Is Haidt a secret Freudian?

Well, not much response to my first post.  So let me entice you further along toward my questions as I read Haidt’s book.  I left off with the broad question of how could you tell which of two theories was true and asked for an alternative.  No one bit, so let me offer you one:  Freudian theory:

Sigmund Freud is not considered the father of psychology, but he definitely popularized new science through his writings and provocative theories.  Some of Freud’s theories have borne fruit – virtually all schools of psychology acknowledge some form of transference and attachment theory has its origins in addressing a Freudian question about why children love their mothers.   Many of Freud’s theories were dismissed as ridiculous, and others were dismissed as untestable – though untestable doesn’t mean they are not true or partially true. 

Freud was a big thinker, attempting to develop a theory that explained the entire gambit of human behavior and motivation – including theories about morality and social interaction.  Freud posited a dynamic system of ongoing tension within an individual between three personality structures – the id, the ego, and the superego.  The id was a ball of primal desire, wordless and driven by the pleasure principle.  The ego had to manage the desires of the id with the social and physical reality of the world – it was driven by the reality principle.  Finally, the superego was the incorporation of societal rules and roles from culture into the personality and thinking of the individual.

So what about this formulation:

The largely unthinking elephant that follows its emotions = id.

Rider on top of the elephant trying to use reason to guide the elephant = ego.

Feel free to read more about Freud to consider the overlap – but don’t look in Haidt’s book:   Freud only gets three citations, two of which are in the footnotes.   Was Freud right about in this aspect of his theory all along?  Did science finally get around to testing some of Freud’s theories.  Why should we believe Haidt’s theory more – or is Haidt’s theory just a logical extension of Freuds?

P.S.  Freud is the ultimate straw man.  You should know your job now. 

37 thoughts on “Is Haidt a secret Freudian?

  1. Well, Freud is the father of a certain type of psychology, that of psychoanalysis. However, he was also very mentally destabilized so many of his rather twisted theories and models weren’t always in touch with reality.
    However, you forget the process of the superego. The id is carnal, pure, selfish desire to be happy: the ego is reality: and the superego is the desire to do good and be just. You are comparing a three part system to a two part system, and I don’t feel you can leave out the third part of Freuds’ system. The ego doesn’t serve entirely the ids’ whims, for if it did, all of us would be pursuing our basic, most carnal desires, society would be a mess, and Haidts’ ethic of divinity would be a myth. In fact, his ethic of divinity completely contradicts the the ids’ whole existence. However, the id and the superego would have to be combined for them to become the elephant, and the ego would still be the rider, but also juggling the tasks of dealing with the elephants more basic pursuits as well.
    The elephant, while it pursues the more righteous tasks of the persons’ intuitive self, would also pursue certainly more darker and base tasks if that person was so likely inclined.
    The ego, as the rider, would try to find a reasoning that justified this course of action.
    So, while I believe Haidt certainly shows a correlation with his ideas of intuition trumping reality, that is very much the foundation of Freuds’ ideas, which are now largely debunked. Haidt, however, does make the same mistakes as he places too much emphasis on intuition and largely, the subconscious. Morals change with reasoning: it is neither reasoning nor base emotions that control a person, but a combination of both. If reasoning cannot largely defend an emotion, reasoning often forces one to abandon it.
    For example, let’s say we have a racist man who is presented overwhelming evidence that all people are nearly physically equal, remove any handicaps and/or advantages. So, while his base reaction is to hate a certain race, reasoning (if he is of an open mind) could change his morals. It would be born from the emotion to be rational: that is what most people are talking about when they say rationality as a higher state of mind, not reasoning. Reasoning is the method of how we establish our morals and base emotions: rationality is what we choose to select and/or cull, usually with a positive weight. That is the rationality Jefferson and so many others refer to, particularly the New Atheists: a base emotion that wishes for the best and to find the most kind, ethical, and just reasoning: that is what people refer to as rationality.
    Haidt rejects this in favor of intuition being the highest state of mind.

    • Samuel Consolatti-Welch says:

      I disagree with your views. For starters a man who is racist normally has a petty reason for being so, and is normally hard set in his/her ways, for example my grandfather. My grandfather was racist and discriminated every one, even if he liked them. He even discriminated against Italians and his wife was off the boat Italian. Next I do believe the Haidit even outside of the “Elephant and the Rider” leaves room for the superego as he states the that the elephant, being your gut feeling, is molded around cultural views you are taught since childhood. in this way Haidit directly agrees with Freud’s theories.

      • Okay, so you’ve drawn me out more on the superego. Freud’s goal was to explain how we learned to act like our parents. There’s biological reproduction – parents have children and that’s a biological process. I’ll stop there. However, there’s also cultural reproduction. How do we get our children to think like us. Freud proposed a fairly convoluted process by which through a crisis that ends with the identification with a same sex parent, you model yourself after that parent, adopting the social conventions, roles, and beliefs of that parent. The superego drives that process, born and created out of that crisis. Thus, Freud’s theory covers both cultural reproduction and can explain a Hobbesian process by which the savage brute begins to act for the collective good. Yeah, Freud read Leviathan.
        We do have much better theories now about why we act like our parents, including both genetic models and social learning theory. Yet, it was Freud who framed the issue as one of social reproduction – and that was a very useful framing.
        Applying this to Haidt’s theory, how much of what we learn is unconscious? Are we influenced without awareness?

    • Hi JMoniz,
      I like your passionate response, but I suspect a little too much elephant and that your rider has been swayed. First, I haven’t actually shared my opinion of Herr Freud – just a range of opinions.
      That said, many have claimed that Freud was one of the greatest minds of the 20th century and that his influence was quite large. Some have argued that he offered the third blow to the human ego – the sun doesn’t revolve around us (Copernicus), we are descended from animals (Darwin), and we largely are not aware of our motivations (Freud). You may not like some or even many aspects, but to say that he was twisted and mentally destabilized goes beyond mere critique.
      I suspect that your concerns or some of the comments that concern you that are attributed to Freud are more driven by your historical perspective and your dislike of the cultural values espoused in Freud’s time. It was a racist and misogynistic time. Very few if any people didn’t ascribe to such beliefs. The fact that Freud agreed with Darwin was remarkable. Just like the grandfather in your example, we feel differently about someone who holds those beliefs if they grew up in a different time and culture. Things learned in childhood are hard to unlearn – something that both Freud and Skinner would have agreed upon. Hindsight is 20/20. Something that I would love to do would be to go into the future and see what we are just wrong about now. We simply don’t have all the answers – and we are not entirely clear on which ones are solid and which ones are still open for debate.
      As for your observations concerning the interplay of the ego, id, and superego, you have hit upon one of the more fascinating aspects of Freud’s theory – the inherent conflict between the three structures. The id and superego can team up on the ego – the number one tip given to the IRS is that an ex-spouse is cheating on his or her taxes. It’s morally right to turn in a tax evader and it feels good to stick it to an ex.
      There’s a lot more to be said on what the superego does and how it is formed, but you are right that three don’t easily blend into two. At the same time, conflict and disconnect between separate structures, at least one structure that it largely unconscious…. sounds a little Freudian to me.

      • Yes, my elephant has been fully swayed on this one because of persistent reasoning. However, I apologize if I come across too strong, as that has been my fault earlier in debates; I tend to get a little too passionate. I agree with your statement on the first two blows of humanity, and indeed, in his society Freuds’ ideas would seem prophetlike, a true divination of human nature. As you said, I am a product of the society and what I’ve learned during my childhood, but I do believe that proves Freud wrong. After much analysis of myself, I am fairly certain where my motivation lies. I want to go to college, to get a better job, to lead a better life. Nearly everyone here in college can relate to this motivation: however, with Freud, he keeps persisting that the unconsciousness determines everything.
        I really should not have criticized Freud so using such strong language, but, I am a product of bias against his society, and his views. However, that does not give me the right to reject his views out of hand; and in fact towards the end of my argument I agreed with you. Freud and Haidt place a lot of emphasis on the unconsciousness: Freud calls it the subconscious and Haidt calls it intuition. Both forget that the unconscious isn’t something that determines all behaviour: reason can still hold onto a large part of it, and can change it if approached in the right way.
        Hindsight is 20/20, and if I was smart enough to build a time machine, leap 100 years into the future, and see how they viewed us I would undoubtedly see many contrasting things that clash with my views of the current age.
        I am biased because of the age I live in, and it does put a damper on many openminded ideas that I should have had. I should have considered Freuds’ current society and culture, and realized that he’s also a product of his society just as I am of mine.
        So, to summarize, I agree with you: Haidt and Freud agree a lot, just labeling them differently. I also realize that I am biased, by my culture and society, and Freud is by his. I also believe the superego is not entirely based off societys’ concern and principles, but your own as well: for example, if my superego was based off of societys’ principles, I wouldn’t be arguing so virulently here. We all clash with society because of reasoning and intuition, not just because of the unconsciousness.

  2. Victoria Farinha says:

    Haidt’s metaphor using the elephant and the rider is an extension of Freud’s theory. The elephant as the id is the automatic process that provides each person with innate desires that need to be fulfilled. The rider as the ego attempts to seek appropriate ways to suppress and fulfill the desires of the id, or the elephant. When people make decisions they look inwardly at their feelings of the situation, they respond to the elephant by using how the rider agrees or disagrees with the desire. The superego proposed by Freud is also in Haidt’s theory. The superego is combined in the rider. The rider starts to sway towards the side that the elephant takes, but the superego in the rider determines whether the way the elephant leans is acceptable by society. The ego and superego combine in the rider to help make the correct decision to fulfill the elephant’s wants and desires.

    • So Victoria, you would say that Haidt is a secret Freudian. This position has its own challenges. Either Haidt started out with Freud’s theory and made some adjustments or he independently came to a similar theoretical position, arguably from a different set of evidence.
      If Haidt borrowed from Freud’s theory, then where are the citations? It is certainly legitimate to borrow upon and extend someone’s theory, but then you have to acknowledge where the ideas came from. Wouldn’t he have tested more of Freud’s theory? What evidence did he use and is it any better than what Freud presented? How do we know that Haidt’s perspective is more accurate?
      If Haidt’s theory was developed independent of Freud’s, how did they get to the same place. Freud developed his theory from his medical turned psychoanalytic practice. Haidt was not a doctor or a therapist so he was using a different set of evidence. Who’s evidence is better? If there are two sets of evidence pointing to the same thing, then what’s the commonality that makes both theories true?

  3. Caroline Twomey says:

    While I do see the point being made about the elephant being the id vs. the rider being the ego, I also have to agree with jmoniz2014. Where is the superego? Does the rider embody the superego as well as the ego? And if that is the case, doesn’t the rider have two more just views on it’s side opposing the carnal id/elephant? But if the rider DID have the good outweighing the bad inside every person, then the human race would be all around more just and righteous, which we know isn’t the case. Everyone makes errors, be it intentional or otherwise, but the intentional injustices are the ones that are common enough to prove this theory wrong. Therefore I cannot see that Haidt is a secret Freudian. The idea was interesting, though, so excellent job pointing out the similarities here!

    • The superego is a slippery one. Both the ego and the superego are flexible, but the ego’s flexible is short-lived. It is dealing with the here and now. What is the solution that works right now to get me through the moment. In contrast, the superego, as the embodiment of the culture of the individual, has a more long-term approach. It changes from person to person, but it is supposed to be fairly stable within the person. It is the touchstone that guides behavior over time. With that type of duty, part of the superego ends up as unconscious – and therefore could load on the elephant. However, since much of culture is explicit (and not implicit), part of the superego would be part of the rider. Thus Haidt’s formulation could really be more along the lines of unconscious versus conscious and the inherent conflict between individual desires, group outcomes, and the choice of the individual to pick between these conflicting goals. This formulation sounds different from Freudian theory, but two of the big tenants are still there: the large role of the unconscious and the conflict between different motivational sets.

  4. I agree with the fact that the id is the elephant and the ego is it’s rider in Haidt’s perspective, but what is the superego? As the rider persistently trys to keep up with the elephant and it’s next move, a reader with a Freudian way of thinking would question what the elephant is moving to or away from and why. The terrain or environment the elephant and it’s rider are in would be the best metaphor for the superego. These are the simple but over arching rules that are around us as humans. Whether they are social or political rules, they are constantly stimulating the id or the elephant so that in turn the rider or ego will have to control it. For example, the elephant moves closer to a watering hole for a drink like the other elephants but the rider realizes there are crocodiles in the water so he struggles to try and turn it around. This is a small scale example of what humans actually do or don’t do in real life, in a Freudian perspective.

    • Hi Jdaaronson,
      Your comment about the terrain is quite insightful and you have moved the discussion to include Behaviorism, the American reply to Freud’s darker European view. One of the tenants of Behaviorism is that all behavior occurs in a context and that the learned behavior reflects how the context and behavioral contingencies present in the context have shaped the individual (actually any organism). This means that behavior is malleable if you can change the contingencies – not so Freudian because there you are stuck with what you got when you formed your ego and superego.
      It is also interesting that you choice a fear example: elephants avoiding crocodiles. In that a good deal of behavior can be loosely categorized as approach or avoidance, this fits squarely on avoidance. Starting with Little Albert, behaviorists have had a fair amount of success in explaining avoidance behaviors. The trickier side, particularly when talking about rewards that are more abstract (not things like ice cream or chocolate), is the issue of approach. Oddly, we approach more than predicted by theory. So clearly there’s a motivation of affiliation that’s not covered quite as well by Behaviorism. Does Haidt have the answer to that? Much of what is cast as moral dilemmas are complex approach issues?

  5. Tom Pawlik says:

    Freud does seem to be legitimate with his theory and as others I do have to agree with jmoniz2014, because there are valid examples with the id, as well as the ego. The superego is the real question… and it bothers me to know if it was done intentionally. Like you said, there is the primal desire, the management of the desire and lastly the societal rules and roles from the culture. They all connect with each other, you need one to move onto the next one. On the other hand, the rider tries to find the reason why the elephant should move, because we expect it to, that’s the social rule, we were taught that this is the outcome and what needs to happen. The elephant just plays another role in our society. From my own perspective, Haidt’s theory is a logical extension of Freuds, but the problem is that it’s not fully developed.

    • Giuseppe Zarro says:

      I agree that Haidt’s theory is an extension of Freud’s, but I disagree that it is not fully developed. The superego is tied in with the rider. The elephant represents the id and its drives which can be described by the elephant in the metaphor, but how can you represent rules or cultural norms other than tying it in with the rider when he is reasoning. Representing the superego in the metaphor would be forced and unnecessary.

  6. Mike Parisse says:

    Freud was a founding father of psychoanalysis and in my opinion used a lot of his experiences into his theories cause he was a little out there with many of his theories, but because of that learning about him is mostly enjoyable. Haidt in my opinion is nothing like Freud because Freud did not use evolution to back up his hypothesis or any real concrete evidence his theories where just hypothesis he never got to test to the extent that they would be accepted. The Elephant and the rider metaphor to mes is similar to Freud’s id and ego but Freud described his theory as a glacier floating in water were the id was hidden below the surface of consciousness so nobody could acknowledge its influence because it was acting in man subconscious. Haidt recognizes that people can acknowledge their elephant and their rider but sometimes we blindly follow our elephants. Freud thought that those who blindly follow their id’s follow deep passions that society has wanted to keep suppressed while Haidt claims the elephant leans on every decision you make. It is not a battle of the id and ego like with Freud it is a team effort between the rider and the elephant to make all decisions.

  7. Victoria Winters says:

    I agree with Samuel Consolatti-Welch , yet I also agree with jmoniz2014. Both of you are bringing up valid ideas, with ideal points that have great supportive details. I myself was so delved with the book that I find agreement with both ideas. I am enlightened by the intellect that is demonstrated in this book, and I believe that Haidt does represent a sense of Freudian thought processes.

    • Scott Doncaster says:

      The idea that the metaphor of the elephant and the rider is similar to Freud’s ID and Ego and just very coincidental. Freud’s ideas are based on their own values and those alone. With only one year of Psychology under my belt in my senior year, I’ve somewhat grasped what Freud is truly about. The biggest comparisson can be made with the elephant and his desire for enjoyment.

  8. I think that the rider in Haidt’s theory is a combination of the ego and the superego. The rider responds to what the elephant- the id- is doing. So Haidt’s theory very much stems from Freud’s theory. The elephant is the emotion, which is the driving force. However, the rider is the reasoning and therefore makes the final decision of whether or not the elephant is going in the right direction by considering what is socially acceptable, thus, what is the right thing to do.

  9. amanda meli says:

    I think that malenabuker is on the right track. It makes sense that the rider is both the ego and the superhero, because when the rider has more time to prepare its argument, it can build a case to change sometimes the way the elephant sways, depending on how adamant the elephant is on the subject. I do not think the elephant is unthinking, though. It is our gut instinct on a situation, but I think our guts evolve and changed based on every experience we have. For example, when our gut instinct is wrong about something. Our gut makes a note of that error and evolves to not make that mistake again. I definitely think the elephant reacts fast to a given situation, but it does put some thought in its decision.

  10. I definitely agree there are strong parallels between Freud’s Id and Haidt’s Elephant. According to Freud the Id is our primal subconscious drive for pleasure in any form regardless of the consequences. The Elephant is also subconscious and does react partly from instinct or as Haidt says, “intuition”, however,there is more to the elephant . The Id is very one dimensional in its decision making, “is it pleasurable or not?” is the only question the Id asks. Elephant is much more refined, it draws on experiences from previous decisions and it can learn to lean more towards what is beneficial rather what is merely pleasurable. Like the Id the elephant’s decisions are made instantaneously even before the rider has had a chance to reason. According to Freud; the Ego is in charge of the decision making and the Id and Super Ego are more like Consultants, just like the rider is to the elephant. The elephant is in charge as to what path it takes it is the rider’s job to use reason when trying to persuade the elephant.

    My belief is the elephant is both the Id and Ego. Elephant has roots in our primal instincts such as fight or flight yet it has learned behaviors from past experiences which it can draw from in order to make future decisions. It has all the decision making power but is open to suggestions from the rider i.e., the super ego. Like the rider, the Super Ego is reasoning and logic it can look ahead and advise the elephant. This point makes the most sense when comparing these two theories, although Haidt is more refined I do defiantly believe that he does have some Freudian roots.

  11. Zackary Martin says:

    I disagree that Freud’s ID and EGO theory mirror Haidt’s rider and elephant metaphor. Yes parallels can be stretched and granted ID’s and the elephant’s drive for gradification seemed familiar, they are mere coincidence. I disagree in part because I am arguementitive in nature also I believe that many commenters may have a limited understanding of psychology, Freudian teachings are one tool on their tool kit and as Haidt quoted “to a man with a hammer every problem looks like a nail”. Too often readers look for meaning where it isn’t and often find what they were looking for.

  12. Branden M. says:

    After reading the book the original post and all the replies to it I see that there are many ways to go about understanding or reasoning these ideas. I believe Frued was correct with three and then Haidit just furthered it almost going further enough to even make a completely different understanding then the on of id, ego, and superego. What Haidit was doing seems to do is reason a stronger relationship between just two id and super ego or superego and ego, if you want to compare the two side by side you would need to add a third element to the elephant and the rider. Something the the ego would want, maybe a peanut (which would be the superego) so the ego would tend to make decisions based on the easiest route to the peanut yet still following his own instinct which the id, or rider, would ride.

    • Scott Doncaster says:

      A comparison cannot be made with Freud and the elephant with the rider. Freud’s thoughts are based off one policy and one policy only. The only similarity I can see, with a limited knowledge in psychology, is that the elephant has a want to accomplish fulfillment. Other than that one similarity, the metaphor between the elephant and the rider is just simply a coincidence with Freud’s theories.

  13. Rachel Brownell says:

    Freud definitely had some big ideas, some more questionable than others. Like almost everything we learn about him in a psychology class, his theories should be tread on lightly. Throughout the book, Haidt talks about gut feelings. Whether or not somebody agrees with arguments that support it, people have gut feelings. Freud would explain this as the id. While we know now that there isn’t a trigger in your brain telling you what to do and when to do it, there are some things we just feel with really no reasoning in it. The ego would be the reasoning or the rider. Freud says that these two entities are completely separate. Haidt says that they work together and that intuition comes first, reasoning second. I think it’s important to use Freuds work only as a tool, not so much hard fact.

  14. Joe says:

    Thanks for the additional assignment, having not actually taken Psych 101 yet, it was a joy to wiki id, ego and superego. “The largely unthinking elephant that follows its emotions = id. Rider on top of the elephant trying to use reason to guide the elephant = ego.” Who makes that leap? The analogy is of the rider serving the elephant, that would make the elephant the thinker, wouldn’t it?

    Sorry all, but the analogy of the rider on an elephant is like the mind divided, the rider’s job is to serve the elephant, is lost on me. What? The mind is divided like the rider on an elephant? What does that mean? “The job of the rider is to serve the elephant.” Wait, what? Wouldn’t that make the elephant an ineffective mode of transportation? I digress. The point is; bad analogy. I just can’t understand what point he is trying to make with that one.

  15. Nydiaha Jackson says:

    I thought of the same formulation when reading that metaphor, but that change when Haidt said “the rider’s job is to serve the elephant” (Haidt xxi).Perhaps I am look too much into the word choice and maybe he meant guide, but either way it makes me think as if the Elephant is “in charge”. According to Critical theory today, Freud has argued that the ego makes the final decision and acts as a referee between the id and superego and of course the superego and id pressure the ego with guilt and aggression (Tyson). My point is that it all seems more like a battle than the ego guiding the id or superego, and the id and superego doesn’t show much effort to change.

  16. I think you have a portion of Freud’s theories wrong. In Freud’s theory the ego restrains the id,But in Haidt’s view the elephant (id) is the one in control. Plus in Freud’s theory the id is the embodiment of sex and violence which means to me at least that it is wholly selfish while in Haidt’s views the elephant is capable of operating in a group and isn’t wholly devoted to sex and violence. Then there is the Oedipus and Electra complex which I hope all of our elephants lean away from. In truth I think Freud’s views are not wholly wrong i just think that perhaps he could have done a better job if he hadn’t used cocaine or at least let it effect his professionalism.

  17. I think Haidts book is (his) logical extension on Freud’s theory. Haidts presents multiple studies to back up his metaphors but these studies and scientific facts don’t immediately back up his reasoning. Just because a study backs up a metaphor about children doesn’t mean it’ll back up a theory about politics. Is Haidt a politic? Has he seen enough of behind the door action to try to persuade one party about another..

    Also regarding the Americans vs. Indians study (Just a side note): Shweder’s study was interesting. I like the Indian vs. American perspectives and was surprised by the Indians responses more than American responses probably because I’m an American.

  18. Tianna Edwards says:

    hy should we believe Haidt’s theory more – or is Haidt’s theory just a logical extension of Freuds?
    Just as Freud’s theories were untestable, Haidt’s theories also prove to be untestable. Freud’s theories were untestable due to the fact that many people in a sober state of mind would not admit to most of Freud’s claims and analysis, so any data collected would not be dependable. Haidt on the other hand, was able to perform experiments, however, I do not believe the questions he came up with could have easily attacked the overall question of where morals come from. Within the questions asked the subjects, there were many things that could have been taken out of context depending on culture. That is one downfall, culture has an enormous impact on what our morals turn out to be, and a conflict Haidt tries to address (in my opinion) is weather morals are innate or a product of our surroundings. The error is asking people already fully impacted by their culture questions about morals, but there is no “testable” way of finding out if someone has not been impacted by any culture or influences would have the same response to these moral questions. It’s nearly impossible (maybe completely) to find such a person.

  19. Stephen Kolvek says:

    When I took Psychology in high school, I found every bit of Freud’s works Interesting (some more interestingly disturbing). However; In the three parts, being the id the ego and the superego, i would have to agree that these things are what makes up our true identities. We are humans for a reason aside from our bones, soul, consciousness, and fear of death. It is theorized that we all are the ancestors of apes. when we study an ape, you can see that all of his/her actions appear to be very primal. if we truly the descendants of these creatures you could say that the id is the link between our primate cousins and we humans. now the id could be the reason that we feel the need to group. you have packs or tribes (for lack of a better name) of apes, and if they were to have an id like us, then that may just explain why humans group as well. all in all, i would say that Haidt agrees greatly with some of Freud’s Ideas (possibly even the famously controversial Oedipus complex).

  20. Meghan Lynch says:

    I found this parallel very interesting because I had never seen the id and the ego in such a light. Previously, I had only understood the surface meaning of the three. My teacher had explained them as good versus bad, rather than instinctual versus logical. With this new understanding of the superego and the id, the parallel becomes very clear. Though Freud is often dismissed, I feel that this holds weight. What Haidt writes about the elephant and the rider not only makes perfect sense, but can also be backed by his research and studies. What Tina says is true in that there can be no control person, because we will never know how a person would be if raised without cultural influence, however, Haidt’s experiment had controlled procedures and tested all ranges of age. The correlation is strong enough to support his theory. Since Freud’s theory is so similar to Haidt’s, it follows that Freud’s theory is still relevant.

  21. If the elephant is comparable to the id and the rider is the ego then it almost means that once the ego fails to control the id, it is the same as the rider falling off the elephant. In literal meaning, the rider would be crushed by the elephant. In metaphorical sense, the person will be ruled by his or her desires; unable to control his or herself from harming others in order to obtain the objects of desire.

  22. Irakli Patsuria says:

    First of all I have to come clean and say that Freud is one of my favorite psychologist. Second, I think he was ahead of his time and thanks to him great foundation was created for new type of science. It is important to understand that when Freud was alive and when he did his research there were no guidelines or APA rules to follow. It is also important to know that the birth of modern psychology was in Germany in 1879, just 12 years before Freud graduated University of Vienna.
    People has to understand that Freud’s research was hypothetical. He theorized about the Id, Ego and the Superego. I have to admit that some of his ideas were bizarre, like Oedipus complex but he had to explain sexual development somehow. I mean I know he was wrong but you try and explain why males are attracted to females, males to males and females to females.
    I think it is understandable that Freud tried to explain dreams because since beginning of time we have tried to explain everything around as. There was a time in human history that we thought dreams were did of the Devil and that he was trying to tempt as. Then came Freud and concluded that” The interpretation of dreams is the royal road to a knowledge of the unconscious activities of the mind. ” (Sigmund Freud
    Truly Freud was a pioneer and thanks to him we know more about the human mind and the sub-consciousness. Also thanks to him Psychoanalysis became one of the most important fields of great science of psychology.
    P.S. Thanks to Freud, Piaget was able to build great theories about development of children.

  23. Melissa Charkowski says:

    I think that Haidit’s work reflects many of Freud’s principles. I took sociology over the summer so I got to learn about more Freud and his theories than what is explained in the book. I’m no expert but I see Haidit’s work not as a mirror reflection but as elaboration or continuation. I feel the similarities between the elephant and rider with the Id and ego is a connection that can’t be ignored.

  24. I definitely agree with the fact that Haidt’s theory is just an extension of Freud’s theory, but I feel as though the superego would be more tied into the rider’s mind than it would be non-existent. The cultural norms exist solely in the rider’s mind therefore that must be the superego while the ego is the rider and the id is the elephant. So I feel like the comparison being made between the two systems is a perfectly acceptable one.

  25. Rony Alvarez says:

    I completely agree. When Haidt presented individuals with scenarios and asked them whether they believed that what occurred is immoral or moral he observed that many participants followed their intuition (their elephant or their id.) For example, when participants were presented with the scene of siblings participating in incest they intuitively believed that yes, the siblings were being immoral, but when presented with the question of who was harmed through the acts of the siblings they began to equivocate. They began to create some sort of victim to help them support their position that the siblings were acting immorally. So just like Freud, Haidt presented the notion of underlying desires or intuitions that tend to guide what we show in the exterior and in our personalities.

  26. Qzedell Bautista says:

    I do think that Haidt is a Freudian, his theory an extension of Freud’s theory. The similarities between the elephant and it’s rider, and the id and ego. Haidt also mentioned how societal rules and culture affect people’s morality when he discussed his research in India.

  27. Christopher Melville says:

    Chapter One gives an insight onto the thought processes of the mind. Haidt explains this theory using child psychology, which is a very involved and not-so forward subject. His exercises in morality across age and culture are interesting. To describe the same situation to someone from a very liberal based country like the US and to a strict culture like the one in India and to hear to entirely different answers is amazing. The thing that amazing is how these people from two different cultures rationalize these scenarios based on their moral beliefs.

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