Monthly Archives: October 2013

The id, the ego and… the iPhone?

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As a psychology graduate, I remain intrigued by the complexities of the human mind, the need to know what drives us and where nature starts and nurture ends.


I have distinct memories of sitting in lectures during our module on Freud and feeling that – while granted, I didn’t buy into some of the sexual reasoning! – his overarching theories made sense.


To give a quick overview for those less geeky than I, Freud saw the psyche as tripartite:


  • The id – is entirely unconscious and includes instinctive and primitive behaviours and strives for immediate gratification of all desires, wants, and needs. For example, if you are hungry or thirsty you seek out food or drink
  • The ego – strives to satisfy the id’s desires in realistic and socially appropriate ways
  • The superego – the aspect of personality that holds all of our internalised moral standards and ideals that we acquire from both parents and society, our sense of right and wrong


Now what does this theory have to do with the iPhone I hear you ask? Well it got me thinking about how the modern dependence on technology fits in – after all, many see their life on their mobile device and customise its appearance to reflect them as an individual. Further, gadgets are no longer just for grown-ups. While the average person checks their phone 110 times a day70 per cent of children know how to use one before they start primary school and a quarter are using one to play games before they can even speak!


So how does the trusty mobile phone fit into human personality? Clearly it isn’t part of the id as we’re not born iPhone in hand. The superego? Highly unlikely. I think there are few who could argue that checking your mobile every six seconds is morally righteous. In company, it is in fact downright rude. Not to say that yours truly isn’t equally guilty of course…


So what does that leave? The ego – and here we may have an answer. Connected devices can certainly offer the tools to help satisfy basic needs and respond to some of life’s burning questions. Apple promised that there’s an app for that and no doubt, if you want to identify edible fruit and nuts Bear Grylls-style or cook them like Jamie Oliver, the promise will hold true.  They are also being used increasingly early in life – crucial to become an integral part of the ego.


But we are currently on the cusp of 2014. In 1984, this discussion would have been null and void as the iPhone was only a vague concept in the mind of Steve Jobs. It certainly couldn’t be given recognition for helping to structure ideas of shape personalities. In 2054, who knows? Perhaps technology will have permanently altered the synaptic structure in the brain and it may hold enough power to drive t

Can a book worm ever learn to love her Kindle?

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I’ve always been one of those traditionalists who preferred the feel of a good book in my hands to the plastic feel of an e-reader.



I love looking at my book case and feeling that silly sense of achievement, taking in just how many adventures I’d read from cover to cover.  I guess you could say that it was pre-destined for me to be a bit of book worm, born into a house where almost every inch of spare wall space was covered in book shelves and I was even named after my Dad’s favourite fictional character from The Chronicles of Narnia.


Books are such a personal and unique thing. I still have battered and grubby copies of my favourite books from when I was child that I know I could never part with. Each mark or little tear takes me back to a time long ago and I often wonder if my children will be able to have this same experience when they grow up. A Kindle can never give you that wonderful musty ‘book’ smell that transports me back to days gone by. The thought that I could just delete a book that I had enjoyed from my digital library makes me feel strangely sad.


Understandably, taking the plunge into the world of the e-reader was a big step for this die-hard book lover, but even I have to admit that it can be a bit tricky trying to read a huge paperback on the busy commute. It does also help with the constant battle I have with myself trying to decide what books to squeeze into my suitcase before a holiday – having everything saved in one place does have its advantages.


Looking back at my university days I would have much preferred storing everything on a Kindle instead of lugging a heavy backpack full of text books around the place. But in everyday life I am a person who reads for pleasure, from start to finish. I love getting lost in quirky book shops and could spend hours rummaging through the second hand book stall on South Bank. Logging into a virtual book store using an electronic device just doesn’t have that same appeal. No matter how convenient it might be.


For me, an e-reader is a thing of convenience. And, as much as it does feel weird to admit this, they do have their uses. If using my Kindle means that I can take all six books that I can’t choose between on holiday and still have room in my suitcase for more dresses then it can’t be all that bad really can it? Eight million people in the UK are said to now own a Kindle or e-reader in one form or another so I guess they must be doing something right. That being said, I’m still not so sure. As convenient as my Kindle is and as revolutionary I think it is in terms of technology, in my mind you will never be able to beat that feeling of turning the page between your fingers.