Freud’s Pleasure Principle

Freud’s Pleasure Principle

In a nutshell, the pleasure principle is the avoidance of pain and seeking of pleasure in a bid to meet and satisfy psychological and biological needs. It is one of the driving factors of the id which is considered the deepest level of the unconscious. Specifically during childhood, one’s behavior is controlled by the id leading to satisfaction of the desires to attain immediate pleasure (Cloninger, 2013). For instance, one is forced to eat everything that comes their way whether good or bad to their health. Feud, asserts that young children do not have the ability of distinguishing reality from fantasy.

The pleasure principle as laid out by Freud is a manifestation of the reality of seeking pleasure for immediate gratification. Indeed, the theory has applications in today’s world as it explains the reasons for children’s behavior. In addition, the theory further provides a practical purpose of driving children’s unconscious beings in achieving basic wants for their survival (Cloninger, 2013). Today, this theory is used as a benchmark against which acceptable behavior is tested in children. In this regard, children are allowed to act within the confines of the theory since they cannot distinguish fantasy from reality.

Despite its huge popularity, the pleasure principle theory has its share of strengths and weaknesses. The theory attains a significant explanation on the behavior of children and infants. In addition, the theory has applications in the criminal justice system where children have been rendered psychopaths resulting in their release. Moreover, the contrast of the theory with the reality principle provides important differences on people’s behavior. In contrast, the theory has weaknesses in that it fails to explain the entire psychological behavior in children. Further, the focus on children and children alone is a weakness of sorts as it fails to explain adult behavior.



Cloninger, S. C. (2013). Theories of personality: Understanding persons. Boston: Pearson Education.

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