Difference Between Ego and Superego


Main Difference

The main difference between Ego and Superego is that Ego is common sense, whereas Superego is morality.

Ego vs. Superego

The part of the mind, which mediates between conscious and subconscious, is called ego. In contrast, the part of the mind, which is a self-critical conscience, is called the superego. The ego refers to reality. In contrast, the superego refers to perfectionism, a sense of ideality that is learned from parents and teachers.

The ego comprises reasoning, judgment, understanding, and planning. On the other hand, the superego is comprised of punishments, warnings, and rewards. The ego can be defined as having a realistic approach to life, whereas the superego is the last component toward the critical and moralizing part.


The ego is mainly related to long-term benefits and results of actions. On the flip side, the superego is concerned about rules and other norms in dealing with a person’s actions and possessions. The ego acts as a bridge between id and superego, which are parts of the psyche of the brain. On the other hand, the superego confines both id and ego for the consequences of their actions.

The leading role of the ego is maintaining the balance between the conscious and unconscious. In contrast, the leading role of the superego is confining the mind in the boundaries of norms and morality, and restricting them from becoming socially unacceptable.


The ego manages to deal with id part of the psyche, pleasing as well as controlling it at the same time. On the flip side, the superego directly contradicts the id, limiting the human actions by keeping their consequences in mind.

Comparison Chart

The realistic and controlling component of the mind is called the ego.The moralizing and criticizing components of the mind are called the superego.
Maintain a balance among reality, superego, and idConfines both ego and id for consequences of their actions
Relation with Id
Tries to please and control the id at the same timeControls and contradicts the id
Refers To
Common senseConscience
Concerned For
Long-term benefits and consequences of actionsRules and regulations regarding a person’s actions and their effects
Consists Of
Reasoning, tolerance, memory, understanding, judgment, and planningPunishments, warnings, ego-ideal, rewards, and positive reinforcements
Responsible For
Reality testing and personal identificationIdeal social standards
Relay Center
Part of mind that acts as a relay center between conscious and unconsciousPart of mind that act as a relay center for self-critical conscience
Age of Development
At the age of 3 yearsAt the age of 5 years

What is Ego?

The ego is defined as the part of id that has been altered by the uninterrupted influence of the external world. The ego develops to mediate between a real-world and an unrealistic id. The ego develops after the development of id, which is beyond reality.

The ego develops at the age of 3 years, after which sense of reality is being produced in an individual. The ego is the decision-making factor that determines the personality of an individual. The ego works by logical reasoning, whereas id is absurd, unrealistic, and unreasonable.

The ego works considering the social standards and protocols, often negotiating or suspending satisfaction to escape negative concerns and comments of society. The ego helps a person how to behave and satisfy the id’s demands by working out realistically.

The ego lends a hand in appeasing and pleasing id’s demands as well as control its chaotic attitude by confining it into social norms. The ego resembles id in seeking pleasure and reducing stress but contradicts id in devising a realistic strategy to obtain pleasure. The ego has no discernment of right or wrong as its only determination is achieving satisfaction without causing damage either to itself or its id.

In most cases, the ego is weak, and the id is strong. The primary purpose of the ego is to give id the right direction and claim credit itself hor heading toward the right direction. Its example is made by the correspondence of id being horse, while ego being the rider.

What is Superego?

Superego is defined as a sense of morality and goodness that controls the limitless id. Superego is developed after the development of id and ego at the age of 5 years. During the 3-5 years, the phallic stage of psychosexual development, superego, is technologically advanced and nourished.

The main role in its development is played by teachers and parents that teach a child to differentiate good from the bad. This ideal behavior, being the basis of the superego, controls the id’s impulses, especially those that are forbidden by society, i.e., hostility and antagonism.

The superego forces the ego to turn its goals from striving for reality to moralistic goals striving for perfection. The superego is comprised of two classifications. The first one is the conscience, which can discipline the ego by producing feelings of guiltiness. For example, if the ego rejects the id’s demands and enforces an individual to strive for reality, the superego may make the person feel bad and guilty.

The second classification of the superego is the ideal self. The ideal self is also called ego-ideal, which demonstrates an imaginary picture of how things should be, how to treat other people, how to represent yourself in society, etc.

The perfect picture of the world, yourself, and people linked to you is reflected by the ideal self category of the superego. The superego may punish us if we neglected the ideal self, or it may make us feel proud if we behaved properly following the ideal self.

Key Differences

  1. The ego is defined as the psyche’s part that develops after the id at the age of 3 years, whereas the superego is the psyche’s part that develops after the ego at the age of 5 years.
  2. The ego tries to appease as well as control id’s demands at the same time. In contrast, the superego mostly contradicts the unreasonable demands of the immature id, mainly in the characteristics of moral and ethical notions.
  3. The ego controls the impulses generated from id, which helps it in developing several defense mechanisms like repression, reaction formation, projection, regression, denial, rationalization, and sublimation. On the other hand, the superego stands in opposition to the requirements, ambitions, and imaginations generated by id.
  4. The ego is developed eventually since childhood with a single factor of reality. In contrast, the superego is developed, mainly depending on the internalization of the world’s view, standards, parental influences, and the environment.
  5. The ego is a common sense, consisting of memory, leniency, recollection, judgment, comprehension, and scheming. On the flip side, the superego is a conscience associated with ethics and spiritual values, reminding one to be right always.
  6. The ego is more related to unconsciousness that is subjected toward appeasing of id, whereas the superego always contradicts the unconscious either by encouraging or discouraging.


The ego deals with reality and chooses a midway between id and superego. In contrast, the superego is moralizing or criticizing the psychic part of the mind, which always contradicts the id’s unreasonable demands and makes you a faultless citizen.

Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson