Monday, March 19, 2012

Possible Midterm Question

Describe Freud's Structure of Personality.

There are three systems to Freud's theory: the id, the ego, and the superego. The id is the part of the unconscious personality that contains our needs, drives, instincts, and other repressed material. The id is with us from birth (babies are pure id) and it houses our basic instincts, our pleasure principles. It gives no thought to consequence, merely represents what the unconscious wants to do. The ego is the part of the personality that is in touch with reality and strives to meet the demands of the id and the superego. The ego is formed in the second/third year of life. It reigns in the id's desires and represents reason and good sense. It's main purpose is to balance the id and the superego, telling the unconscious what it can do. The superego is the part of the personality that is the source of conscience and counteracts the socially undesirable impulses of the id. The superego is formed through interactions with caregivers, mainly parents. It is the moral springboard for the unconscious, judging the id's activities, and letting a person know what they should do.

Defense mechanisms are certain specific means by which the ego unconsciously protects itself against unpleasant impulses or circumstances. The main six are described as follows:
  1. repression: occurs when a person unconsciously forgets information that is too painful to recall
  2. projection: occurs when a person casts feelings he/she has onto another person, or blames another person for the feelings he has
  3. displacement: occurs when a person takes out his/her anger or frustration on a person or object that is not the cause of the offense
  4. reaction formation: occurs when a person replaces feelings that are socially or personally unacceptable with emotions that are acceptable
  5. regression: occurs when a person reverts to childlike behavior to get attention he/she got when he/she was younger or to get his/her way
  6. denial: occurs when a person refuses to accept an obvious situation because of the emotional pain it causes


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