Id, Ego and Superego

Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) was an Austrian-born Jewish neurologist. He studied medicine at the University of Vienna. Also, Freud did research on anatomy and the human nervous system in 1876. He graduated from the University of Vienna in 1881. Although he spent most of his life in Austria, he left Austria in 1938 due to the Nazi occupation of Austria and settled in England, where he died in 1939.


Freud introduced the concept of Psychoanalysis, which examines the relationship of patients’ mental processes with unconscious elements. Psychoanalysis is a method in which patients are treated through dialogue. In this treatment method, the psychoanalyst tries to bring to light the unconscious factors that affect the mood of the patient and makes the patient realize these factors that cloud the patient’s mind.

Freud believed that unconscious factors were the basis of dreams and he benefited from dreams in his treatment processes. So, He introduced the concepts of id, ego and superego under the title of unconscious.


The id is man’s instinctive drives and desires. The most basic and primitive desires, which we hear without thinking about the result, consist of needs. Sexuality and hunger can be given as examples of this concept.



The superego, unlike the id, contains ethical and moral values. In fact, it is a concept that is fully self-critical and displays an opposing attitude.



Ego is the concept that serves as a reconciliation between the id and the superego, passing a critical and moral filter to the wishes of the id and finalizing it.

Freud describes the ego in the following sentences:

“The poor ego has a still harder time of it; it has to serve three harsh masters, and it has to do its best to reconcile the claims and demands of all three… The three tyrants are the external world, the superego, and the id.”

In Freud’s age, Psychology and Biology were considered together with Philosophy. Freud was also interested in philosophy and even made philosophy himself. Therefore, the theory of psychoanalysis was influenced by the fields of anthropology and sociology.

Sigmund Freud also used Psychoanalysis to explain social phenomena and covered these issues in The Restlessness of Civilization, Totem and Taboo, Group Psychology, and Ego Analysis.

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