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Difference Between Ego and SuperEgo

Ego vs SuperEgo

Both ego and superego are two fundamental concepts in psychology used to identify the structure of the mind or the psyche. These two concepts were presented by Sigmund Freud, a leading figure in psychology.

Both concepts are identified in the structural model of the psyche and are also influenced by a third component, Id. Both the ego and the superego are present in the conscious, preconscious, and unconscious state of the person.

Ego is considered as the organized, rational, and reality-oriented part of the brain/model. It functions according to the reality principle. On the other hand, the superego maintains a more critical and moralizing role on the individual.

Relative to the Id (the part of the psyche that seeks passion, fantasies, impulses, and other human instincts), the ego is the one that controls the Id with respect to environment factors and reality. It pleases the Id as well as controls it to a certain extent. It is also concerned about long-term benefits and consequences. In controlling the Id, ego employs two mechanisms regarding gratification, instant gratification and delayed gratification. With regards to the superego, the ego negotiates with that particular part.

Meanwhile, the superego is a direct contradiction of the Id. It views that the Id is a direct opposition to the rules and norms of society. Superego is often attributed as the conscience, but it also encompasses spiritual goals and ego ideals. The role of the superego is to constrict both the Id and ego (in extension, behavior) to ascribe to moral and ethical norms. It does this by using feelings of guilt and shame.

Ego is often called the reason and common sense of a person. It employs defense mechanisms and is modified by the events and things in the external environment.
To sum it all up, ego serves three distinct masters; the Id, the superego, and reality.
Ego develops after the Id, usually during the first three years of a child’s life. Superego, on the other hand, as the third and last component of the psyche, is evident after five years of age. Usually, at this age, a child learns how to behave according to social norms via the instruction of the parents.
The superego aims for perfection and tries to make the person act in a socially appropriate manner. It is based on moral aspects. In this capacity, the superego tries to stress and enforce rules on the person. On the other hand, the ego strives for control of the Id based on reality and the superego.
Another distinction between the two components is that ego develops a human personality while superego develops a human character.


1. Both ego and superego are two components of the psyche according to the structural model by Freud. There is an additional and foremost component, the Id, which works with both concepts. Both terms are often used in psychology.
2. Ego refers to the realistic and controlling component of the psyche. In comparison, the superego is the last component which refers to the critical and moralizing part.
3. The ego is mainly concerned about long-term benefits and consequences of actions (particularly Id’s actions). Superego functions nearly the same except that it also includes rules and other norms in dealing with a person’s actions and their effects.
4. The ego tries to maintain a balance among reality, superego, and Id. Superego confines both ego and id for consequences of actions.
5. In terms of relations to Id, the ego tries to control and please it at the same time, while superego directly contradicts Id.
6. Ego is usually referred to as common sense, whereas superego is commonly termed as conscience.
7. Ego develops first at three years of age (after the development of the Id). Superego follows the development of ego usually at five years of age

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