Freud's Theory

1) You fail to study for your final examination stating that “all work and no play make Jack a dull person. ” According to Freud’s theory, how will you explain your behaviour? Sigmund Freud developed a theory about adult personality. Throughout the stages of childhood, the first part of personality, which we are all born with, is called the id. According to Freud id contains a reservoir of unconscious instincts, impulses that strives to satisfy basic sexual, and aggressive drives that operates on the pleasure principle, demanding immediate gratification.

He said that adults never lost this part of their personality, as they grew older; they just developed ways of coping with it a bit better. As the child grew older, a second part of the personality developed, which was more in touch with outside reality. This he called the ego. The ego (largely conscious) operates on the reality principle, which mediates among the demands of the id, superego and reality. It satisfies the id’s desires in ways that will realistically bring pleasure rather than pain.

For example, if you got very angry with someone, then the demands from your id might be to attack them but that is not very realistic, or socially acceptable. So the ego would take over, and find a way that the id’s demand could be satisfied, but in a better sort of way, perhaps by making a very sarcastic remark, or something similar. As the child grows older, another part of its personality develops. According to Freud, for a small child, its parents are representations of absolute authority.

They represent society and society’s demand on the child. They tell it what it ought to be doing and how it should behave. This function is called the superego. In a way, the superego is kind of internal ‘parents’ but a very authoritarian one. The superego represents internalized ideals and provides standards for judgment (the conscious) and for future aspirations. Freud saw personality in adults as being about a dynamic balance between these three aspects.

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There would be continual give and take between the id and the superego, with the ego acting as a go between. If the impulsive demands from the id become too strong, or the authoritarian superego was asking too much, the ego uses defence mechanisms which cuts out things that might destroy the dynamic balance between the three parts of the mind by allowing one side to get too strong. I failed to study for my final examination stating, “All work and no lay make Jack a dull person. ” According to Freud’s theory, because of anxiety I may rationalize unconsciously generating an overcome of cognitive dissonance to hide from myself the real reasons for my actions. My impulsive demand from the id became too sturdy, destroying the dynamic balance, thus the ego fears losing control of this inner war and the result ended in a dark cloud of unfocused anxiety. My behaviour will be self-satisfying but for an incorrect reason.

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