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Structure of Personality and Psychoanalytic Theory

Structure of personality refers to the organization of aspects and functions of personality that help explain human behavior, motivation, and development. Personality encompasses those enduring, characteristic patterns of thinking, feeling, behaving, and relating that characterize an individual’s functioning. In psychoanalytic theory, conceptualizations of the structure of personality have evolved, becoming more complex and integrated theories of mind and psychological functioning. Beginning with Sigmund Freud’s tripartite model of id, ego, and superego, psychoanalytic theory has built on the tenet that unconscious conflict and anxiety are at the core of understanding an individual’s personality. This entry provides an overview of key psychoanalytic theories and concepts of the structure of personality.

Topographical Model

Initially, Freud posited that the human mind is divided into conscious, preconscious, and unconscious levels. The conscious ...

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