Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences

Living Edition
| Editors: Virgil Zeigler-Hill, Todd K. Shackelford

Secondary Process

  • Nicole Nehrig
  • Philip S. WongEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-28099-8_629-1



Secondary process thought is a developmentally advanced form of thinking based on logic and operating in accordance with the reality principle. It is responsible for accruing knowledge and making conscious decisions.


Freud proposed secondary process as resulting from the individual’s efforts to adapt to reality and function as mature adults capable of sublimating desires into socially appropriate actions. The concept of secondary process was not well defined by Freud and subsequent writers, making it more controversial and less supported than primary process thought.

Freudian Secondary Process

Within Freud’s topographic model, secondary process characterizes the preconscious and conscious experiences of the mind. In contrast to the mode of thinking typical in dreams, he associated secondary process with waking thought, attention, judgment, and controlled action. It concerns itself with the...

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Long Island University, VA NY Harbor Healthcare System, Manhattan CampusBrooklynUSA
  2. 2.Long Island UniversityBrooklynUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Kevin Meehan
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyLong Island UniversityBrooklynUSA