In the early 20th century physician and psychologist Sigmund Freud sought to explain the structure of the mind in order to better understand human psychological development and abnormal mental conditions. Freud divided the mind into three components: the id, ego and superego, each responsible for certain traits of personality different. These three components work together to regulate the behaviors that define the personality of an individual.

components of personality

Levels of consciousness
According to Freud the components of personality are based on three levels of consciousness: preconsciousness, consciousness and the subconscious, and the capacity of the memories or impulses to travel from one level to another. Preconsciousness incorporates information from which a person is conscious but does not focus immediately. Consciousness is the focus of immediate attention of an individual. The subconscious information is out of reach of the conscious mind, allowing the subconscious mind to think and act independently resulting in uncontrollable behaviors.


The id is the most primitive part of the personality , has no perception of reality is based on what Freud referred to as the “primary process” to meet basic needs and impulses of an individual. Examples of these behaviors include primitive impulses and aggression in the pursuit of pleasure. The id is governed by the “pleasure principle”, which is a requirement for the immediate satisfaction of needs and encourages without worrying about the consequences.
Using the “reality principle”, the ego evaluates the actions and their potential consequences and determines appropriate to the impulses of the solutions. To accomplish this, the ego uses the “secondary process” of perception, recognition, judgment and memory. The ego acts as a medium between the id and the superego working to meet the desires that it originates under moral constraints from the superego.

The superego contains the values ​​of an individual and social morality are learned through childhood training and experience, according to ChangingMinds website. This employs imposition emotions such as guilt and pride, to regulate the behavior of an individual based on training and past experience. The superego works to counteract this repressed impulses instead of seeking instant gratification.