Psychology in Writing: The Super Ego – Introduction


A jovial exchange

A jovial exchange (Photo credit: Spyderella)

The Super Ego is part of the tripartite structural model consisting of three components, the Id, the Ego, and the Super Ego.  The Super Ego exists as an internalization of cultural rules, which are often imparted by parents.  This aspect of the unconscious serves as the parental voice of society providing instruction on how to act/behave in order to fit in.  This voice exists as a counterpoint to the Id, which is the drive to get needs met regardless of how an individual is supposed to act.  The Super Ego serves as the basis for:

  • Personal ideals
  • Spiritual goals
  • Conscience

It serves to suppress through criticism and prohibition:

  • Id impulses
  • Fantasies
  • Feelings

The Super Ego can be looked upon as a form of moral guidance, which instills in the individual the basis for right and wrong, and the feeling of guilt that comes when an individual violate her/his sense of right.  The Super Ego provides a corrective mechanism to the Id telling us how to function in socially acceptable ways, and finding socially appropriate ways of getting our needs met.


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