Essay: Psychology - Freud the Freudian Perspective

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Psychology - Freud


Explain Freud's views on the structure of personality and the functions of each of the structures he proposed.

Freud described the human mind as comprising three specific major components, each with distinct - and in some cases, conflicting - characteristics and functions (Gerrig and Zimbardo 2005). The "Id" corresponds to unexamined and unchecked human desires; consequently, it also represents the childhood phase of human personality development in which the individual relates to the external world exclusively in terms of wants. Freud emphasized the connection between the Id and the "pleasure principle" and suggested that it is the primary basis for the dominance of sexual pleasure, particular, in the hierarchy of human energy (Gerrig and Zimbardo 2005).

The "Super Ego" represents the polar opposite of the Id by virtue of its function to limit the degree to which the adult behavior is controlled by the Id (Pinker 2002). It equates with human moral conscience because it is responsible for maintaining learned social rules and the principles valued by parents and society. Freud conceived of the Super Ego as consisting of (1) the Ideal, representing behaviors known by the individual to be desired by parents and other authority figures, and (2) the conscience, representing the individual's innate need to comply with the Ideal. Therefore, the Super Ego is also the source of human guilt (Pinker 2002).

The "Ego" is a modulating force that, according to Freud, mediates between the unexamined wants of the Id and the limitations of the Super Ego. The Ego is synonymous with rationality and adulthood; more specifically, the Ego provides the proverbial "voice of reason" that keeps the individual from gravitating to close to either of the two polar extremes represented by the Id and the Super Ego (Gerrig… [END OF PREVIEW]

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