An Overly-Conscious Conscious: The Possibility of an Over-Dominant Superego

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An Overly-Conscious Conscious: The Possibility of an Over-Dominant Superego One of the most common theories in psychology - known to people whether they are studying psychology or not - is the psychoanalytic theory of the human personality according to Sigmund Freud. In his theory, there are three parts of the human mind which dictate what we do, and why we do it. The first and most primitive part of the mind is the id: Freud saw this part as something humans are born with and as the source of all drives and urges. Essentially, the id operates on the pleasure principle - somewhat like a spoiled child; this part of the mind desires immediate gratification, and cannot tolerate any wait in getting what it wants. This part of the mind clearly dominates the human during infancy, demonstrated by the incessant crying of a child when it craves anything from attention to food. The next, more realistic part of the mind forms at about two or three years of a person’s life, and is called the ego. The ego operates on the reality principle, constraining the id’s desires and understanding how those urges can conflict with social and physical reality (Buss, Larsen, 2003). This part of the mind seems to be most like a moderator in any situation – controlling both sides with a peaceful and balanced agreement. The other “side”, and third part of the mind, therefore, is called the superego. The superego is looked at to be the upholder of societal values and ideals. This third part of the mind develops during the first five years of life in response to parental punishment and approval. Development of the superego occurs as a result of the child’s internalization of his parents’ moral standards, a process greatly aided by a tendency to identify with the parents. The developing superego absorbs the traditions of the family and the surrounding society and serves to control aggressive

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