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A History of Modern Psychology 11th Edition

A History of Modern Psychology (11th Edition)

Book Edition11th Edition
Author(s)Schultz, Schultz
Chapter 13, End of Chapter, Review Questions, Exercise 1
Page 322

What did Freud believe were the three great shocks in history that were delivered to the collective human ego?

Here is a tip:

According to psychologist Sigmund Freud, several stages in history collectively acted as shockwaves for the reality principle of humans and changed the thinking pattern of people.


According to Freud, in earlier times, humans used to believe that they are the most powerful race and the Earth is the only planet, which boosted their ego, until the following three shocks were given to the collective human ego:

  • First shock [planets]: An astronomer revealed to people that the Earth is not the center of the universe and various other planets are present that rotate around the sun. This came as the first shock to humankind.
  • Second shock [most powerful race]: A naturalist told people that human beings are not the most superior race as various fossils and bones are present that represent the presence of other races in ancient times that were more superior to humans. Another fact explained by the naturalist was the absence of a clear distinction between humans and animals, which explains that animals and humans share many similar characteristics.
  • Third shock [mind]: A psychologist explained that the unconscious wishes and ideas present in a person's mind influence their behavior in the present situation, which has an impact on their power of decision-making. Human beings do not have authority over the unconscious forces that are present in their mind, and sometimes they might be unaware of it.

Verified Answer

According to psychologist Sigmund Freud, the three revelations that came as shock are mentioned as follows:

  • First shock: It was given by an astronomer who proved that there are various planets in the universe, and the Earth is not the only planet.
  • Second shock: It was given by a naturalist who explained that human beings are not the superior most race on planet Earth, and no clear distinction is present between humans and animals.
  • Third shock: It was given by psychologists who claimed that some unconscious forces and motives influence human behavior, and humans do not have sole control over their behavior.
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