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:


Research for my personal project

Hey guys!

So I know that I’m a couple of weeks overdue for my next post, but it’s just been a hectic month what with other exams and stuff so I do apologise, but hopefully from here on out I will have a bit more time on my hands so I can post more frequently as I had planned.

Ok, so getting straight down to it, I last talked about how I had chosen the theme of environment for my personal study project, and that my next steps were to get on with doing some drawings that reflect which of my environments are important to me, and personally, I think that the results are awesome (if I do say so myself).

I had a lot of fun with the first experiment (black and white painting). I did this drawing from a photograph that I took of the equipment next to the sink in the art room, and used a technique called ‘impasto’, which means the ‘process of laying on paint or pigment thickly so that it stands out from a surface’.

(Helpful Tip – Always try to use the proper art terms when describing a piece of work, this skill will come in handy when you come to write your essay)

For this, I used only black and white acrylic paint, and I actually applied the paint using sticks! Like actual sticks from the garden! (I know… wild times right). I found that this was a really good way to produce a creative piece of work in a relatively short amount of time (which is a key thing for a perfectionist like myself). This experiment linked nicely to an artist called Frank Auerbach, who uses a lot of impasto in his work.

(Helpful Tip – Get into the habit of finding and linking an artist or two into every piece of work/double page that you produce. Showing that you are able to analyse other artists’ work and how they influenced you to create your own work is a very key aspect, as it is one of the four assessment objectives that your teachers will be looking for when marking your sketchbook)

Moving on, I decided next to focus on my garden environment. I did an oil painting of a pot of flowers that I took a picture of in my Nan’s garden. Now, due to the chosen media, it did take a ridiculously long time to complete, but in my opinion, it was well worth the time and the effort. As you can see above, i’ve put up an image of the real thing, alongside an image of my painting. So far, I’ve had lots of positive feedback from my close friends and family, but I would also love to hear what you guys think! (Any feedback is helpful, wether it’s positive or otherwise).

Well that’s it from me for today. As I said, I will try my best to post more frequently, but in the mean time, if there’s anything specific you would like me to write about or if you have any questions/comments about the work I’m doing, then please feel free to write in the comments section below. Bye guys!

Starting the new project!

Hi everyone!

As you can remember from my first post, I mentioned that we were just about to start our second project of the course, so over the Easter break, I have been doing some research into what I would like my theme to be over the next year.

I decided to go with the theme of ‘Environment’ because it is very broad and can encompass lots of things.

(Helpful Tip – If you want to do Art at A-Level, it is helpful to think of a theme that will take you in lots of different directions, this way you won’t get bored with focusing on just a few small areas)

Originally I wanted to go with the theme of ‘Figures’, as I found out that I was rather good at drawing them (check out the images above), but unfortunately I’m not so good at portraits, so I decided to steer away from that (it would look kind of weird to just have lots of figures without any faces… creepy). Anyway, I realised that ‘Environment’ gives me the opportunity to look at a wide range of things, including figures if I really wanted, and I also had the chance to make it more personal to me.

So, to start my research, I went out and about in my local area and around my house and took pictures. Lots of pictures. Pictures of everything. (I may have got slightly carried away – I felt like a professional photographer!) I chose to take pictures of my environments, the things within them, and the things that mean a lot to me. The reason for collecting lots of your own images is so that:

  1. You can show that you have used primary research in your work (your own images rather than ones from the internet)
  2. So that you have lots of inspiration when it comes to planning out the next few double pages in your sketchbook.

My next step was to think of questions that I could answer through research of my theme. I created a double page of these questions in my book, so that if at any stage in my project i get stuck on what to do next, I can always refer back to them to get the creative thinking flowing again.

Now I have my next few double pages planned out (because I’m just that organised) I can start getting to the fun part of drawing, painting, and getting messy with experimenting. First I’m going to focus on my Art environment, which is one that definitely means a lot to me, at school and at home, to show the differences and similarities between them, and to explain why they mean so much to me.

That’s it from me for today, I’ll be back in two weeks, (I’ll be posting every Week A Monday), but in the mean time, if you have any questions about Art at A-Level or would like to give any feedback about the blog, then please write in the comments section below and I will get back to you. Thanks guys!


One topic which we are only just finishing is hazards in which we study earthquakes, volcanoes, wildfires, and tsunamis. It is by far the most deadly part of the course. For every section we used at least one case study for example when looking at tsunamis we studied the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Continue reading “Hazards”

The Freud Museum: The Life and Work of Sigmund Freud and Anna Freud 

In biological psychology section of the course, you cover some of Freud’s theories. In London, there is a museum dedicated to the life and works of the famous psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud and his daugther, Anna Freud, who was a pioneer of child psychoanalysis. 

In psychoanalytic treatment nothing happens but an exchange of words between the patient and the physician. 

–  Sigmund Freud

The museum is the home where Sigmund Freud spent his last days after fleeing Nazi-occupied Austria. When walking up to the pale front door, through the flowery garden, you can understand why Freud said the house was “too beautiful” for his family. 

When you walk into the hall and up to the “half-landing” you discover two seats by huge windows at which Freud’s wife and her sister sat sewing for hours on end. As the sun pours into the windows and the view of the street becomes apparent- it is clear why this was their favourite spot. 

Up another flight of stairs is a room dedicated to Anna Freud. Hung proudly on the wall is her many certificates that show the abundant work she done on improving the lives of children. When she worked as a primary school teacher, she conducted some experiments on her pupils. Including, allowing them to pick their own food. Shockingly to the people of the time, she found that they didn’t just pick cakes and sweets! Along the same road is the “Anna Freud Centre” a place dedicated to helping children who have been referred bysocial  services. 

When you walk back down the stairs to the ground flour, there is a door into the famous study of Sigmund Freud where he continued his work throughout his elderly years in “freedom”. A large personal libary, a collection of areological finds and the famous couch upon which his patients laid. The couch was positioned facing away from Freud to, firstly, give the patient freedom to talk away from judgement and also because Sigmund didn’t like being “stared” at for hours on end. In addition, in later years after he lost his hearing in his right ear due to cancer of the jaw, it aided Freud in hearing his patient. 

The Freuds revolutionised the way in which mental illness was treated. They where kind and compassionate. We have a lot to thank them for. 

The Value in Studying Psychology 

A wonderful blog titled “Why Psychology Should Be Taught In Every School” (read here) got me thinking about why I think studying psychology is so valuable. Psychology is, in its most basic form, the scientific study of ourselves. This means that through the human psyche is so complex, we have tried to measure and understand it in an objective sense. 

We have tried to understand behaviour and thoughts. For example, in this specific course, you will study why murders kill. In Raines et al’s study into murders who pleaded “Not Guilty For Reasons Of Insanity “, it was found that some murders have significant brain differences. For example, in the pre-frontal cortex of the murderers (when compared with carefully selected controls) there was little activity, suggesting a lack of impulse control and an  increase of aggression when provoked. In addition, there was less activity in the corpus callosum meaning the two hemisheres were not communicating correctly. These findings have real-life implications, murders may face reduced jail time or stay in a hospital instead of a prision. 

If psychology is used correctly, the benefits can be great. However, if research is carried out in an unethical fashion or mistakes are made, results can be devastating. Participants can be left confused and damaged. Results may be inaccurate and used for incorrect means. 

However, studying psychology has major pros. It is a way of somewhat understanding ourselves and others. It is a way to bring understanding between societies. Psychology can teach us not to be so hard on ourselves. We are far from infallable, and our brain makes many mistakes daily to help process everything. That is okay, however, because we are just human. 

To read another brilliant, extensive article on the benefits of psychology: Read Here 

In its primary form, psychology studies people—who and what they are. It looks into why they act and think the way they do and how someone can improve himself or herself. Therefore, everything a person does is connected to the subject.

Psychology allows people to understand more about how the body and mind work together. This knowledge can help with decision-making and avoiding stressful situations. It can help with time management, setting and achieving goals, and living effectively.

Experimentation and Ethics in Psychology 

After reading Research Ethics in Psychology: Vulnerable Research Participants, I remembered the importance of so-called “Ethics” in psychology. It is covered in the social psychology part of  the   course. 

So, what are ethics? 

Well, to be ethical may be defined as sticking to moral principles, such as values that avoid deliberate harm to others or ourselves.  Ethics, in psychology, links to the rights and responsiblities of researchers to their participants. These ethics are meant to limit psychical and psychological harm of an individal and are moral restrictions of research. 

The British Psychological Society (BPS) decided not to allow the researchers to define their own moral standards, but to come up with guidelines that all must follow. 

These guidelines are as follows: 

  • Respect 
  • Integrity
  • Responisiblity
  • Minimising harm 

Below are some key parts of ethics studied in the course

Informed Consent

Well this idea is split into two important parts. 

Firstly, the simple idea of consent. This is the idea that all participents must be voluntary. They must not be forced, brided or intimidated in any way to take part. 

Secondly, the idea of “informed” consent. This is the idea that, whenever possible, the participent must be aware of 100% of what the research is for, what their results will be used for and what the procedure is. 

For example, Milgram had many issues around the idea of informed consent as he told his participants that his experiment was about memory when it was in fact about obedience. 

Right to Withdraw

The right to withdraw suggests that at anytime a participent may leave the research. They cannot be forced to stay or denyed the right to leave. 

The researchers have a few important procures to ensure they obide by the right to withdraw: 

  1. The researcher has the responsibility to inform the participants of their right
  2. If, at any time, a participant asks to leave – they must be allowed without any resistance 
  3. If, during or after the research, the participents asks to withdraw their data (or remain anonymous) from the research – this wish must be respected


A debrief is the process in which, after research, the researcher “checks in” on the  participant to ensure no harm has come to them. This is especially important where full informed consent was unable to be attained. 

It is important that the debreif if done as quickly as possible, with the aim to sooth any anxieties of the participant. 

Protential for harm   

This is the idea that researchers take into account any harm that may occur. This may include any psychical, emotional or psychological risks that the participant may encounter. Risks are particularly important to be reduced if the participents are vunerable due to young/old age or disabilities. The rule is, usually, that a participant must not be exposed to more risk than they would encounter on a normal day of their lives. However, allowances may be made if the value of the research is high (pictured below).