Personality: Components and Assessments

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The Three Components of Personality
Sigmund Freud is known for his study on the three basic components that greatly affect our personality. He created the three levels of awareness that are congruent to the three different parts of the mind: conscious mind, preconscious mind, and subconscious mind. According to him, our conscious mind includes our current or present mental processes contributing a major part in our current awareness. The next level of mental awareness is our preconscious mind which, according to Freud, comprises those that we are aware of, but we do not really give focus or pay attention. We can either decide to take notice of these things and purposefully let our conscious mind be aware of them. The third part of the human mind is the subconscious where some of our thoughts surpass the conscious level. From these levels of awareness by Freud, he then developed the three components of our personality: the id, ego, and super ego. These are the results of our thinking, feeling, and behaviors. The id functions primarily based on pleasure principle wherein our mind seeks to achieve pleasure and avoid any form of pain. Freud mentioned that the id consists of two major instincts and these are eros and thanatos. The former is otherwise known as the life instinct that urges us to seek for pleasurable activities while the latter is our death instinct that stimulates us to cause to destroy. The ego is the next component of our personality which is the heart of our consciousness. It is characterized by either of the dominant functions which are introversion or extraversion along with the other functions. It is based on the reality principle which states that our mind acknowledges what is real and currently existing. It also understands that there are corresponding consequences to our behaviors. The super ego is the last component of our personality in which our values and morals are contained. Our super ego can also offset or compensate the id.

The Big Five Factors
Our various personality traits are generally categorized into what is referred to as the Big Five Factors: extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness to experience. Extraversion pertains to being outgoing, sociable, full of energy, enthusiasm, and action-oriented. Introversion, on the other hand, refers to lack of liveliness and energy. Agreeableness manifests our differences in terms of cooperation and social harmony. Agreeable people like getting along with each other well while disagreeable individuals are more concerned with self-interest and personal well-being.

Conscientiousness focuses on how we manage and control our impulses and desires. Conscientious people are intelligent, organized, and persistent. Neuroticism is evident in individuals who are emotionally reactive and may have gone through or are going through a particular strong negative feeling. Openness to experience is a trait that characterizes people who are creative, imaginative, curious, and intellectuals.


Three components of personality
Clinical psychologist Don Bannister has described Freud's position on the human personality as being: "...basically a battlefield. He is a dark-cellar in which a well-bred spinster lady (the superego) and a sex-crazed monkey (the id) are forever engaged in mortal combat, the struggle being refereed by a rather nervous bank clerk (the ego)." Thus an individual’s feelings, thoughts, and behaviors are the result of the interaction of the id, the superego, and the ego. This creates conflict, which creates anxiety, which leads to Defense Mechanisms. Id

The Id contains our primitive drives and operates largely according to the pleasure principle, whereby its two main goals are the seeking of pleasure and the avoidance of pain. It has no real perception of reality and seeks to satisfy its needs through what Freud called the...
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