Up Learn – A Level Psychology (AQA) – approaches to psychology (Ao1)

Defence Mechanisms: Repression

Repression is when the ego pushes the id’s impulses back into the unconscious mind.


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Up Learn – A Level PsychologY (AQA)

Approaches to Psychology (AO1)

We’ve now seen the first defence mechanism, displacement, which is… 

The first defence mechanism is displacement, which is when the ego redirects the id’s impulses towards something else.

Now, our second defence mechanism is repression.

For instance, when Oscar gets angry at slow walkers at the train station, his ego might choose to calm himself down until he isn’t angry.

Here, his ego is defending against the id by pushing his violent impulses away, back into the unconscious mind…

It’s like his impulses have been locked away, back in the unconscious mind.

And whenever the ego defends against the id like this [graphic of impulses being locked away], it’s called repression.

Now, when Oscar used displacement, he…

When Oscar used displacement, he was really angry until he punched the wall in his flat. 

So, with displacement, the impulse doesn’t go away until it’s redirected.

But with repression, the impulse does seem to go away, because it’s locked away into the unconscious mind.

So, which of these involves repression?

In this [Jason and bullying] example, the impulse is redirected, so it involves displacement.

And here [Dani and video games], there is no defence against the id’s impulse…

But here [Oscar and Scarlett], the id’s impulse is pushed back into the unconscious mind, so these are all examples of repression.

So, in summary, the second defence mechanism is repression.

This is when…

Repression is when the ego pushes the id’s impulses back into the unconscious mind.