In anthropology ego refers to the
individual from whom the networks of kinship and family relationship and descent are
reckoned and traced. In psychology the term ego is used to refer to the self of the
individual and the way they have constructed their personality and identity in
In Freud's psychoanalytic theory,
the ego is the outcome of the individual's struggle to adapt their basic drives (the id) to the imperative control of society and culture (the super ego).
Between their drives and the
coercive influence of social expectation, individuals create a sphere of unique
The Ego Revisited - Understanding
and Transcending Narcissism - The ego as a construct in
humanistic and transpersonal psychology has a turbulent history. Early efforts to
distinguish transpersonal theories from the reductionism of Freudian drive psychology
tended to eschew psychoanalytic views altogether, including theories on the development of
the ego as an intrapsychic structure.
Transpersonal theorists have began
to recognize and integrate the important contributions of American ego psychology and
object relations theory toward an understanding of prestructural or
Beyond the Ego: Toward
Transpersonal Models of the Person and Psychotherapy
Roger N. Walsh, Frances Vaughan, Journal of Humanistic Psychology, Vol. 20, No.1,
All psychologies posit either explicit or implicit models of the person which shape
perception, organize experience, and determine methods of inquiry. A transpersonal model,
like a humanistic model, focuses on the human potential for growth, health, and
Ego and Self in the Group -
H. Shmuel Erlich, the Israel Psychoanalytic Society and Institute.
Group Analysis, Vol. 29, No. 2, 229-243 (1996)
The psychodynamic concepts of ego and Self are interwoven with group phenomena in a number
of ways. Even though ego/Self are at an opposite pole to group, they are also what makes
up the group, and are in need of the group for attaining their fullest state. The group
may also be viewed as having the character and quality of an ego/Self, albeit at a new
level of conceptualization, as an entity in its own right. Understanding ego and Self as
representing different experiential modes of the subject's relatedness to his or her
object enables us to better understand ego and Self in the group, and can help account
more fully for the different atmospheres that prevail in the Work Group as compared to the
Basic Assumption Group.
Ego Development and Black Identity - Jacqueline Looney, Duke University
Journal of Black Psychology, Vol. 15, No.1, (1988)
The relationship of ego development and Black identity formation was explored in thirty
Black male and thirty Black female college students. The subjects were administered the
Washington University Sentence Completion Test and the Racial Identity Attitude Scale. A
significant inverse relationship was found between ego development and Black identity.
This suggests that if an individual has strong ego, he or she defines self; if the
individual's ego is weak, others define self.
The Relationship of Moral Judgment and Ego Development to Political-Social Values in Black
College Students - Patricia J. Dunston, Albert Roberts, Howard University, Journal of
Black Psychology, Vol. 13, No. 2, 43-49 (1987)
An investigation was made of interrelationships among ego development, moral judgment,
self-concept, and political- social values within a Black College-age population. Two
alternative models were structured of possible interrelation ships based on the literature
generated by the research groups of Lawrence Kohlberg and Jane Loevinger. Data gathered on
193 college students were probed by regression analyses. The results failed to validate
either of the two proposed models, but they did indicate that moral judgment has a greater
causal influence that did ego development.
Social Complexity, Threat, Ego Defenses, and Labeling the Other a Deviant - A
'Racial' Incident in the Development of a Small Group, Arthur Ferrari, Connecticut
Small Group Research, Vol. 21, No. 4, 538-553 (1990)
This article provides an examination of ego defense and their role in triggering people to
lable another as deviant in a developing small group. Swanson's theory posits a
relationship between the complexity of a social relationship and the complexity of ego
defense when self and relationaship are threatened. Support was found for the purported
relationship and showed that disparate levels of social interaction played a role in the
decision to label (which in this study's instance was compounded by apparent racism).