Growing research in neuroscience shows Freud’s idea of a “superego” isn’t as wacky as it sounds

Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, is widely considered in scientific circles to be interesting but deeply flawed. But while there isn’t yet hard evidence on the Oedipus Complex, several key Freudian ideas still hold water. He introduced the notion of the unconscious thought, for example, which Freud believed took place in the ‘id’ part of our psyche. And a fast-growing field of neuroscience research matches onto what Freud described as the superego. Over the past five years, there’s been increasing research on metacognition, which is, quite simply, knowing that we know. In other words, metacognition is an awareness of our conscious thought processes. A clear-cut example is a contestant on a quiz show making a judgment about the extent to which she’s confident of her answer—she is thinking about…


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