Book Definition: The conscious, rational part of the personality, charged with keeping peace between the superego and the Id

History (Optional)


First developed by Sigmund Freud in his essay "Beyond the Pleasure Principle" in 1920, which introduced the "Iceberg model"

In Your Own Words


  • The logical part of your personality that makes the overall decisions.
  • The part of the personality that compromises between basic drives and the right thing to do.
  • The rational compromiser between the superego and the id.
  • Attempts to please your impulses without breaking your morals.

Examples/Functions


  • You find out that you were given too much change at the grocery store; the superego would urge you to give it back, while the id might urge you to spend it on ice cream. The ego would try to find a compromise such as returning the money and buying ice cream with your own money.
  • While at a friends house, you spot one last cookie in the cookie jar; your id would tell you to take it while your friend isn't looking, but your superego would say it wouldn't be nice or fair to your friend. As a result, your ego would decide to not take the cookie, but instead to have one when you get home.
  • You are taking a test when Mr. Wray accidentally shows the answers, the superego would say not to cheat and tell Mr. Wray, while your id would tell you to cheat in order to get a good grade. Your ego would compromise and decide to not cheat, and if you don't do as well as you want, you can study next time and re-take the test.
  • You find a pile of money in a bag. Your superego tells you to turn it in, but your id makes you want to keep it. The ego makes a compromise to turn it in and get a reward from the police.

external image Iceberg.jpg

Additional Resources


  1. http://www.lww.com/static/docs/product/samplechapters/978-0-7817-9949-2_Chapter%203.pdf
  2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Id,_ego_and_super-ego
  3. http://allpsych.com/psychology101/ego.htm