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MS in Psychology Insight: Id, Ego, And Superego

Study alongside Walden University students with this required reading taken from the MS in Psychology degree course Themes and Theories of Psychology.

While it was René Descartes who famously wrote, “I think, therefore I am,” it was Sigmund Freud who developed the first modern theories of how we think and what that means for our personalities and behaviors.

Called psychodynamics, Freud’s theories and research centered on how the forces within us—particularly our unconscious—drive our personality and behaviors. In other words, Freud believed our differences stem from what’s happening below the surface of our psyches and how those forces interrelate/conflict with what’s happening in our conscious minds. Freud saw this unconscious vs. conscious dynamic as the core aspect of our personality. And he saw our personalities as existing in three parts: the id, the ego, and the superego.

MS in Psychology Insight: Id, Ego, And Superego

If you were a psychology major, you likely studied the id, ego, and superego. But the theory, research, and interpretations are complex and include Freud’s original work as well as the work of contemporary psychologists and mental health practitioners. In Walden’s MS in Psychology program, master’s in psychology students have the opportunity to study id, ego, and superego in-depth, including in the course Themes and Theories of Psychology. In particular, students read Saul McLeod’s article “Psychodynamic Approach.”1

In that article, McCloud explains the three aspects of id, ego, and superego by writing:

The id is the primitive and instinctive component of personality. It consists of all the inherited (i.e., biological) components of personality present at birth, including the sex (life) instinct – Eros (which contains the libido), and the aggressive (death) instinct – Thanatos.

The ego develops in order to mediate between the unrealistic id and the external real world. It is the decision-making component of personality.

The superego incorporates the values and morals of society which are learned from one's parents and others.

Parts of the unconscious mind (the id and superego) are in constant conflict with the conscious part of the mind (the ego). This conflict creates anxiety, which could be dealt with by the ego’s use of defense mechanisms.

And that’s just the beginning. There’s so much more to learn.

How a Master’s Degree in Psychology Can Help You Learn More

The above excerpt is a tiny taste of what you can study when you choose to be part of Walden’s master’s in psychology program. In fact, the breadth of knowledge you can acquire through a psychology master’s program is extensive—so extensive that you can start or advance all kinds of careers with a psychology degree, including those in education, research, marketing, and human resources.

There’s no question that a master’s program in psychology can be worth your time. The only question is: Can you find that time? When you choose Walden, you likely can. That’s because Walden offers an online learning format that makes earning a degree in psychology more possible than many expect.

In Walden’s online master’s in psychology program, you’ll be able to complete your coursework from home. Plus, Walden’s online psychology courses allow you to choose when in the day you attend class. That, in turn, can make it possible to continue working full time while you earn your psychology degree.

An advanced understanding of psychology can help you further or change your career. Thanks to Walden’s online master’s in psychology, acquiring that understanding is now more possible than ever before.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering an MS in Psychology degree program online. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.


Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,