What is the id, ego, and superego?

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Apr 23, 2016


The id is impulsive, the ego is rational, and the superego is moral. They are the three parts of the Freudian personality theory.


Sigmund Freud is the most famous psychiatrist and psychologist of all time. His theory of psychoanalysis focussed majorly on subconscious desires and motives. His interpretation of the human mind splits it into three parts: the id, ego, and superego.

The id (Latin for that) is the instinctive and impulsive part of the human personality which houses immediate responses, such as sexual desire, anger and hunger. The newborn baby only has an id - the other parts of the personality develop later. The id also does not change throughout life, it remains infantile and animalistic.

The ego (Latin for I) manages the id and makes it compatible with real life. It is often in charge of decisions and is more rational, in order to control the irrational and chaotic id. It has the common goal of maximising pleasure and has no concept of right or wrong, it merely goes about its function with a more strategic approach.

The superego (Latin for over I) is what imposes moral values of society or religion on our decisions. It is the last to develop because it requires more of an understanding of other people and a sense higher than the self. The superego does not necessarily act according to pleasure.

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