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see psychoanalysispsychoanalysis,
name given by Sigmund Freud to a system of interpretation and therapeutic treatment of psychological disorders. Psychoanalysis began after Freud studied (1885–86) with the French neurologist J. M.
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one of the three elements of the PERSONALITY in FREUD's theory. The superego is that part of the personality that operates as the conscience, aiming for perfection, controlling the function of the EGO by placing moral constraints on it.

Like the ego, the superego is said by Freud to develop from the ID in the first few years of life. He proposed that it was formed by the child internalizing the parent's perceived standards, and indirectly, therefore, society s standards. This came about through identification with the same-sex parent as resolution of the OEDIPUS COMPLEX. Freud's theory thus explained the development of a conscience in boys much better than in girls and he has been much criticized for the implied inferiority of women as a result. Feminist theorists such as Juliet Mitchell (1974) have explored this aspect of his theory

Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000



The superego is to one of the three essential components of Sigmund Freud‘s theory of the human personality. The superego represents the internalized mores of society and tells us what is right and wrong. Because our parents are our primary source of socialization, it might be said that the superego is the internalized voice of our parents. According to Freud, the superego is frequently in conflict with the id, which represents such primitive, animal drives as sex and aggression. The need to control these urges leads to inner conflicts—conflicts of which we are often largely unconscious and which are frequently expressed in our dreams. Repressed sexual and violent urges may, for example, lead to sexual and violent dreams. In Freud’s view, the superego’s drive to repress the id extends even into our dreams, so that socially unacceptable urges are expressed indirectly in dream symbols. A person may, for example, have a dream in which a sudden downpour drenches someone who is the object of sexual desire.

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The subdivision of the psyche that acts as the conscience of the unconscious; the components, derived from both the id and the ego, are associated with standards of behavior and self-criticism.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


Psychoanal that part of the unconscious mind that acts as a conscience for the ego, developing mainly from the relationship between a child and his parents
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005