Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Wikipedia.


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.
..... Click the link for more information.


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



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.


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.


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
References in periodicals archive ?
Tratando-se de instituicao responsavel por ditar os valores a serem seguidos pela sociedade, faz-se preciso redesenhar a engenharia institucional ate entao estabelecida, para que seja possivel uma atuacao que atente para a verdadeira funcao do Parquet, com foco na preparacao para o exercicio eficiente da condicao de superego.
how the unrestrained superego assumes an exclusive role, modeled on an inflated conception of the father's role--the mother and the ego becoming its choice victims (DELEUZE, 1991, p.
Therefore it would be a mistake, says Freud, to believe that the superego stands in a moral relation to the ego.
The disturbing object is also the basis for the archaic superego that continues to play a directive role in the psychic economy of the pervert's mind.
Freud himself applied the term "sadomasochism" to the dynamic of domination and submission between superego and ego as paired opposites.
But he is caught in a certain "abandon" before an arbitrary law that binds the subject to its sadistic superego or, more specifically, to its obscene (or prelinguistic) "beyond" or "other" (Lacan speaks of an "Other of the Other" here [66]) in the will not to be anything more than a role.
Rieff's Triumph of the Therapeutic is a strenuous call to reassert authority, law, and the cultural superego.
Following this Lacanian scheme relative to the superego, Maria Aristodemou suggests, "once the subject accedes to language and enters the symbolic order, her shortcomings in relation to enjoyment are exploited by the superego which is unsatisfiable: as far as the superego is concerned, we can never enjoy enough.
For Lacan, the superego is not that which regulates our adaptation to social prescriptions through inflicting guilt on us for violating them, but, rather, the perverse agency that orders us to derive enjoyment from our submission to the Law and the guilt-ridden renunciation of our desire.
The superego of traditional psychoanalysis was the normalising and pacifying agency in charge of, on the one hand, ensuring that we obey the law and refrain from violating the prohibitions, and, on the other, regulating our access to appropriate forms of enjoyment.
Carel points out that Freud's realism defines human happiness as a lessening of suffering: the instinctual origin of the death drive makes it part of the id, war arises as a result of the death drive, repetition is a manifestation of the death drive (the repetition of the death drive is entropic), the superego is an internalized death drive, resulting in guilt and self-persecution, while serving as the source of ethics, and the absence of death from the unconscious is not a problem for the death drive.
Contemporary capitalism, as a form of generalised perversion, is said to be a society of commanded enjoyment, a post-Oedipal order ruled over by a perverse imperative to consume incessantly, where prohibition is replaced by an apparent permissiveness that actually masks superego prescription.