A Business Encyclopedia

Psychoanalytic Theory

Definition: The Psychoanalytic Theory is the personality theory, which is based on the notion that an individual gets motivated more by unseen forces that are controlled by the conscious and the rational thought.

Sigmund Freud is closely related to the psychoanalytic theory. According to him, the human behavior is formed through an interaction between three components of the mind, i.e. Id, Ego and Super Ego.

psychoanalytic theory

  1. Id: Id is the primitive part of the mind that seeks immediate gratification of biological or instinctual needs. The biological needs are the basic physical needs and while the instinctual needs are the natural or unlearned needs, such as hunger, thirst, sex, etc. Id is the unconscious part of the mind; that act instantaneously without giving much thought to what is right and what is wrong.

    Example: If your Id passed through a boy playing with a ball, the immediate urge to get that ball will drive you to snatch it by any means, this is irrational and may lead to the conflict between the boys. Thus, Id is the source of psychic energy, a force that is behind all the mental forces.

  2. Super-Ego: The Super-Ego is related to the social or the moral values that an individual inculcates as he matures. It acts as an ethical constraint on behavior and helps an individual to develop his conscience. As the individual grows in the society, he learns the cultural values and the norms of the society which help him to differentiate between right and wrong.

    Example: If the super-ego passed that boy playing with a ball, it would not snatch it, as it would know that snatching is bad and may lead to a quarrel. Thus, super ego act as a constraint on your behavior and guides you to follow the right path. But if the Id is stronger than super-ego, you will definitely snatch the ball by any means.

  3. Ego: Ego is the logical and the conscious part of the mind which is associated with the reality principle. This means it balances the demands of Id and super-ego in the context of real life situations. Ego is conscious and hence keep a check on Id through a proper reasoning of an external environment.

    Example: If you pass through the same boy playing with the ball, your ego will mediate the conflict between the Id and super-ego and will decide to buy a new ball for yourself. This may hurt you Id, but the ego would take this decision to reach to a compromise situation between the Id and super-ego by satisfying the desire of getting a ball without committing any unpleasant social behavior.

Hence, these are the fundamental structures of the mind, and there is always a conflict between these three. The efforts to attain the balance between these defines the way we behave in the external environment.

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