What is consciousness?

The word consciousness comes from the Latinconscientia (shared knowledge), and thisscientĭa (with knowledge), is defined, in general terms, as the knowledge that a being has of himself and his environment.

For psychology, consciousness is a special psychic quality of knowledge that supposes a higher level of perception in terms of mental organization of human beings.

In this sense, consciousness constitutes the basis for the verification of reality by virtue of its perceptual function of the different external and internal stimuli, with which the sense organs have contact.

Note: Consciousness is theexclusive state of the human being, a feature that completely distinguishes it from the rest of the known animal species.

What are Freud’s levels of consciousness?

According to this scientist, consciousness is divided into three levels that function interrelatedly calledconscious, preconscious and unconscious andthen we will describe to you:

1. Conscious

The word conscious from the grammatical interpretation as a noun, indicates the location of certain constitutive processes of the functioning of the psychic apparatus (1) or a sensory organ for the perceptionof psychic qualities. These meanings come from the Austrian physician and psychologist Sigmund Freud(two)

In this sense, the conscious in relation to its perceptual property focuses on reality and in the present , where the information it receives from the different stimuli is processed and, according to its importance, can be stored in short-term memory or in long term memory. (3)

To highlight: To graphically represent these three regions, the example of Freud’s iceberg is applied. is applied.

2. Preconscious

In the preconscious system, there is everything that cannot be kept in consciousness or in the unconscious, such as feelings and thoughts, that the subject is not aware of, but when he needs to remember something, he can bring them to consciousness.

You should know: The states of the conscious, preconscious and unconscious belong to the so-called “First Topic of Freud” . (5)

3. Unconscious

in the daily context of the individual.

For Freud, the unconscious is an instance to which the conscious does not have access , but which can manifest itself unexpectedly in different ways, such as in dreams.

What are the structures of personality?

which refers to the

1. The id

The ” IT ” is for Freud, a component of the personality according to the theory of psychoanalysis and constitutes the most primitive region of the psychic apparatus of man, where what is inherited, innate, instinctive or constitutional is stored and concerns the psychic impulses.

In the “it” are also the sexual and aggressive drives, which are governed by the “Pleasure Principle” . It is considered the primary psychic instance of the human being.

To highlight: The id is present from the very moment of birth and is born from the content of the unconscious. 

2. The self

The ” I ” is another of the components of the personality according to Freud, which is the most conscious side that works on reality and in real time, representing the mediating part between the “id” and the “superego”.

, which organizes its interrelation with the physical, social and cultural environment that surrounds individual.

You should know: This instance is governed by the “Principle of Reality” and the secondary cognitive processes of perception and thought work there .

3. The superego

The “superego” is the third component of the personality andconstitutes the moral and judging instance of the activity of the “ego” , which also acts as a counselor.

In this context, the superego represents the the moral and ethical thoughts received from the social culture where the individual develops, instilled through parents or caregivers.

Note: The superego represents the regulatory part of the impulses, instincts and expression of pleasure of the human psyche.

Key Conclusions

  • Consciousness is a special psychic quality of knowledge that involves a higher level of perception.
  • She forms the basis for reality testing by virtue of her perceptive function.
  • Consciousness according to Freud, is composed of three levels that are the conscious, the preconscious and the unconscious.
  • The personality of the individual is structured by three components according to Freud that are the “id”, the “ego” and the “superego”.

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