Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2014 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming


  • Benjamin Beit-HallahmiEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6086-2_197

In classical psychoanalysis, the human personality contains three parts: the id, ego, and superego. The id is defined in terms of the most primitive urges for gratification in the infant, urges dominated by the desire for pleasure. Ruled by no laws of logic, and unconstrained by the resistance of external reality, the id uses what Freud called the primary process, directly expressing somatically generated instincts. Through the inevitable experience of frustration, the infant learns to adapt itself to reality. The resulting secondary process leads to the growth of the ego, which follows what Freud called the reality principle, in contradistinction to the pleasure principle dominating the id. Here the need to delay gratification in the service of self-preservation is slowly learned in an effort to thwart the anxiety produced by unfulfilled desires. What Freud termed defense mechanisms are developed by the ego to deal with such conflicts. These mechanisms are a set of unconscious ego...

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  1. Freud, A. (1966). The ego and the mechanisms of defense. London: Hogarth.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of HaifaHaifaIsrael