Introducing psychology Download introducing psychology or read online books in PDF, EPUB, Tuebl, and Mobi Format. Click Download or Read Online button to get introducing psychology book now. This site is like a library, Use search box in the widget to get ebook that you want. Schacter DL, Gilbert DT, Wegner DM. Psychology (2nd Edition). New York: Worth; 2011.

Knuckle mnemonic for the number of days in each month of the Gregorian Calendar. Each knuckle represents a 31-day month.
  • Author Schacter, Daniel L Subjects Psychology.; Psychology - Textbooks.; General. Audience Adult Summary The science makes it the book for you. An introduction to psychology doesn't have to be science-challenged to be student-friendly.
  • GENERAL PSYCHOLOGY [PY 102. 20583] Humanities/Social Science/Education Division Germantown Campus. We use Schacter, Gilbert, and Wegner's (2010) text in this course (see reference. General psychology is an introduction to the observations, influences and analyses of human behavior, emotion, and thought processes.

A mnemonic (/nəˈmɒnɪk/,[1] the first 'm' is silent) device, or memory device, is any learning technique that aids information retention or retrieval (remembering) in the human memory. Mnemonics make use of elaborative encoding, retrieval cues, and imagery as specific tools to encode any given information in a way that allows for efficient storage and retrieval. Mnemonics aid original information in becoming associated with something more accessible or meaningful—which, in turn, provides better retention of the information.

Commonly encountered mnemonics are often used for lists and in auditory form, such as short poems, acronyms, or memorable phrases, but mnemonics can also be used for other types of information and in visual or kinesthetic forms. Their use is based on the observation that the human mind more easily remembers spatial, personal, surprising, physical, sexual, humorous, or otherwise 'relatable' information, rather than more abstract or impersonal forms of information.

The word 'mnemonic' is derived from the Ancient Greek word μνημονικός (mnēmonikos), meaning 'of memory, or relating to memory'[2] and is related to Mnemosyne ('remembrance'), the name of the goddess of memory in Greek mythology. Both of these words are derived from μνήμη (mnēmē), 'remembrance, memory'.[3] Mnemonics in antiquity were most often considered in the context of what is today known as the art of memory.

Ancient Greeks and Romans distinguished between two types of memory: the 'natural' memory and the 'artificial' memory. The former is inborn, and is the one that everyone uses instinctively. The latter in contrast has to be trained and developed through the learning and practice of a variety of mnemonic techniques.

Mnemonic systems are techniques or strategies consciously used to improve memory. They help use information already stored in long-term memory to make memorisation an easier task.[4]

  • 3Applications and examples


The general name of mnemonics, or memoria technica, was the name applied to devices for aiding the memory, to enable the mind to reproduce a relatively unfamiliar idea, and especially a series of dissociated ideas, by connecting it, or them, in some artificial whole, the parts of which are mutually suggestive.[5] Mnemonic devices were much cultivated by Greeksophists and philosophers and are frequently referred to by Plato and Aristotle. In later times the poet Simonides was credited for development of these techniques, perhaps for no reason other than that the power of his memory was famous. Cicero, who attaches considerable importance to the art, but more to the principle of order as the best help to memory, speaks of Carneades (perhaps Charmades) of Athens and Metrodorus of Scepsis as distinguished examples of people who used well-ordered images to aid the memory. The Romans valued such helps in order to support facility in public speaking.[6]

The Greek and the Roman system of mnemonics was founded on the use of mental places and signs or pictures, known as 'topical' mnemonics. The most usual method was to choose a large house, of which the apartments, walls, windows, statues, furniture, etc., were each associated with certain names, phrases, events or ideas, by means of symbolic pictures. To recall these, an individual had only to search over the apartments of the house until discovering the places where images had been placed by the imagination.[citation needed]

Detail of Giordano Bruno's statue in Rome. Bruno was famous for his mnemonics, some of which he included in his treatises De umbris idearum and Ars Memoriae.

In accordance with said system, if it were desired to fix a historic date in memory, it was localised in an imaginary town divided into a certain number of districts, each of with ten houses, each house with ten rooms, and each room with a hundred quadrates or memory-places, partly on the floor, partly on the four walls, partly on the roof. Therefore, if it were desired to fix in the memory the date of the invention of printing (1436), an imaginary book, or some other symbol of printing, would be placed in the thirty-sixth quadrate or memory-place of the fourth room of the first house of the historic district of the town.[citation needed] Except that the rules of mnemonics are referred to by Martianus Capella, nothing further is known regarding the practice until the 13th century.[5]

Among the voluminous writings of Roger Bacon is a tractate De arte memorativa. Ramon Llull devoted special attention to mnemonics in connection with his ars generalis. The first important modification of the method of the Romans was that invented by the German poet Konrad Celtes, who, in his Epitoma in utramque Ciceronis rhetoricam cum arte memorativa nova (1492), used letters of the alphabet for associations, rather than places. About the end of the 15th century, Petrus de Ravenna (b. 1448) provoked such astonishment in Italy by his mnemonic feats that he was believed by many to be a necromancer. His Phoenix artis memoriae (Venice, 1491, 4 vols.) went through as many as nine editions, the seventh being published at Cologne in 1608.

About the end of the 16th century, Lambert Schenkel (Gazophylacium, 1610), who taught mnemonics in France, Italy and Germany, similarly surprised people with his memory. He was denounced as a sorcerer by the University of Louvain, but in 1593 he published his tractate De memoria at Douai with the sanction of that celebrated theological faculty. The most complete account of his system is given in two works by his pupil Martin Sommer, published in Venice in 1619. In 1618 John Willis (d. 1628?) published Mnemonica; sive ars reminiscendi,[7] containing a clear statement of the principles of topical or local mnemonics. Giordano Bruno included a memoria technica in his treatise De umbris idearum, as part of his study of the ars generalis of Llull. Other writers of this period are the Florentine Publicius (1482); Johannes Romberch (1533); Hieronimo Morafiot, Ars memoriae (1602);and B. Porta, Ars reminiscendi (1602).[5]

In 1648 Stanislaus Mink von Wennsshein revealed what he called the 'most fertile secret' in mnemonics — using consonants for figures, thus expressing numbers by words (vowels being added as required), in order to create associations more readily remembered. The philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz adopted an alphabet very similar to that of Wennsshein for his scheme of a form of writing common to all languages.

Wennsshein's method was adopted with slight changes afterward by the majority of subsequent 'original' systems. It was modified and supplemented by Richard Grey (1694-1771), a priest who published a Memoria technica in 1730. The principal part of Grey's method is briefly this:

To remember anything in history, chronology, geography, etc., a word is formed, the beginning whereof, being the first syllable or syllables of the thing sought, does, by frequent repetition, of course draw after it the latter part, which is so contrived as to give the answer. Thus, in history, the Deluge happened in the year before Christ two thousand three hundred forty-eight; this is signified by the word Del-etok, Del standing for Deluge and etok for 2348.[5]

(His method is comparable to the Hebrew system by which letters also stand for numerals, and therefore words for dates.)

To assist in retaining the mnemonical words in the memory, they were formed into memorial lines. Such strange words in difficult hexameter scansion, are by no means easy to memorise. The vowel or consonant, which Grey connected with a particular figure, was chosen arbitrarily.

A later modification was made in 1806 Gregor von Feinaigle, a German monk from Salem near Constance. While living and working in Paris, he expounded a system of mnemonics in which (as in Wennsshein) the numerical figures are represented by letters chosen due to some similarity to the figure or an accidental connection with it. This alphabet was supplemented by a complicated system of localities and signs. Feinaigle, who apparently did not publish any written documentation of this method, travelled to England in 1811. The following year one of his pupils published The New Art of Memory (1812), giving Feinaigle's system. In addition, it contains valuable historical material about previous systems.

Other mnemonists later published simplified forms, as the more complicated menemonics were generally abandoned. Methods founded chiefly on the so-called laws of association (cf. Mental association) were taught with some success in Germany.[8]


1. Music mnemonics
Songs and jingles can be used as a mnemonic. A common example is how children remember the alphabet by singing the ABC's.
Introducing psychology schacter pdf download pc
2. Name mnemonics (acronym)
The first letter of each word is combined into a new word. For example: VIBGYOR (or ROY G BIV) for the colours of the rainbow or HOMES for the Great Lakes.
3. Expression or word mnemonics
The first letter of each word is combined to form a phrase or sentence -- e.g. 'Richard of York gave battle in vain' for the colours of the rainbow.
4. Model mnemonics
A model is used to help recall information. Applications of this method involve the use of diagrams, cycles, graphs, and flowcharts to help understand or memorize and idea. e.g. cell cycle, pie charts, pyramid models.[clarification needed]
5. Ode mnemonics
The information is placed into a poem or doggerel, -- e.g. 'Note socer, gener, liberi, and Liber god of revelry, like puer these retain the 'e (most Latin nouns of the second declension ending in -er drop the -e in all of the oblique cases except the vocative, these are the exceptions).
6. Note organization mnemonics
The method of note organization can be used as a memorization technique. Applications of this method involve the use of flash cards and lists. Flash cards are used by putting a question or word on one side of a paper and the answer or definition on the other side of the paper. Lists involve the organization of data from broad to detailed. e.g. Earth → Continent → Country.
7. Image mnemonics
The information is constructed into a picture -- e.g. the German weak declension can be remembered as five '-e's', looking rather like the state of Oklahoma in America, in a sea of '-en's'.
8. Connection mnemonics
New knowledge is connected to knowledge already known.
9. Spelling mnemonics
An example is 'i before e except after c or when sounding like a in neighbor and weigh'.[9]

Applications and examples[edit]

A wide range of mnemonics are used for several purposes. The most commonly used mnemonics are those for lists, numerical sequences, foreign-language acquisition, and medical treatment for patients with memory deficits.

For lists[edit]

A common mnemonic for remembering lists is to create an easily remembered acronym, or, taking each of the initial letters of the list members, create a memorable phrase in which the words with the same acronym as the material. Mnemonic techniques can be applied to most memorisation of novel materials.

Key signatures of C♯ major or A♯ minor (left) and C♭ major or A♭ minor (right)

Some common examples for first-letter mnemonics:

  • 'Memory Needs Every Method Of Nurturing Its Capacity' is a mnemonic for spelling 'mnemonic.'
  • To memorize the metric prefixes after Giga(byte), think of the candy, and this mnemonic. Tangiest PEZ? Yellow! TPEZY. Tera, Peta, Exa, Zetta, Yotta(byte).
  • 'Maybe Not Every Mnemonic Oozes Nuisance Intensely Concentrated' is perhaps a less common mnemonic for spelling 'mnemonic', but it benefits from being a bit humorous and memorable.
  • The order of sharps in key signature notation is F♯, C♯, G♯, D♯, A♯, E♯ and B♯, giving the mnemonic 'Father Charles Goes Down And Ends Battle'. The order of flats is the reverse: B♭, E♭, A♭, D♭, G♭, C♭ and F♭ ('Battle Ends And Down Goes Charles' Father').[10]
  • To memorise the colours of the rainbow: the phrase 'Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain' - each of the initial letters matches the colours of the rainbow in order (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet). Other examples are the phrase 'Run over your granny because it's violent' or the imaginary name 'Roy G. Biv'.
  • To memorise the North American Great Lakes: the acronym HOMES - matching the letters of the five lakes (Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior)[11]
  • To memorise colour codes as they are used in electronics: the phrase 'Bill Brown Realised Only Yesterday Good Boys Value Good Work' represents in order the 10 colours and their numerical order: black (0), brown (1), red (2), orange (3), yellow (4), green (5), blue (6), violet or purple (7), grey (8), and white (9).[12]
  • To memorise chemical reactions, such as redox reactions, where it is common to mix up oxidation and reduction, the short phrase 'LEO (Lose Electron Oxidation) the lion says GER (Gain Electron Reduction)' or 'Oil Rig' can be used - which is an acronym for 'Oxidation is losing, Reduction is gaining'.[13] John 'Doc' Walters, who taught chemistry and physics at Browne & Nichols School in Cambridge, Massachusetts in the 1950s and 1960s, taught his students to use for this purpose the acronym RACOLA: Reduction is Addition of electrons and occurs at the Cathode; Oxidation is Loss of electrons and occurs at the Anode.
  • To memorise the names of the planets and Pluto, use the planetary mnemonic: 'My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nachos' or 'My Very Easy Method Just Speeds Up Naming Planets' or 'My Very Educated Mother Just Showed Us Nine Planets'- where each of the initial letters matches the name of the planets in our solar system (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, [Pluto]).[14]
  • To memorise the sequence of stellar classification: 'Oh, Be A Fine Girl [or Guy], Kiss Me' - where O, B, A, F, G, K, M are categories of stars.[15]
  • To memorise the layers of the OSI Model: 'Please Do Not Teach Students Pointless Acronyms' - where each of the initial letters matches the name of the OSI Layers from bottom to top (Physical, Data link, Network, Transport, Session, Presentation, Application).

For numerical sequences and mathematical operations[edit]

Mnemonic phrases or poems can be used to encode numeric sequences by various methods, one common one is to create a new phrase in which the number of letters in each word represents the according digit of pi. For example, the first 15 digits of the mathematical constant pi (3.14159265358979) can be encoded as 'Now I need a drink, alcoholic of course, after the heavy lectures involving quantum mechanics'; 'Now', having 3 letters, represents the first number, 3. Piphilology is the practice dedicated to creating mnemonics for pi.

Another is used for 'calculating' the multiples of 9 up to 9 × 10 using one's fingers. Begin by holding out both hands with all fingers stretched out. Now count left to right the number of fingers that indicates the multiple. For example, to figure 9 × 4, count four fingers from the left, ending at your left-hand index finger. Bend this finger down and count the remaining fingers. Fingers to the left of the bent finger represent tens, fingers to the right are ones. There are three fingers to the left and six to the right, which indicates 9 × 4 = 36. This works for 9 × 1 up through 9 × 10.

For remembering the rules in adding and multiplying two signed numbers, Balbuena and Buayan (2015) made the letter strategies LAUS (like signs, add; unlike signs, subtract) and LPUN (like signs, positive; unlike signs, negative), respectively.[16]

For foreign-language acquisition[edit]

Mnemonics may be helpful in learning foreign languages, for example by transposing difficult foreign words with words in a language the learner knows already, also called 'cognates' which are very common in the Spanish language. A useful such technique is to find linkwords, words that have the same pronunciation in a known language as the target word, and associate them visually or auditorially with the target word.

For example, in trying to assist the learner to remember ohel (אוהל), the Hebrew word for tent, the linguist Ghil'ad Zuckermann proposes the memorable sentence 'Oh hell, there's a raccoon in my tent'[17]. The memorable sentence 'There's a fork in Ma’s leg' helps the learner remember that the Hebrew word for fork is mazleg (מזלג).[18], Similarly, to remember the Hebrew word bayit (בית), meaning house, one can use the sentence 'that's a lovely house, I'd like to buy it.'[18] The linguist Michel Thomas taught students to remember that estar is the Spanish word for to be by using the phrase 'to be a star'.[19]

Another Spanish example is by using the mnemonic 'Vin Diesel Has Ten Weapons' to teach irregular command verbs in the you form. Spanish verb forms and tenses are regularly seen as the hardest part of learning the language. With a high number of verb tenses, and many verb forms that are not found in English, Spanish verbs can be hard to remember and then conjugate. The use of mnemonics has been proven to help students better learn foreign languages, and this holds true for Spanish verbs. A particularly hard verb tense to remember is command verbs. Command verbs in Spanish are conjugated differently depending on who the command is being given to. The phrase, when pronounced with a Spanish accent, is used to remember 'Ven Di Sal Haz Ten Ve Pon Sé', all of the irregular Spanish command verbs in the you form. This mnemonic helps students attempting to memorize different verb tenses.[20]Another technique is for learners of gendered languages to associate their mental images of words with a colour that matches the gender in the target language. An example here is to remember the Spanish word for 'foot,' pie, [pee-ay] with the image of a foot stepping on a pie, which then spills blue filling (blue representing the male gender of the noun in this example).

For French verbs which use etre as a participle: DR and MRS VANDERTRAMPP: descendre, rester, monter, revenir, sortir, venir, arriver, naître, devenir, entrer, rentrer, tomber, retourner, aller, mourir, partir, passer.

Masculine countries in French (le): 'Neither can a breeze make a sane Japanese chilly in the USA.' Netherlands, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Senegal, Japan, Chile & (les) USA.

For patients with memory deficits[edit]

Mnemonics can be used in aiding patients with memory deficits that could be caused by head injuries, strokes, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and other neurological conditions.

In a study conducted by Doornhein and De Haan, the patients were treated with six different memory strategies including the mnemonics technique. The results concluded that there were significant improvements on the immediate and delayed subtest of the RBMT, delayed recall on the Appointments test, and relatives rating on the MAC from the patients that received mnemonics treatment. However, in the case of stroke patients, the results did not reach statistical significance.[21]


Academic study of the use of mnemonics has shown their effectiveness. In one such experiment, subjects of different ages who applied mnemonic techniques to learn novel vocabulary outperformed control groups that applied contextual learning and free-learning styles.[22]

Mnemonics vary in effectiveness for several groups ranging from young children to the elderly. Mnemonic learning strategies require time and resources by educators to develop creative and effective devices. The most simple and creative mnemonic devices usually are the most effective for teaching. In the classroom, mnemonic devices must be used at the appropriate time in the instructional sequence to achieve their maximum effectiveness.[23]

Mnemonics were seen to be more effective for groups of people who struggled with or had weak long-term memory, like the elderly. Five years after a mnemonic training study, a research team followed-up 112 community-dwelling older adults, 60 years of age and over. Delayed recall of a word list was assessed prior to, and immediately following mnemonic training, and at the 5-year follow-up. Overall, there was no significant difference between word recall prior to training and that exhibited at follow-up. However, pre-training performance gains scores in performance immediately post-training and use of the mnemonic predicted performance at follow-up. Individuals who self-reported using the mnemonic exhibited the highest performance overall, with scores significantly higher than at pre-training. The findings suggest that mnemonic training has long-term benefits for some older adults, particularly those who continue to employ the mnemonic.[24]

This contrasts with a study from surveys of medical students that approximately only 20% frequently used mnemonic acronyms.[25]

In humans, the process of aging particularly affects the medial temporal lobe and hippocampus, in which the episodic memory is synthesized. The episodic memory stores information about items, objects, or features with spatiotemporal contexts. Since mnemonics aid better in remembering spatial or physical information rather than more abstract forms, its effect may vary according to a subject's age and how well the subject's medial temporal lobe and hippocampus function.

This could be further explained by one recent study which indicates a general deficit in the memory for spatial locations in aged adults (mean age 69.7 with standard deviation of 7.4 years) compared to young adults (mean age 21.7 with standard deviation of 4.2 years). At first, the difference in target recognition was not significant.

The researchers then divided the aged adults into two groups, aged unimpaired and aged impaired, according to a neuropsychological testing. With the aged groups split, there was an apparent deficit in target recognition in aged impaired adults compared to both young adults and aged unimpaired adults. This further supports the varying effectiveness of mnemonics in different age groups.[26]

Moreover, a different research was done previously with the same notion, which presented with similar results to that of Reagh et al. in verbal mnemonics discrimination task.[27]

Studies (notably 'The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two') have suggested that the short-term memory of adult humans can hold only a limited number of items; grouping items into larger chunks such as in a mnemonic might be part of what permits the retention of a larger total amount of information in short-term memory, which in turn can aid in the creation of long-term memories.[citation needed]

See also[edit]

  • Mnemonic effect (advertising)


  1. ^Soanes, Catherine; Stevenson, Angus; Hawker, Sara, eds. (29 March 2006). Concise Oxford English Dictionary (Computer Software): entry 'mnemonic' (11th ed.). Oxford University Press.
  2. ^μνημονικός, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus
  3. ^μνήμη, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus
  4. ^Carlson, Neil; et al. Psychology the Science of Behavior. Pearson Canada, United States of America. p. 245. ISBN978-0-205-64524-4.
  5. ^ abcd This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). 'Mnemonics' . Encyclopædia Britannica. 18 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 629–630. - and respective bibliography for this specific section.
  6. ^The method used is described by the author of Rhet ad Heren. iii. 16-24; see also Quintilian (Inst. Or. xi. 2), whose account is, however, obscure. In his time the art had almost ceased to be practiced.
  7. ^English version by Leonard Sowersby, 1661; extracts in Gregor von Feinaigle's New Art of Memory, 3rd ed., 1813.
  8. ^A simplified form of Feinaigle's method was published by Aimé Paris (Principes et applications diverses de la mnémonique, 7th ed., Paris, 1834). The use of symbolic pictures was revived in connection with the latter by Antoni Jaźwińsky of Poland. His system was published by the Polish general J. Bem, under the title Exposé général de la méthode mnémonique polonaise, perfectionnée à Paris (Paris, 1839). Various other modifications of the systems were advocated by subsequent mnemonists right through the 19th century. More complicated systems were proposed in the 20th century, such as the Keesing Memory System, the System of Memory and Mental Training, and the Pelman memory system.
  9. ^'Types of mnemonics'(PDF).
  10. ^Educational Plans in Music Teaching, The Quarterly Music Review, Vol. 1, 1885
  11. ^'Great Lakes Mnemonic - part of the Accelerated Learning Series'.
  12. ^Gambhir, R.S. (1993). Foundations Of Physics. 2. New Age International. p. 49. ISBN81-224-0523-1.
  13. ^Glynn, Shawn; et al. (2003). Mnemonic Methods. The Science Teacher. pp. 52–55.
  14. ^'Questions and Answers on Planets'. Archived from the original on February 8, 2014. Retrieved 2008-07-06.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  15. ^'Mnemonic Oh, Be A Fine Girl, Kiss Me! in Astronomy'. Mnemonic Devices Memory Tools.
  16. ^
  17. ^'professorzuckermann - Anglo-Hebraic Lexical Mnemonics'. Professor Ghil'ad Zuckermann - פרופ' גלעד צוקרמן.
  18. ^ abZuckermann, Ghil'ad (2011). 'Mnemonics in Second Language Acquisition'. Word Ways: The Journal of Recreational Linguistics. 44 (4): 302–309.
  19. ^'How to Master a Foreign Language'. Archived from the original on 2015-03-25.
  20. ^'Irregular Spanish Imperatives Made Easy by Vin Diesel'. Retrieved 5 March 2015.
  21. ^das Nair, RD; Lincoln, NB (8 July 2008). 'Cognitive rehabilitation for memory deficits following stroke'(PDF). The Cochrane Collaboration. JohnWiley & Sons, Ltd.: 2. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD002293.pub2.
  22. ^Levin, Joel R.; Levin, Mary E.; Glasman, Lynette D.; Nordwall, Margaret B. (April 1992). 'Mnemonic vocabulary instruction: Additional effectiveness evidence'. Contemporary Educational Psychology. 17 (2): 156–174. doi:10.1016/0361-476x(92)90056-5.
  23. ^Seay, Sharon S.; McAlum, Harry G. (May 2010). 'The use/application of mnemonics as a pedagogical tool in auditing'(PDF). Academy of Educational Leadership Journal. 14 (22): 33–47.
  24. ^O’Hara, Ruth; Brooks, John O.; Friedman, Leah; Schröder, Carmen M.; Morgan, Kevin S.; Kraemer, Helena C. (October 2007). 'Long-term effects of mnemonic training in community-dwelling older adults'. Journal of Psychiatric Research. 41 (7): 585–590. doi:10.1016/j.jpsychires.2006.04.010.
  25. ^Brotle, Charles D. (2011). The role of mnemonic acronyms in clinical emergency medicine: A grounded theory study (EdD thesis). ProQuest.
  26. ^Reagh, Zachariah M.; Roberts, Jared M.; Ly, Maria; DiProspero, Natalie; Murray, Elizabeth; Yassa, Michael A. (March 2014). 'Spatial discrimination deficits as a function of mnemonic interference in aged adults with and without memory impairment'. Hippocampus. 24 (3): 303–314. doi:10.1002/hipo.22224. PMC3968903. PMID24167060.
  27. ^Ly, Maria; Murray, Elizabeth; Yassa, Michael A. (June 2013). 'Perceptual versus conceptual interference and pattern separation of verbal stimuli in young and older adults'. Hippocampus. 23 (6): 425–430. doi:10.1002/hipo.22110. PMC3968906. PMID23505005.

External links[edit]

The dictionary definition of mnemonic at Wiktionary

Retrieved from ''
Part of a series of articles on
  • The Interpretation of Dreams(1899)
  • The Psychopathology of Everyday Life(1901)
  • Beyond the Pleasure Principle(1920)
  • The Ego and the Id(1923)

The id, ego, and super-ego are three distinct, yet interacting agents in the psychic apparatus defined in Sigmund Freud'sstructural model of the psyche.

The three parts are the theoretical constructs of how the activity and interaction in our mental life is described. According to this Freudian model of the psyche, the id is the set of uncoordinated instinctual trends; the super-ego plays the critical and moralizing role; and the ego is the organized, realistic part that mediates between the desires of the id and the super-ego.[1]

As Freud explained:

The functional importance of the ego is manifested in the fact that normally control over the approaches to motility devolves upon it. Thus in its relation to the id it is like a man on horseback, who has to hold in check the superior strength of the horse; with this difference, that the rider tries to do so with his own strength while the ego uses borrowed forces. The analogy may be carried a little further. Often a rider, if he is not to be parted from his horse, is obliged to guide it where it wants to go; so in the same way the ego is in the habit of transforming the id's will into action as if it were its own. (p. 19).[2]

Although the model is structural and makes reference to an apparatus, the id, ego and super-ego are purely psychological concepts and do not correspond to (somatic) structures of the brain such as the kind dealt with by neuroscience. The super-ego is observable in how someone can view themselves as guilty, bad, shameful, weak, and feel compelled to do certain things. Freud in The Ego and the Id discusses 'the general character of harshness and cruelty exhibited by the [ego] ideal – its dictatorial 'Thou shalt.''

Freud (1933) hypothesizes different levels of ego ideal or superego development with increasingly greater ideals:

...nor must it be forgotten that a child has a different estimate of [their] parents at different periods of [their] life. At the time at which the Oedipus complex gives place to the super-ego they are something quite magnificent; but later they lose much of this. Identifications then come about with these later parents as well, and indeed they regularly make important contributions to the formation of character; but in that case they only affect the ego, they no longer influence the super-ego, which has been determined by the earliest parental images.

Introducing Psychology Schacter Pdf Download Free

— New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis, p. 64

The earlier in development, the greater the estimate of parental power. When one defuses into rivalry with the parental imago, then one feels the 'dictatorial thou shalt' to manifest the power the imago represents. Four general levels are found in Freud's work: the auto-erotic, the narcissistic, the anal, and the phallic.[3] These different levels of development and the relations to parental imagos correspond to specific id forms of aggression and affection. For example, aggressive desires to decapitate, to dismember, to cannibalize, to swallow whole, to suck dry, to make disappear, to blow away, etc. animate myths, are enjoyed in fantasy and horror movies, and are observable in the fantasies and repressions of patients across cultures.

The concepts themselves arose at a late stage in the development of Freud's thought as the 'structural model' (which succeeded his 'economic model' and 'topographical model') and was first discussed in his 1920 essay Beyond the Pleasure Principle and was formalized and elaborated upon three years later in his The Ego and the Id. Freud's proposal was influenced by the ambiguity of the term 'unconscious' and its many conflicting uses.

  • 1Psychic apparatus

Psychic apparatus[edit]


The id (Latin for 'it',[4]German: Es)[5] is the disorganized part of the personality structure that contains a human's basic, instinctual drives. Id is the only component of personality that is present from birth.[6] It is the source of a person's bodily needs, wants, desires, and impulses, particularly their sexual and aggressive drives. The id contains the libido, which is the primary source of instinctual force that is unresponsive to the demands of reality.[7] The id acts according to the 'pleasure principle'—the psychic force that motivates the tendency to seek immediate gratification of any impulse[8]—defined as seeking to avoid pain or unpleasure (not 'displeasure') aroused by increases in instinctual tension.[9] According to Freud the id is unconscious by definition:

It is the dark, inaccessible part of our personality, what little we know of it we have learned from our study of the dreamwork and of course the construction of neurotic symptoms, and most of that is of a negative character and can be described only as a contrast to the ego. We approach the id with analogies: we call it a chaos, a cauldron full of seething excitations. ...It is filled with energy reaching it from the instincts, but it has no organization, produces no collective will, but only a striving to bring about the satisfaction of the instinctual needs subject to the observance of the pleasure principle.[10]

In the id:

...contrary impulses exist side by side, without cancelling each other out. ...There is nothing in the id that could be compared with negation...nothing in the id which corresponds to the idea of time.[11]

Developmentally, the id precedes the ego; i.e., the psychic apparatus begins, at birth, as an undifferentiated id, part of which then develops into a structured ego. While 'id' is in search of pleasure, 'ego' emphasizes the principle of reality.[12] Thus, the id:

...contains everything that is inherited, that is present at birth, is laid down in the constitution—above all, therefore, the instincts, which originate from the somatic organization, and which find a first psychical expression here (in the id) in forms unknown to us.[13]

The mind of a newborn child is regarded as completely 'id-ridden', in the sense that it is a mass of instinctive drives and impulses, and needs immediate satisfaction. The 'id' moves on to what organism needs. Example is reduction of tension which is experienced.[2]

The id 'knows no judgements of value: no good and evil, no morality. ...Instinctual cathexes seeking discharge—that, in our view, is all there is in the id.'[14] It is regarded as 'the great reservoir of libido',[15] the instinctive drive to create—the life instincts that are crucial to pleasurable survival. Alongside the life instincts came the death instincts—the death drive which Freud articulated relatively late in his career in 'the hypothesis of a death instinct, the task of which is to lead organic life back into the inanimate state.'[16] For Freud, 'the death instinct would thus seem to express itself—though probably only in part—as an instinct of destruction directed against the external world and other organisms'[17] through aggression. Freud considered that 'the id, the whole person...originally includes all the instinctual impulses...the destructive instinct as well',[18] as eros or the life instincts.


The ego (Latin for 'I',[19]German: Ich)[20] acts according to the reality principle; i.e., it seeks to please the id's drive in realistic ways that, in the long term, bring benefit, rather than grief.[21] At the same time, Freud concedes that as the ego 'attempts to mediate between id and reality, it is often obliged to cloak the [unconscious] commands of the id with its own preconsciousrationalizations, to conceal the id's conflicts with reality, to be taking notice of reality even when the id has remained rigid and unyielding.'[22] The reality principle that operates the ego is a regulating mechanism that enables the individual to delay gratifying immediate needs and function effectively in the real world. An example would be to resist the urge to grab other people's belongings, but instead to purchase those items.[23]

The ego is the organized part of the personality structure that includes defensive, perceptual, intellectual-cognitive, and executive functions. Conscious awareness resides in the ego, although not all of the operations of the ego are conscious. Originally, Freud used the word ego to mean a sense of self, but later revised it to mean a set of psychic functions such as judgment, tolerance, reality testing, control, planning, defense, synthesis of information, intellectual functioning, and memory.[24] The ego separates out what is real. It helps us to organize our thoughts and make sense of them and the world around us.[24] 'The ego is that part of the id which has been modified by the direct influence of the external world. ...The ego represents what may be called reason and common sense, in contrast to the id, which contains the its relation to the id it is like a person on horseback, who has to hold in check the superior strength of the horse; with this difference, that the rider tries to do so with their own strength, while the ego uses borrowed forces.'[25] Still worse, 'it serves three severe masters...the external world, the super-ego and the id.'[22] Its task is to find a balance between primitive drives and reality while satisfying the id and super-ego. Its main concern is with the individual's safety and allows some of the id's desires to be expressed, but only when consequences of these actions are marginal. 'Thus the ego, driven by the id, confined by the super-ego, repulsed by reality, struggles...[in] bringing about harmony among the forces and influences working in and upon it,' and readily 'breaks out in anxiety—realistic anxiety regarding the external world, moral anxiety regarding the super-ego, and neurotic anxiety regarding the strength of the passions in the id.'[26] It has to do its best to suit all three, thus is constantly feeling hemmed by the danger of causing discontent on two other sides. It is said, however, that the ego seems to be more loyal to the id, preferring to gloss over the finer details of reality to minimize conflicts while pretending to have a regard for reality. But the super-ego is constantly watching every one of the ego's moves and punishes it with feelings of guilt, anxiety, and inferiority.

To overcome this the ego employs defense mechanisms. The defense mechanisms are not done so directly or consciously. They lessen the tension by covering up our impulses that are threatening.[27] Ego defense mechanisms are often used by the ego when id behavior conflicts with reality and either society's morals, norms, and taboos or the individual's expectations as a result of the internalization of these morals, norms, and their taboos.

Denial, displacement, intellectualisation, fantasy, compensation, projection, rationalization, reaction formation, regression, repression, and sublimation were the defense mechanisms Freud identified. However, his daughter Anna Freud clarified and identified the concepts of undoing, suppression, dissociation, idealization, identification, introjection, inversion, somatisation, splitting, and substitution.

'The ego is not sharply separated from the id; its lower portion merges into it.... But the repressed merges into the id as well, and is merely a part of it. The repressed is only cut off sharply from the ego by the resistances of repression; it can communicate with the ego through the id.' (Sigmund Freud, 1923)

In a diagram of the Structural and Topographical Models of Mind, the ego is depicted to be half in the consciousness, while a quarter is in the preconscious and the other quarter lies in the unconscious.

In modern English, ego has many meanings. It could mean one’s self-esteem; an inflated sense of self-worth; the conscious-thinking self;[28] or in philosophical terms, one’s self. Ego development is known as the development of multiple processes, cognitive function, defenses, and interpersonal skills or to early adolescence when ego processes are emerged.[21]


The super-ego[29] (German: Über-Ich)[30] reflects the internalization of cultural rules, mainly taught by parents applying their guidance and influence.[8] Freud developed his concept of the super-ego from an earlier combination of the ego ideal and the 'special psychical agency which performs the task of seeing that narcissistic satisfaction from the ego ideal is ensured...what we call our 'conscience'.'[31] For him 'the installation of the super-ego can be described as a successful instance of identification with the parental agency,' while as development proceeds 'the super-ego also takes on the influence of those who have stepped into the place of parents — educators, teachers, people chosen as ideal models'.

Thus a child's super-ego is in fact constructed on the model not of its parents but of its parents' super-ego; the contents which fill it are the same and it becomes the vehicle of tradition and of all the time-resisting judgments of value which have propagated themselves in this manner from generation to generation.[32]

The super-ego aims for perfection.[27] It forms the organized part of the personality structure, mainly but not entirely unconscious, that includes the individual's ego ideals, spiritual goals, and the psychic agency (commonly called 'conscience') that criticizes and prohibits their drives, fantasies, feelings, and actions. 'The Super-ego can be thought of as a type of conscience that punishes misbehavior with feelings of guilt. For example, for having extra-marital affairs.'[33] Taken in this sense, the super-ego is the precedent for the conceptualization of the inner critic as it appears in contemporary therapies such as IFS.[34]

The super-ego works in contradiction to the id. The super-ego strives to act in a socially appropriate manner, whereas the id just wants instant self-gratification. The super-ego controls our sense of right and wrong and guilt. It helps us fit into society by getting us to act in socially acceptable ways.[24]

The super-ego's demands often oppose the id's, so the ego sometimes has a hard time in reconciling the two.[27]

Freud's theory implies that the super-ego is a symbolic internalisation of the father figure and cultural regulations. The super-ego tends to stand in opposition to the desires of the id because of their conflicting objectives, and its aggressiveness towards the ego. The super-ego acts as the conscience, maintaining our sense of morality and proscription from taboos. The super-ego and the ego are the product of two key factors: the state of helplessness of the child and the Oedipus complex.[35] Its formation takes place during the dissolution of the Oedipus complex and is formed by an identification with and internalisation of the father figure after the little boy cannot successfully hold the mother as a love-object out of fear of castration. Freud described the super-ego and its relationship to the father figure and Oedipus complex thus:

The super-ego retains the character of the father, while the more powerful the Oedipus complex was and the more rapidly it succumbed to repression (under the influence of authority, religious teaching, schooling and reading), the stricter will be the domination of the super-ego over the ego later on—in the form of conscience or perhaps of an unconscious sense of guilt.[36]

The concept of super-ego and the Oedipus complex is subject to criticism for its perceived sexism. Women, who are considered to be already castrated, do not identify with the father, and therefore, for Freud, 'their super-ego is never so inexorable, so impersonal, so independent of its emotional origins as we require it to be in men...they are often more influenced in their judgements by feelings of affection or hostility.'[37] However, Freud went on to modify his position to the effect 'that the majority of men are also far behind the masculine ideal and that all human individuals, as a result of their human identity, combine in themselves both masculine and feminine characteristics, otherwise known as human characteristics.'[38]

Advantages of the structural model[edit]

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The iceberg metaphor is often used to explain the psyche's parts in relation to one another.

Freud's earlier, topographical model of the mind had divided the mind into the three elements of conscious, preconscious, and unconscious. The conscious contains events that we are aware of, preconscious is events that are in the process of becoming conscious, and unconscious include events that we are not aware of.[39] At its heart was 'the dialectic of unconscious traumatic memory versus consciousness...which soon became a conflict between System Ucs versus System Cs.'[40] With what Freud called the 'disagreeable discovery that on the one hand (super-)ego and conscious and on the other hand repressed and unconscious are far from coinciding,'[41] Freud took the step in the structural model to 'no longer use the term 'unconscious' in the systematic sense,' and to rename 'the mental region that is foreign to the ego...[and] in future call it the 'id'.'[42] The partition of the psyche defined in the structural model is thus one that cuts across the topographical model's partition of 'conscious vs. unconscious'.

'The new terminology which he introduced has a highly clarifying effect and so made further clinical advances possible.'[43] Its value lies in the increased degree of precision and diversification made possible: Although the id is unconscious by definition, the ego and the super-ego are both partly conscious and partly unconscious. What is more, with this new model Freud achieved a more systematic classification of mental disorder than had been available previously:

Transference neuroses correspond to a conflict between the ego and the id; narcissistic neuroses, to a conflict between the ego and the superego; and psychoses, to one between the ego and the external world.[44]

It is important to realise however, that 'the three newly presented entities, the id, the ego and the superego, all had lengthy past histories (two of them under other names)'[45]—the id as the systematic unconscious, the super-ego as conscience/ego ideal. Equally, Freud never abandoned the topographical division of conscious, preconscious, and unconscious, though as he noted ruefully 'the three qualities of consciousness and the three provinces of the mental apparatus do not fall together into three peaceful couples...we had no right to expect any such smooth arrangement.'[46]

The iceberg metaphor is a commonly used visual metaphor when attempting to relate the ego, id and superego with the conscious and unconscious mind. In the iceberg metaphor the entire id and part of both the superego and the ego would be submerged in the underwater portion representing the unconscious mind. The remaining portions of the ego and superego would be displayed above water in the conscious mind area.[7]


The terms 'id', 'ego', and 'super-ego' are not Freud's own. They are latinisations by his translator James Strachey. Freud himself wrote of ',[5] 'das Ich',[20] and 'das Über-Ich'[30]—respectively, 'the It', 'the I', and 'the Over-I' (or 'I above'); thus to the German reader, Freud's original terms are more or less self-explanatory. Freud borrowed the term 'das Es' from Georg Groddeck, a German physician to whose unconventional ideas Freud was much attracted (Groddeck's translators render the term in English as 'the It').[47] The word ego is taken directly from Latin, where it is the nominative of the first person singular personal pronoun and is translated as 'I myself' to express emphasis.Figures like Bruno Bettelheim have criticized the way 'the English translations impeded students' efforts to gain a true understanding of Freud.'[48] by substituting the formalised language of the elaborated code for the quotidian immediacy of Freud's own language.

See also[edit]


  1. ^Freud, Sigmund. The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud. Vol. XIX. Translated from the German under the General Editorship of James Strachey. In collaboration with Anna Freud. Assisted by Alix Strachey and Alan Tyson, Vintage, 1999. [Reprint.] ISBN0-09-929622-5
  2. ^ abFreud, Sigmund (1978). The standard edition of the complete psychological works of Sigmund Freud. Volume XIX (1923-26) The Ego and the Id and Other Works. Strachey, James., Freud, Anna, 1895-1982,, Rothgeb, Carrie Lee, 1925-, Richards, Angela., Scientific Literature Corporation. London,: Hogarth Press. ISBN0701200677. OCLC965512.
  3. ^Pederson, Trevor (2015). The Economics of Libido: Psychic Bisexuality, the Superego, and the Centrality of the Oedipus Complex. Karnac.
  4. ^'Id'. Encyclopædia Britannica. February 22, 2016. Retrieved February 27, 2017.
  5. ^ abLaplanche, Jean; Pontalis, Jean-Bertrand (1988) [1973]. 'Id (pp. 197-9)'. The Language of Psycho-analysis (reprint, revised ed.). London: Karnac Books. ISBN978-0-946-43949-2. ISBN0-94643949-4.
  6. ^Cherry, Kendra (November 6, 2018). 'Freud and the Id, Ego, and Superego'. Retrieved November 11, 2018.
  7. ^ abCarlson, N. R. (19992000). Personality. Psychology: the science of behavior (Canandian ed., p. 453). Scarborough, Ont.: Allyn and Bacon Canada.
  8. ^ abSchacter, Daniel (2009). Psychology Second Edition. New York City: Worth Publishers. p. 481. ISBN978-1-4292-3719-2.
  9. ^Rycroft, Charles (1968). A Critical Dictionary of Psychoanalysis. Basic Books.
  10. ^Sigmund Freud (1933), New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis. pp. 105–6.
  11. ^Sigmund Freud (1933). p. 106.
  12. ^Lapsley, Daniel K.; Paul C., Stey. 'Id, Ego, and Superego'(PDF). doi:10.1016/B978-0-12-375000-6.00199-3. Chapter of Ramachandran, Vilayanur S., ed. (2012). Encyclopedia of Human Behavior (2nd, revised ed.). Cambridge, Massachusetts: Academic Press. pp. 393-399. ISBN978-0-080-96180-4. ISBN0-08096180-0.
  13. ^Freud, An Outline of Psycho-analysis (1940)
  14. ^Sigmund Freud (1933). p. 107.
  15. ^Sigmund Freud, 'The Ego and the Id', On Metapsychology (Penguin Freud Library 11) p. 369.
  16. ^Freud, On Metapsychology p. 380.
  17. ^Freud, On Metapsychology p. 381.
  18. ^Sigmund Freud (1933). p. 138.
  19. ^'Ego'. Encyclopædia Britannica. February 22, 2016. Retrieved February 27, 2017.
  20. ^ abLaplanche, Jean; Pontalis, Jean-Bertrand (1988). 'Ego (pp. 130-43)'.
  21. ^ abNoam, Gil G; Hauser, Stuart T.; Santostefano, Sebastiano; Garrison, William; Jacobson, Alan M.; Powers, Sally I.; Mead, Merrill (February 1984). 'Ego Development and Psychopathology: A Study of Hospitalized Adolescents'. Child Development. Blackwell Publishing on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development. 55 (1): 189–194. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624.1984.tb00283.x.
  22. ^ abSigmund Freud (1933). p. 110
  23. ^Schacter, Gilbert, Wegner, Daniel (2011). Psychology (1. publ., 3. print. ed.). Cambridge: WorthPublishers. ISBN978-1-429-24107-6.
  24. ^ abcSnowden, Ruth (2006). Teach Yourself Freud. McGraw-Hill. pp. 105–107. ISBN978-0-07-147274-6.
  25. ^Freud,The Ego and the Id, On Metapsychology pp. 363–4.
  26. ^Sigmund Freud (1933). pp. 110–11.
  27. ^ abcMeyers, David G. (2007). 'Module 44 The Psychoanalytic Perspective'. Psychology Eighth Edition in Modules. Worth Publishers. ISBN978-0-7167-7927-8.
  28. ^ 'Ego'. In The Book of Real Answers to Everything!, Griffith J.. 2011. ISBN9781741290073.
  29. ^'Superego'. Encyclopædia Britannica. February 22, 2016. Retrieved February 27, 2017.
  30. ^ abLaplanche, Jean; Pontalis, Jean-Bertrand (1988). 'Super-Ego (pp. 435–8)'.
  31. ^Freud, On Metapsychology pp. 89-90.
  32. ^Sigmund Freud (1933). pp. 95-6.
  33. ^Arthur S. Reber, The Penguin Dictionary of Psychology (1985)
  34. ^Schwartz, Richard (1997). Internal Family Systems Therapy. The Guilford Press.
  35. ^Sédat, Jacques (2000). 'Freud'. Collection Synthèse. Armand Colin. 109. ISBN978-2-200-21997-0.
  36. ^Freud, The Ego and the Id.
  37. ^Sigmund Freud, On Sexuality (Penguin Freud Library 7) p. 342.
  38. ^Freud, On Sexuality p. 342.
  39. ^Carlson, Neil R. (2010). Psychology, the science of behaviour: The psychodynamic approach. Toronto: Pearson Canada. p. 453. ISBN978-0-205-64524-4.
  40. ^James S. Grotstein, in Neville Symington, Narcissism: A New Theory (London 2003) p. x
  41. ^Sigmund Freud (1933). p. 101.
  42. ^Sigmund Freud (1933). p. 104.
  43. ^Angela Richards 'Editor's Introduction' Freud, On Metapsychology pp. 344–5.
  44. ^Freud, Neurosis and Psychosis
  45. ^Angela Richards, 'Editor's Introduction' in On Metapsychology p. 345.
  46. ^Sigmund Freud (1933). pp. 104–5.
  47. ^(in German)Groddeck, Georg (1923). Das Buch vom Es. Psychoanalytische Briefe an eine Freundin [The Book of the It]. Vienna: Internationaler Psychoanalytischer Verlag.
  48. ^Quoted in Neville Symington, Narcissism: A New Theory (London 1996) p. 10.

Further reading[edit]

  • Freud, Sigmund (April 1910). 'The Origin and Development of Psychoanalysis'. American Journal of Psychology. 21 (2): 181–218. JSTOR1413001.
  • Freud, Sigmund (1920), Beyond the Pleasure Principle.
  • Freud, Sigmund (1923), Das Ich und das Es, Internationaler Psycho-analytischer Verlag, Leipzig, Vienna, and Zurich. English translation, The Ego and the Id, Joan Riviere (trans.), Hogarth Press and Institute of Psycho-analysis, London, UK, 1927. Revised for The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, James Strachey (ed.), W.W. Norton and Company, New York City, NY, 1961.
  • Freud, Sigmund (1923), 'Neurosis and Psychosis'. The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Volume XIX (1923–1925): The Ego and the Id and Other Works, 147–154
  • Gay, Peter (ed., 1989), The Freud Reader. W.W. Norton.
  • Rangjung Dorje (root text): Venerable Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche (commentary), Peter Roberts (translator) (2001) Transcending Ego: Distinguishing Consciousness from Wisdom, (Wylie: rnam shes ye shes ‘byed pa)
  • Kurt R. Eissler: The effect of the structure of the ego on psychoanalytic technique (1953) / republished by Psychomedia

External links[edit]

Introducing Psychology 3rd Schacter Free

  • Section 5: Freud's Structural and Topographical Model, Chapter 3: Personality Development Psychology 101.
  • Splash26, Lacanian Ink
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