Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences

Living Edition
| Editors: Virgil Zeigler-Hill, Todd K. Shackelford

Wish Fulfillment

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-28099-8_641-1


Wish fulfillment can be understood as a psychological formation, e.g., as a result of imaginative processes like dream events, that are created in order to present the wish as fulfilled.


The concept of wish fulfillment is closely linked to the psychoanalytic theory of dreams. In his book The Interpretation of Dreams, Freud (1900) identified wish fulfillment as a central dream function. This applies not only for dreams during sleep but also for daydreams or waking state fantasies where unmet needs are represented as fulfilled, for example, sexual desires or narcissistic fantasies. The aims of these processes are to satisfy inner needs and to reach an inner state of equilibrium; in other words no unfulfilled needs are experienced. The process of wish fulfillment is taking place independently from reality. In contrast to wishful thinking, which is characterized by some awareness about the unrealistic character of the thoughts, wish fulfillment is conceptualized as...

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyStockholm UniversityStockholmSweden

Section editors and affiliations

  • Kevin Meehan
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyLong Island UniversityBrooklynUSA