Freud’s topographical model represents his “configuration” of the mind
According to Freud, there are three levels of consciousness:
conscious (small): this is the part of the
mind that holds what you’re aware of. You can verablize about your
conscious experience and you can think about it in a logical fashion.
preconscious (small-medium): this is ordinary
memory. So although things stored here aren’t in the conscious, they can
be readily brought into conscious.
unconscious (enormous): Freud felt that this part of the mind was not directly
accessible to awareness. In part, he saw it as a dump box for urges,
feelings and ideas that are tied to anxiety, conflict and pain. These
feelings and thoughts have not disappeared and according to Freud, they
are there, exerting influence on our actions and our conscious
awareness. This is where most of the work of the
Id, Ego, and
Superego take place.
Material passes easily back and forth between
the conscious and the preconscious. Material from these two areas can
slip into the unconscious. Truly unconscious material cant’ be made
available voluntarily, according to Freud. You need a psychoanalyst to
Iceberg metaphor for the mind’s layout:
We can use the metaphor of an iceberg to help us
in understanding Freud's topographical theory.
Only 10% of an iceberg is visible (conscious)
whereas the other 90% is beneath the water (preconscious and
The Preconscious is allotted approximately 10%
-15% whereas the Unconscious is allotted an overwhelming 75%-80%.