Reality Principle

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  • A Freudian term referring to the operating mechanism of the ego, the aspect of persona lity responsible for organizing the manner in which an individual acquires what he or she wants from the real world. The reality principle is distinct from the pleasure principle, the underlying operational system of the id, which seeks immediate gratification in response to instinctual desires. For example, an individual who is sweating from the heat in a workplace without air conditioners may respond on the basis of the ego or the id. If operating solely on a pleasure-principled id, he or she might disrobe in front of coworkers; however, if the reality-principled and more intellectually based ego is involved, that person may exercise a more controlled cognitive response, such as ...

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