Sigmund Freud: His Work into the human psyche 

Freud, the father of psychoanalytics, explored the human condition. One of Freud’s fundamental ideas was the “unconscious mind” (NOTE: not “SUB-conscious!). 

Freud’s explanation of the human mind

Freud said the mind was spilt into free parts, namely the:

  1. Unconscious 
  2. Pre-conscious 
  3. Conscious 

Unconscious mind 

The unconscious find may be defined as the part of the mind that cannot be accessed by us. We are not aware of it. It may contain repressed urges that we find too difficult to handle, so we “push to the back of our mind”. 


The pre-conscious mind is the part of your mind that is accessible by your mind if you choose to think about it. For example, I may ask you want you had for supper or to remember your childhood pet. These things can be brought to the forefront of your awareness, so they are often found in the pre-conscious mind. 

Conscious mind 

The conscious mind is all of what you are currently aware of. For example, the words on this blog. 

The mind has often been described in terms of a football pitch in the black of night. Imagine there is a single spotlight, that can move freely across the pitch. The spotlight represents the conscious mind. The parts of the part pitch where the spotlight can reach, but currently isn’t at, is the pre-conscious mind. Everything outside of the pitch, where the spotlight cannot go, is the unconscious mind. 

(A great video on ‘Consciousness‘) 

The poets and philosophers before me discovered the unconscious. What I discovered was the scientific method by which the unconscious can be studied. 

– Sigmund Freud 

Freud’s explanation of the human personality 

FIG:1 Image of iceberg metaphor for Freud’s explanation of the human personality 

Freud believed the human personality was split into three distintive parts:

  • The Id 
  • The Ego 
  • The Superego

The Id 

When we are born, we are “little balls of id”. We want what we want… NOW! We have no control over our own impulses. The id is often described as a “devil” on your shoulder, telling you to put your own needs and desires before everyone else. 

The Ego

The ego develops next. It relies on the realistic principle. It gets the ID what it wants – but only when suitable. The Ego respects that we can’t always have what we want straight away. 

The Superego

At around age 5, the superego appears. Many described it as the angel on your shoulder, but this isn’t entirely true. The Superego is the externalised morals of our parents and society. In small doses or when adequately controlled by the Ego, the Superego gets us to act in selfless ways. However, when uncontrolled it attacks an idividals self-worth. A person can never be perfect, and the Superego is unwilling to accept this fact. 
FIG 1:


Author: Olivia Taylor

Hi! I’m Olivia. and I am here to tell you about everything Psychology. I study Biology, English Literature and, of course, Psychology at A level, which are all fantastic subjects to learn. I hope that through this blog I can show you a little bit about a subject that has always fascinated me. I am mainly known around the school for my win in the CET 2016 speech competition and my participation in Young Enterprise. I hope you enjoy my posts and I can help you discover if my subject is right for you!

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