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Topographical Model


Iceberg model of mind


The topographical theory is Freud’s first “map” of the different systems of the mind. According to Freud, the mental apparatus can be broadly understood in terms of three mental systems: the systems unconscious (Ucs.), preconscious (Pcs.), and conscious (Cs.). Mental processes are either unconscious or conscious depending upon which system they belong to, and the systems also operate according to qualitatively distinct processes: the system Ucs. operates via the primary process, whereas the Pcs./Cs. systems operate via the secondary process. The topographic theory was later incorporated into Freud’s revised “structural” model of personality involving the id, ego, and superego.


Freud introduces his topographic theory of mind in The Interpretation of Dreams (1900). There he proposes that the mental apparatus is comprised of three mental systems: the systems unconscious (Ucs.), preconscious (Pcs.), and conscious (Cs.). System Cs....

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Boag, S. (2017). Topographical Model. In: Zeigler-Hill, V., Shackelford, T. (eds) Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences. Springer, Cham.

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