ego


ego
/ee"goh, eg"oh/, n., pl. egos.
1. the "I" or self of any person; a person as thinking, feeling, and willing, and distinguishing itself from the selves of others and from objects of its thought.
2. Psychoanal. the part of the psychic apparatus that experiences and reacts to the outside world and thus mediates between the primitive drives of the id and the demands of the social and physical environment.
3. egotism; conceit; self-importance: Her ego becomes more unbearable each day.
4. self-esteem or self-image; feelings: Your criticism wounded his ego.
5. (often cap.) Philos.
a. the enduring and conscious element that knows experience.
b. Scholasticism. the complete person comprising both body and soul.
6. Ethnol. a person who serves as the central reference point in the study of organizational and kinship relationships.
[1780-90; < L: I; psychoanalytic term is trans. of G (das) Ich (the) I]

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(Latin; "I")

In psychoanalytic theory, the portion of the psyche experienced as the "self" or "I." It is the part that remembers, evaluates, plans, and in other ways is responsive to and acts in the surrounding physical and social world.

According to Sigmund Freud, it coexists with the id (the unconscious, instinctual portion of the psyche) and the superego (the portion representing the conscience, or the internalization of societal norms). The ego is not coextensive with either the personality or the body; rather, it serves to integrate these and other aspects of the person, such as memory, imagination, and behaviour. It mediates between the id and the superego by building up various defense mechanisms.

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▪ philosophy and psychology
Introduction
 in psychoanalytic theory, that portion of the human personality which is experienced as the “self” or “I” and is in contact with the external world through perception. It is said to be the part that remembers, evaluates, plans, and in other ways is responsive to and acts in the surrounding physical and social world. According to psychoanalytic theory, the ego coexists with the id (said to be the agency of primitive drives) and superego (considered to be the ethical component of personality) as one of three agencies proposed by Sigmund Freud (Freud, Sigmund) in description of the dynamics of the human mind.

      Ego (Latin: “I”), according to Freud, comprises the executive functions of personality by serving as the integrator of the outer and inner worlds as well as of the id and the superego. The ego gives continuity and consistency to behaviour by providing a personal point of reference which relates the events of the past (retained in memory) with actions of the present and of the future (represented in anticipation and imagination). The ego is not coextensive with either the personality or the body, although body concepts form the core of early experiences of self. The ego, once developed, is capable of change throughout life, particularly under conditions of threat, illness, and significant changes in life circumstances.

Ego development
      The newborn human infant reacts to but cannot control, anticipate, or alter sources of stimulation, be they external or internal. At this stage perception is primitive and diffuse, motor activity is gross and uncoordinated, and self-locomotion is impossible. learning is limited to the simplest type of stimulus-response conditioning.

      The infantile ego develops in relation to the external world and reflects (as psychoanalysis has emphasized) the helpless and dependent infant's efforts to alter or alleviate painfully intense stimuli. Mechanisms evolve for controlling tension while seeking means by which gratifications can be obtained, and these mechanisms develop into increasingly complex forms of mastery.

      At the outset, perception and motor activity are closely tied, with stimulation immediately provoking motor action. The delay of action, while tolerating the consequent tension, is the basis for all more-advanced ego functions. This delay is prototypic of the ego's role in later personality functioning. The learned separation of stimulation and response allows the interposition of more complex intellectual activities such as thinking, imagining, and planning. By not reacting directly, the ego develops the capacity to test reality vicariously, to imagine the consequences of one or another course of action, and to decide upon future directions to achieve probable ends. The accumulation and retention of memories of past events is necessary for internal processes of thought and judgment. The acquisition of language, started during the second and third years, provides a powerful tool for the development of logical thought processes as well as allowing communication and control of the environment.

      As the individual continues to develop, the ego is further differentiated and the superego develops. The superego represents the inhibitions of instinct and the control of impulses through the incorporation of parental and societal standards. Thus, moral standards as perceived by the ego become part of the personality. conflict, a necessary ingredient for the growth and maturity of the personality, is introduced. The ego comes to mediate between the superego and the id by building up what have been called defense mechanisms (defense mechanism).

      Since the concept and structure of the ego were defined by Freud and explored by Carl Jung (Jung, Carl), other theorists have developed somewhat different conceptualizations of the ego.

Ego strength
      A strong ego is exhibited in the following characteristics: objectivity in one's apprehension of the external world and in self-knowledge (insight); capacity to organize activities over longer time spans (allowing for the maintenance of schedules and plans); and the ability to follow resolves while choosing decisively among alternatives. The person of strong ego can also resist immediate environmental and social pressure while contemplating and choosing an appropriate course, and strong ego is further characterized in the person who is not overwhelmed by his or her drives (but instead can direct them into useful channels). On the other hand, weakness of ego is characterized by such traits as impulsive or immediate behaviour, a sense of inferiority or an inferiority complex, a fragile sense of identity, unstable emotionality, and excessive vulnerability. Perception of reality and self can be distorted. In such cases the individual may be less capable of productive work, because energy is drained into the protection of unrealistic self-concepts, or the individual may be burdened by neurotic symptoms. Ego weakness also underlies the inflated sense of self, which can be associated with grandiosity and a superiority complex. See also psychoanalysis.

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Universalium. 2010.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • ego — ego …   Dictionnaire des rimes

  • Égo — Ego Voir « ego » sur le Wiktionnaire. Ego …   Wikipédia en Français

  • ego — [ ego ] n. m. inv. • 1886; mot lat. « je », par l all. ♦ Philos. Le sujet, l unité transcendantale du moi (depuis Kant). ⇒ je, moi. ♢ Psychan. Le moi. ⊗ HOM. Égaux (égal). ● ego nom masculin invariable (calque de l allemand das Ich, le je, d… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • ego — ego; ego·cen·tric·i·ty; ego·cen·trism; ego·hood; ego·ism; ego·ist; ego·is·tic; ego·ity; ego·ma·nia; ego·ma·ni·ac; ego·tism; ego·tist; ego·tize; non·ego; su·per·ego; ego·cen·tric; ego·is·ti·cal; ego·is·ti·cal·ly; ego·ma·ni·a·cal; ego·tis·tic;… …   English syllables

  • EGO — is a Latin word meaning I , cognate with the Greek Εγώ (Ego) meaning I and may refer to: * Ego, super ego, and id, a psycho analytic concept of Sigmund Freud * Ego (spirituality), a sense of doership or sense of individual existence * Ego the… …   Wikipedia

  • Ego — Ego, (v. griech. bzw. lat. Ich), bezeichnet den Selbst Sinn (Selbstbewusstsein und Selbstaktivität) und ist unter der Bezeichnung Ich Gegenstand der Psychologie, der Philosophie, der Soziologie, der Religion und weiterer Wissenschaften.… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • ego — e go, n.; pl. {egos}. [L., I.] The conscious and permanent subject of all psychical experiences, whether held to be directly known or the product of reflective thought; the subject consciously considered as I by a person; opposed to {non ego}.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • ego — / ɛgo/ s.m. [dal lat. ĕgo io ], invar. (psicanal.) [la propria persona in quanto espressione di autocoscienza] ▶◀ io. ‖ Es, super ego, super io …   Enciclopedia Italiana

  • Ego — das; , s <aus lat. ego »ich«> das Ich (Philos.); vgl. ↑Alter Ego …   Das große Fremdwörterbuch

  • ego — 1714, as a term in metaphysics, from L. ego I (cognate with O.E. ic, see I (Cf. I)). Psychoanalytic sense is from 1894; sense of conceit is 1891. Ego trip first recorded 1969. In the book of Egoism it is written, Possession without obligation to… …   Etymology dictionary

  • ego — ȇgo m <G ȇga> DEFINICIJA 1. psih. u psihoanalitičkom smislu stupanj strukture ličnosti koji ulazi u odnose sa stvarnošću, stvara ravnotežu između nagonskih (id) i moralno etičkih (super ego) težnji i vrijednosti čovjeka; spoznajni i… …   Hrvatski jezični portal


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