Freud's Preconscious Mind: Theory & Overview

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  • 0:01 Definition of…
  • 0:34 Eros and Thanatos
  • 0:59 Id, Ego, and Superego
  • 2:43 The Developing Child
  • 3:12 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kimberly Moffitt

Kimberly has taught college Sociology and Criminal Justice classes and has a Master's Degree in Criminal Justice.

Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) was an Austrian neurologist. Freud believed the mind was composed of three parts: the id, ego, and superego. The ego and superego is where the preconscious mind is located. Let's take a look at these concepts and test your knowledge with a quiz.

Definition of Preconscious Mind

Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) was An Austrian neurologist who became known as the founding father of psychoanalysis. Psychoanalysis emphasizes the influence of our unconscious mind on our behavior. As part of this theory, Freud believed the mind was composed of three parts: the id, ego, and superego. The preconscious mind is an important part of this process. The preconscious contains thoughts that are unconscious but can be easily recalled. Let's take a look at these concepts with a bit more detail.

Eros and Thanatos

Freud believed that biology played a major part in human development. He theorized that humans have two basic needs: eros, which is the life instinct and contains a person's need for emotional bonding and thanatos, which is the death instinct and contains a person's aggressive drives. Freud believed that these two opposing forces created deep inner tension and operated at an unconscious level.

Id, Ego, and Superego

Freud also conceded that society certainly influences our behavior. This, along with our basic needs, combined to create a model of personality with three parts: the id, the ego, and the superego. The id contains a human being's basic drives. These drives are unconscious and demand immediate satisfaction. The ego is a person's conscious efforts to balance the pleasure-seeking drives with the demands of society. Finally, the superego is the cultural values and norms that are internalized by an individual. The superego basically acts as our conscience, letting us know why we can't have everything we want.

The id and superego remain in constant conflict, and the ego balances the two out. For example, imagine a woman who is on a diet, but desperately wants to eat a candy bar. Working on the pleasure principle, The id would demand immediate satisfaction. The superego, working on the morality principle, would remind the woman she is on a diet. The ego, working on the reality principle, would compromise and convince the woman to have just a small bite of the chocolate.

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