Psychology: Defense Mechanisms & Rationalization: “Facing Reality” 1954 McGraw-Hill Text-Films

Is a Keynote by Next Week Possible? Find Out How.

more at

“Surreal presentation of the common ways in which people escape from reality — daydreaming, identification, suppression and malingering.”

“Correlated with ‘Psychology for Living’ by Sorenson and Malm.”

NEW VERSION with improved video & sound:

Public domain film from the Prelinger Archive, slightly cropped to remove uneven edges, with the aspect ratio corrected, and mild video noise reduction applied.
The soundtrack was also processed with volume normalization, noise reduction, clipping reduction, and/or equalization (the resulting sound, though not perfect, is far less noisy than the original).
Wikipedia license:

In Freudian psychoanalytic theory, defence mechanisms (or defense mechanisms) are psychological strategies brought into play by the unconscious mind to manipulate, deny or distort reality (through processes including, but not limited to, repression, identification, or rationalization), to defend against feelings of anxiety and unacceptable impulses to maintain one’s self schema.

Healthy persons normally use different defences throughout life. An ego defence mechanism becomes pathological only when its persistent use leads to maladaptive behaviour such that the physical or mental health of the individual is adversely affected. The purpose of ego defence mechanisms is to protect the mind/self/ego from anxiety and/or social sanctions and/or to provide a refuge from a situation with which one cannot currently cope.

Defence mechanisms are unconscious coping mechanisms that reduce anxiety generated by threats from unacceptable impulses.

Defence mechanisms are sometimes confused with coping strategies.

One resource used to evaluate these mechanisms is the Defense Style Questionnaire (DSQ-40)…

Structural model: Id, ego, and superego

The concept of id impulses comes from Sigmund Freud’s structural model. According to this theory, id impulses are based on the pleasure principle: instant gratification of one’s own desires and needs. Sigmund Freud believed that the id represents biological instinctual impulses in humans, such as aggression (Thanatos or the Death instinct) and sexuality (Eros or the Life instinct).

For example, when the id impulses (e.g. desire to have sexual relations with a stranger) conflict with the superego (e.g. belief in societal conventions of not having sex with unknown persons), unsatisfied feelings of anxiousness or feelings of anxiety come to the surface. To reduce these negative feelings, the ego might use defence mechanisms (conscious or unconscious blockage of the id impulses).

Freud believed that conflicts between these two structures resulted in conflicts associated with psychosexual stages.

Definitions of individual psyche structures

Freud proposed three structures of the psyche or personality:

– Id: The id is the unconscious reservoir of the libido, the psychic energy that fuels instincts and psychic processes. It is a selfish, childish, pleasure-oriented part of the personality with no ability to delay gratification.

– Superego: The superego contains internalised societal and parental standards of “good” and “bad”, “right” and “wrong” behaviour. They include conscious appreciations of rules and regulations as well as those incorporated unconsciously.

– Ego: The ego acts as a moderator between the pleasure sought by the id and the morals of the superego, seeking compromises to pacify both. It can be viewed as the individual’s “sense of time and place”…

In psychology and logic, rationalization (also known as making excuses) is an unconscious defense mechanism in which perceived controversial behaviors or feelings are logically justified and explained in a rational or logical manner in order to avoid any true explanation, and are made consciously tolerable — or even admirable and superior — by plausible means. Rationalization encourages irrational or unacceptable behavior, motives, or feelings and often involves ad hoc hypothesizing. This process ranges from fully conscious (e.g. to present an external defense against ridicule from others) to mostly subconscious (e.g. to create a block against internal feelings of guilt).

People rationalize for various reasons. Rationalization may differentiate the original deterministic explanation of the behavior or feeling in question. Sometimes rationalization occurs when we think we know ourselves better than we do. It is also an informal fallacy of reasoning…