Jessica Mingrone 5/19/03
Personalty is defined as a distinctive pattern of behavior,
thoughts, motives, and emotions that characterizes an individual over time. Through out the ages, many people have tried to better understand human behavior and to try and define the many elements it consists of. Sigmund Freud came up with a very unique theory to try and define personality. It came to be known as Freud’s personality theory, and although it isn’t accurate it inspired many present day personality ideas.
Sigmund Freud believed that biology played a major part in human development, although not in terms of specific instincts. He studied the behavior of many people to try and figure out the human mind and how personality developed. The theory that he came up with was very interesting but can not be fully accepted, because he studied a very small group of individuals- mostly the rich and mostly men. He was a very controversial figure in his time, but he definitely influenced human personality.
Freud believed that Humans had two basic needs. One was the need for bonding (also known as the life instinct) and the second is the aggressive drive (also known as the death instinct). Both these drives operate on the unconscious level. Freud believed that there was a model personality- basic needs plus influence of society to for this. He believed it to have three parts. The Id, ego and superego.
The Id, as Freud believed was the basic human drives, (unconscious) and that it demands immediate satisfaction. The Id is present at birth and society opposes it because it is self centered. The Id works with the pleasure principal. Which is the demand to take care of its needs. The Id does not know what it wants in an adult sense but It does know that it wants something and that it cannot wait to get it- it wants it now. For example a screaming baby wants food and it wants it when it cries for it, right then and there. It does not understand anything but its selfish needs. The baby will continue to scream until it gets what it wants- the food and it will scream for the attention until it cant think of anything else. This is where the drive breaks into the consciousness. The ego relates the organism to reality by means of its consciousness, and it searches for objects to satisfy the wishes that id creates to represent the organisms needs. This activity is called the secondary process. . The second process is called the Ego. It is based on the reality principal. The ego is when a person approaches the world realistically. A persons conscience efforts balance innate pleasure- seeking drives with the demands of society. The ego develops as a human being becomes aware of themself and that they cannot have everything that they want in reality. It Is the egos job to meet the needs of the id, while taking into consideration the reality of the situation. For example a child cries for food but understands that the mother will feed it when it is the right time to eat.
The third process is called the superego. The superego is the human personality. The operation of culture within the individual (conscience). The superego tells a person why they cannot have everything that they want. It forms as a child becomes aware of parental control and as they mature to understand that everyone’s behavior must conform to cultural norms. For example the child wants food, knows that the mother will feed it, but understands that the mother has her own life and will do it when she has time to.
The id and the superego remain in conflict however. Somehow the ego manages the two opposite forces. But if the conflict is not resolved, it could result in a personality disorder later on in their life. After this happens a person Soon comes to a sublimation. Sublimation is a compromise of self and of society. It redirects selfish drives into socially acceptable behavior. A human realizes they must obey some laws of society and act according to what is acceptable.
Although Sigmund Feud’s personality theory is not a hundred percent accepted, it has had a great impact on the study of the human mind and human personality. Freud was not too far off however, because many of the parts of the theory seem to prove true, even today. The human mind is very complex and will take a long time to fully understand.