"Structural model" redirects here. For structural models in economics, see Economic model. For structural models in statistics, see Structural equation modeling and Reduced form.
For other uses of ego and id, see Ego (disambiguation) and ID (disambiguation).
"Superego" redirects here. For the podcast, see Superego Podcast.
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Id, ego and super-ego are the three parts of the psychic apparatus defined in Sigmund Freud's structural model of the psyche; they are the three theoretical constructs in terms of whose activity and interaction mental life is described. According to this model of the psyche, the id is the set of uncoordinated instinctual trends; the super-ego plays the critical and moralizing role; and the ego is the organized, realistic part that mediates between the desires of the id and the super-ego. The super-ego can stop you from doing certain things that your id may want you to do.
Even though the model is structural and makes reference to an apparatus, the id, ego and super-ego are functions of the mind rather than parts of the brain and do not correspond one-to-one with actual somatic structures of the kind dealt with by neuroscience.
The concepts themselves arose at a late stage in the development of Freud's thought: the "structural model" (which succeeded his "economic model" and "topographical model") was first discussed in his 1920 essay "Beyond the Pleasure Principle" and was formalized and elaborated upon three years later in his "The Ego and the Id". Freud's proposal was influenced by the ambiguity of the term "unconscious" and its many conflicting uses.