Attributes Of Theory Of Personality By Sigmund Freud

This article will cover the attributes of Theory of Personality, which is an important topic from the point of view of a psychology student and has been given by the famous psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud

Basically, when everyone was talking about consciousness, Freud opened a new book of unconscious elements and his most controversial theory was the theory of personality. 

Attributes Of Theory Of Personality

The attributes of theory of personality include three sections:

1.  Structure Of Personality

2. Dynamics Of Personality

3. Psychosexual Theory Of Personality

Basically, Sigmund Freud belonged to the Victorian period and this was actually the period of discipline but Sigmund used the words like sex, extra-marital affairs, etc in general. 

Freud said that anything which is appealing, that is, anything that gives pleasure is ‘sexy’. 

He gave us two instincts of life – the life instinct, and the death instinct, these instincts are the things that are inborn with us. It is like a locked bird in a cage which once you unlock it, will fly because of its instinctive behavior. 

Life Instinct (Eros)

-When something new is created and is sexy. 

-If everything is about pleasure then rape must have been sexy but unfortunately, it is crime.


-Life instinct is also known as Eros, that is, sensual, that appeals to the senses. 

Death Instinct (Thanatos)

It involves aggression and destruction. 

If we use aggression in a negative way then it brings destruction. 

For example, if a student slaps a teacher then the teacher will get him out of the class. 

If we channel our aggression in a good way then it is a booster. For instance, in cricket, if a batsman gets angry, he will probably score more runs. We also need to develop the same trait. 

Structure Of Personality/Mind

It is classified into three parts – 

1. Id

2. Ego

3. Superego


It is the storehouse of biological-based urges, eating, drinking, and sex. 

It is based on the pleasure principle.

Id dominates us.

It makes us do crimes, there is no morality.

It gives us cravings. 

It is related to Libido which is the sexual energy that helps seek pleasure. 


The ego consists of behaving and thinking executive function of a person.

It is based on the reality principle.

It gets stuck/sandwiched between Id and Superego. 

The ego makes a bridge between the id and superego and many times gets churned as well. 


Superego is based on the perfection/morality principle.

It gives the authority.

It is dependent on society. 

Superego works with reality and dominates the id. Basically, it is the ego that decides which decision has to be taken. Ego is “us”. Whatever we do or respond to is as per our ego. 

All these things are unconscious and that is what Sigmund Freud brought forth. The unconscious things come to the surface only when an appropriate therapy technique is applied. Firstly, Freud used the Free Association technique, and then hypnosis. 

Free Association Technique By Freud

Freud used to have a couch in his room where he would make his client/patients lie down and try to relax their bodies to bring them to a state of half-sleep. What happens during this time is that the unconscious part of the mind gets activated and the person continuously speaks whatever is present in their unconscious mind. 

In our unconscious mind, those things are present that we don’t want to remember because memorizing or reminding those things would create anxiety within us

Some drugs are also used in this technique to activate our unconscious mind, like Sodium Amygal which is used to induce half sleep in a person

So, in free association, when the person relaxes on the couch and is in the half asleep state, then Freud asks his patient to freely tell about everything that comes to their mind even if it is bad. He basically tries to establish a free talk which is why this technique is termed as free association. 

The unconscious mind consists of those things or memories which otherwise would cause us anxiety and its symptoms would include nausea, panic attacks, and maybe claustrophobia.  

Dynamics Of Personality or Levels Of Conscious/Awareness

There are three levels of consciousness-

1. Conscious 

2. Pre/Sub-Conscious

3. Unconscious


This is what we are feeling at the moment. You can also refer it to as awareness. The conscious part is the things and thoughts that we are aware of. 

Pre/Sub Conscious

This is what we do not remember or are not thinking about at this moment but if we put a little stress, we will easily recall it. For instance, as you read this, you will remember what you had for breakfast today, but before reading this, you were not actively thinking about it, right?


It is what we have forgotten, the things and thoughts that have been suppressed somewhere in our memory. Though we cannot remember the things in our unconscious, it plays the most important part in structuring our personality. All our id is also because of this unconscious part. 

Psychosexual Theory Of Personality

Freud gave five stages of development of personality that build the personality of an individual and he stated that this begins right from when a baby is born. These stages of development are:

1. Oral Stage

2. Anal Stage

3. Phallic Stage

4. Latency Stage

5. Genital Stage

You can check out our article to read in detail about these psychosexual stages of development by Freud. 

What Are The Attributes Of Personality Development?

The key attributes that develop a personality include a lot of positive qualities such as willingness to learn, punctuality, flexible attitude, eagerness to help others, friendly nature, etc. 

Final Words

Let us know if our content was helpful to you or not. For any suggestions, share your thoughts with us in the comments, and you can also tell us what else you would like to read next on Psychology or Literature. Till then, check out our other articles Insightful Learning In Psychology – Characteristics And Advantages Of Insightful Learning, Attention And Perception In Psychology

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