty onwards
  • sexual energy is now directed towards the gentials and eventually s*xual intercourse
  • the defence mechanisms of the ego and the displacement of instinctual energy may prevent people from reaching mature genital sexuality
  • in Freud's view, or*l and an*l stimualtion, masterbation and homosexual activity would all represent pregenital fixations and immature forms of s*xuality
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