The ID, Ego and Superego
by Benjamin Hammond
I have just started the second part of AS Level Psychology (PSYA2) in which we are learning about abnormality, and how we identify it, class it, face it, and deal with it. It is very interesting actually. We have looked at the person who many people consider to be the beginning of Psychology – Freud. He is probably the most influential Psychologist there is. For example, before Freud, mothers didn’t breast-feed their own babies, they didn’t spend time with them, play with them etc. The nannies did all that. Also, most people with ‘mental illnesses’ would be locked up behind bars instead of receiving the appropriate treatment. He basically showed us the importance of things such as these, and the Psychology of them.
One thing Freud did was to identify the structure of the personality. He came up with a theory that there are three components to the personality: the ID, the Ego, and the Superego. The ID is the part of our personality that is there from the beginning, and is the part that focuses on our pleasure, and desires. These could be things from sex, to having a leak in the bathroom. The Superego is the part of our personality that is critical. It is what may sometimes hinder the desires the ID brings up, and usually imitates our moral structure (often picked up from parents). The ego, finally is the conscious part of our personality. It is what some may call the ‘referee’ if you like between the ID and Superego. It is what determines the dominance of either the ID or Superego. Now, when, for example, a person is governed by their ID, then you may find that you have a proud person who thinks they are pretty much perfect. But when you have someone governed by their Superego, you may find this person with low-self esteem, and possibly quite depressed. However, when the balance between the ID and Superego is found… you’re good to go. The main weakness of his theory is that there is no evidence for it, and nor is it easy to find evidence as it is virtually impossible to test/experiment on the unconscious in such a way.
Now that we have gained a basic understanding, I can move on and say that it has helped me to explain some of my behavior in a more logical way than I do. I’d say (from personal observation) that my Superego is far more dominant that my ID most of the time, but at times the ID can overtake (like when I have been showered with compliments), but soon my ego will notice this (as I examine myself quite often), and I try and put the Superego back in the castle. I think they can be generally balanced, but sometimes the Superego can be quite dominant, and I may be down. Of course, that could just be my ID saying I’m not to ID-ish, but then again, that could be my Superego examining the fact that I might be saying that because I might be too ID-ish. What about you, take a look at the ‘Man in the Mirror’ (excuse me for that). It’s interesting looking at yourself. Do you think you are governed by one or the other mainly? Or are you balanced? Once you have a better understanding of yourself, it becomes easier to identify feelings, and thus easier to deal with them. I haven’t really struggled with this as much, but this has definitely shone some more light onto things. Pardon me for this arbitrary post, but I hope you enjoyed it.