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Журнал » Journal_eng » Journal 34 : B. N. Ryzhov, REAL-SELF, IDEAL-SELF AND HIDDEN-SELF
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DOI 10.25688/2223-6872.2020.34.2.01




B. N. Ryzhov,

MCU, Moscow,



The article is devoted to the description of the new scheme of systems diagnostics of motivational and va­lues personality sphere. The methodological basis for the elaboration of the proposed scheme was the systems typology of motivation which allows to outline eight key types of motivation including four types of motivation of the development and preservation of the species and society, and four types of motivation of the development and preservation of the individual and personality.

This work contains the description of the methodology of self-evaluation of the motivational personality profile providing — in combination with the test of the systems profile of motivation (SPM) — a number of mutually reinforcing, substantive characteristics of the motivational core of personality. These features in­clude "real self, or the systems profile of motivation (SPM) defined on the basis of the SPM test data; "ideal self, or the systems profile of self-evaluation of motivational tendencies based on the described methodology and reflecting the pressure of the accepted social norms and regulations on the motivational core of personality; and "hidden self, or the profile of motivational dispositions built on the basis of the superposition of "real self and "ideal self reflecting the compensating pressure on the motivational core of personality of individualistic impulses aimed at the development and preservation of the individual and personality.

To verify the suggested psycho-diagnostic scheme, population research of the relative characteristics of "real self and "ideal self was conducted. The research took place in 2019-2020, with 187 participants, both male and female, aged 18-48. The results obtained demonstrated the presence of a sustainable, long-term impact of social pressure on self-evaluation of motivational tendencies postulating the appropriateness of self-evaluation data interpretation as "ideal self.

The work also notes the possibility of using the identified structures of the motivational core of personality for systems interpretation of personality instances accepted in the psychoanalytical tradition. The suggested diagnostic scheme allows to obtain the quantitative evaluation of the influence of various system factors on the structure of motivational dispositions of personality; the scheme can be recommended for use in consul­tative and psychotherapeutic practice.


Keywords: systems psychology; motivation; motivational core of personality; real-self; ideal-self; hidden-self; ego; super-ego; it (Lat. "id", German "Es"); profile of motivation; value ranking.

For citation: Ryzhov B. N. Real-self, ideal-self and hidden-self // Systems Psychology and Sociology. 2020. № 2 (34). P. 5-20. DOI: 10.25688/2223-6872.2020.34.2.01


Ryzhov Boris Nikolayevich, Doctor of Psychological Sciences, Professor, Head of the Department of Peda­gogical, Developmental and Social Psychology at the Institute of Psychology, Sociology and Social Relations of the Moscow City University, Moscow, Russia.

E-mail: RyzhovBN@mgpu.ru; ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8848-3622




In every scholarly discipline there exist quite a number of instances of rational interpretation of the previously introduced notions re-interpre­ted at some stage from the point of view of a later theory. Psychology, too, maintains a vast num­ber of such rationalization of former concepts. A case in point is Ivan Pavlov's interpretation of the four-component typology of temperaments viewed from the perspective of natural scien­ces; the typology itself is thought to have been suggested by Hippocrates of Kos in the 5th cen­tury B.C. [13; 14]. It goes without saying that in the 20th century the explanation of the exis­tence of temperaments through the preva­lence of this or that humor no longer appealed to anyone; however, the typology put for­ward by ancient physicians, same as the names of temperaments, is still in use [9; 15].

The same is held true for the famous Sig-mund Freud's triad of personality instances. The conception suggested by Freud during his lifestyle experienced attempts at being rationali­zed and interpreted too broadly within the con­text of psychoanalysis. All the more, from the point of view of other methodological direc­tions, such as, for example, gestalt psychology or cognitive psychology, the view of personality instances in the orthodox psychoanalytical tra­dition did not appear to be scientific at all [1]. Despite this, many terms and notions introduced by Freud are still being used, to a greater or lesser degree, by representatives of the most diverse psychology areas , the above being true of his perception of the deep structure of personality, combining the unconscious biological impul­ses, the standards of public morality acquired by man, and his rational 'self'[3; 6; 7]. Today, however, the reason for the impetus of a person's behavior is predominantly seen not in the mys­terious energy of libido described by Freud, but in the specificity of the structure and dyna­mics of the development of motivation and va­lue domain of a human, i.e. the deep core of personality [4, 8]. And yet, not withstanding a great number of studies devoted to the issue in question, what modern psychology lacks is the generally recognized theory of motiva­tion [2; 10-12].

In this regard, the aim of the present work is an attempt at specifying the systems structure of the motivational core of personality and in­terpreting the psychoanalytical triad of persona­lity instances from the point of view of modern systems psychology.


Self-evaluation of the systems profile of motivation


In modern systems psychology there ex­ist several versions of methodology of systems diagnostics of motivation, also known as the test of the systems profile of motivation (SPM) [5]. Methodologically the test is based on ranging by the surveyed of the specific set of psycholo­gical values correlated with the types of motiva­tion singled out in systems psychology. The test results permit to set up the established hierar­chy of motivational tendencies. However, they are unable to reveal all of its peculiarities. Once a surveyed person presents the self-evaluation of his or her profile of motivation, additional opportunities crop up.

It is worthwhile to carry out the evaluation of the profile of motivation after passing standard observation using the SPM methodology. Mean­while, a surveyed person is asked to determine the extent of the expression of any of the 8 sys­tems types of motivation. For this purpose it was suggested to use the blank of the test (fig. 1) con­taining 8 scales corresponding to 8 major types of motivation singled out in systems psycholo­gy. The estimates of each scale range from 0 % to 100 %. Under each scale there was brief infor­mation on the corresponding type of motivation:

• motivation of self-realization presup­poses the aspiration for transfer of our feelings, knowledge and the perceptions of the world to other people; it includes the ambition for crea­tive activity and realization of one's gifts and ap­titudes, the desire to exert influence and authority in our environment, the same being true of our country with regard to strengthening its positions in the world;

• moral motivation presupposes the as­piration for the protection of society, its values and interests including the demand for fairness in relations among people, order and well-being in society, preservation of cultural traditions — as well as search for beauty and harmony of the surrounding world;

• altruistic motivation presupposes the need for protection and the preservation of health of other people; it also includes concern about family and relatives, their safety, as well as the desire to render assistance to a friend and the readiness to support another person;

• preservation of 'ego' motivation involves the aspiration for protection and defense of our personality; it includes the pursuit of self-respect and loyalty to one's moral principles — as well as the desire to have conidence in the future and to preserve the attachment and respect of other people;

• self-preservation motivation presuppo­ses aspiration for counteracting any life threats and people's health including the desire to pro­tect health and personal safety, to have com­fortable life conditions and the possibility of rest and entertainment;

• vital motivation includes the aspira­tion for development and normal functioning of the human organism — as well as the desire to have good clothes, tasty and healthy nourish­ment, the ability to go in for sport and to be able to move and act freely;

• cognitive motivation presupposes aspira­tion for obtaining new information — from most common perceptions to the new knowledge, com­petences and skills; it includes the need for edu­cation and culture, communication with friends and interesting people, the desire to have and in­teresting job and to get the new information about the world, science and art;

• reproductive motivation presuppo­ses everything connected with sexual activity and procreation; it includes the need for attractive appearance, the desire to love and to be loved, the wish to have a happy family life and to have posterity.



Before the test begins, the participant is given the following instructions:

'Here before you are the 8 scales of moti­vation. Each scale has its own title and clarifi­cation. The value of the scales varies from 0 % (which corresponds to the minimal estimate of the given type of motivation) to 100 % (which corresponds to the maximal estimate of the gi­ven type of motivation). Please, indicate a point on each scale which corresponds to your per­sonal estimate with regard to this type of moti­vation.'


Processing results


The principal feature of SPM methodolo­gy based on ranking of values by the surveyed correlated with different types of motivation is the single invariable sum of all particular indi­cators or indices of motivation obtained as a re­sult of testing (I. SPM). Taking into consideration that there are SPM methodology uses eight scales, the estimates of each of them can vary from 0 % to 100 %, the average being 50 %, this sum (XSPM) always equals 400 %.

However, in the case of self-evaluation of motivation indices (I SPM (their sum will

7 i SPM (s-eval)7'

most likely have a different estimate, either more than 400 % (if the surveyed is liable to overes­timating self-evaluation indicators), or less than this sum (if he or she is liable to underestimating these indicators). In this regard, in order to ob­tain data, in the process of self-evaluation, which are quantitatively related to the corresponding indicators of SPM methodology, a special pro­cedure of normalizing the results of self-eva­luation was envisaged. In concurrence with this, the sum of self-evaluation indices (ESPM ( l))

v SPM (s-eval)7

using all eight scales of the profile is defined — same as the normalized estimate for each index I SPM ( ) using the formula:



With reference to these transformations, the plot of self-evaluation of the profile of mo­tivation is created; this plot can be combined with base profile received in accordance with SPM methodology.


Interpreting results


In Fig. 2 a typical example of the correla­tion between these two profiles is presented; one of them is based on the results of SPM metho­dology (the red line) carried out by the sur­veyed — a man aged 27. The second profile is based on the results of motivation self-evalua­tion by the same person (the blue line).

Juxtaposing profiles shows that the indices of such types of motivation as 'self-realization', 'moral' and 'cognition' during the self-evalua­tion process exceed the corresponding indices obtained using the base SPM methodology. At the same time the indices of motivation types such as 'vitality', 'self-preservation' and 'pre­servation of 'ego'' — as well as the index of re­productive motivation are below the SPM data during the process of self-evaluation.



The interpretation of these differences is based on the fact that the SPM profile, while reflecting the hierarchy of an individual's moti­vations obtained on the basis of the methodolo­gy of value ranking, in essence reflects the real structure of the motivational core of the perso­nality of a surveyed person, i. e. his or her 'real self'. On the contrary, the profile of self-eva­luation of a personality's motivational structure in actual fact presents an idealized motivational disposition. The idealization of the profile occurs as a result of the fact that the profile — along­side with the reflection of one's own motivational discourses — with a great degree of probability will reflect the pressure of the social environment in which the contrast between 'superior' and 'in­ferior' types of motivation has always been present.

The collectivist types of motivation are re­ferred to the 'superior' ones. The most prestigious for society are the motivation of self-realization and moral motivation since these types of mo­tivation are directly aimed at the development and preservation of society. These are followed by reproductive and altruistic providing the de­velopment and preservation of human popula­tion — the biological basis of society. The moral rules of the healthy and successfully developing society always ix the high signiicance of these types of motivation, on condition that in the case of their conlict with the motivation of develop­ment and preservation of society, the latter one will be in priority.

The 'inferior' types of motivation are in­dividualistic in their essence. They are aimed at the development and preservation of per­sonality (cognitive motivation and the moti­vation of preservation of 'ego') and an indivi­dual (the vital motivation and the motivation of self-preservation). However, public moral also presupposes a certain hierarchy of relations between them. The developed, creative perso­nality plays the pivotal role in the social prog­ress. This is why the cognitive motivation aimed at personalized development occupies a higher position in the hierarchy compared with the motivation of development and motiva­tion of an individual's development and preser­vation which is less significant for social envi­ronment.

The pressure of society will eventually dis­tort the profile of motivation exaggerating the role of the 'superior' types of motivation at the ex­pense of the 'inferior' ones. Thus, the self-eva­luation of the motivational profile is viewed as an idealized structure of the motivational core of personality, namely its 'ideal self'.

In this regard it is worthwhile to note one more circumstance, namely: the social environ­ment continues to exert pressure on the respon­dent even while the base SPM methodology is being carried out. However, while ranking par­ticular values a different situation occurs. When it concerns not the general motivational premi­ses, but quite concrete requirements and values playing a signiicant role for each individual, their moral estimation loses its priority status and finds itself in one role with individualistic aspiration for the development and preserva­tion of man as a personality and an individual. This is why the proile obtained as a result SPM methodology application reflects to a greater degree the real correlation of basic motivational tendencies and acts as a real structure of perso­nality in which two tendencies — collectivist and individualistic — are ighting each other and mutually counterbalance each other.

Thus, every concrete index of motivation obtained through the use of SPM methodology is viewed as the resultant of these two antago­nistic tendencies. The deviation of this index from the corresponding indicator of self-evaluation the given type of motivation is perceived as a qua­litative measure of social pressure which a person experiences while reflecting on the motivatio­nal significance. In other words, here we witness the force of the social pressure making the gap between 'ideal self' and 'real self' more visible.

In this regard, to preserve 'real self' on the fixed level with the help of SPM, for each type of motivation there should exist an equidi-mensional force of the individualistic tendency's pressure; however, this force should be reverse as far as its directivity. The projection of this force on the motivation profile plot for each scale (or for each type of motivation) gives an additional point deviating from 'real self' over the same distance as 'ideal self', but in the oppo­site direction. The combination of these points presents one more profile reflecting the influence of the individualistic tendency in the motivatio­nal core of personality. In the majority of cases this is an unconscious structure, concealed from a human eye, which consists of important life dispositions and which results from the priori­tized significance of developmental values and the preservation of an individual and perso­nality. This is the 'hidden self' of a person, name­ly the mirror reflection of 'ideal self' in relation to 'real self'.

In Fig. 3 we can see the correlation of 'real self' (the red line) represented earlier in Fig. 2 and the corresponding 'hidden self' (the black line). Here 'hidden self' is presented as a deso-cialized formation, in which only socially 'infe­rior' types of motivation (preservation of 'ego', reproductive properties, altruism and vitality) are developed, whereas the 'superior' (self-realization and moral) types of motivation are at the maximally low level.

In this respect, it is possible to detect a cer­tain analogy between the described structures of the motivational core and the three perso­nality instances accepted in the psychoanalytical tradition:

• Rational 'real self' — 'ego' in the psycho­analytical tradition.

• Social 'ideal self — 'super-ego' in the psy­choanalytical tradition.

• Individualistic 'hidden self' — 'it' in the psychoanalytical tradition.

In this interpretation the data presented in Fig. 2-3 well illustrate the psychoanalytical scheme of the interaction of personality instan­ces: 'ego', or 'real self', presents a compro­mise between the mutually exclusive require­ments of the social 'ideal self', or 'super-ego', and the unconscious impulses of the individua­listic 'hidden self', or 'it'. At the same time, the suggested diagnostic scheme allows to re­ceive the quantitative estimation of various vec­tors of interaction of personality instances, which may be significant for practical work in consulta­tive and psychotherapeutic sphere.



It is essential to pay attention to one more detail. As it has already been mentioned, the in­dices of motivation of 'real self' and 'ideal self' are always located within the estimates ranging from 0 % to 100 %. On the contrary, the indi­ces of 'hidden self' in some cases could either exceed 100 % or even acquire negative variab­les. From the diagnostic point of view such ex­treme estimates of indices of motivation might testify to deviations in personality development and the existence of either hypermotivation or in­version of the relative motivation types, the ten­dency of development and preservation being substituted with the destructive tendency aimed at the disruption of the corresponding social or biological society system. In the latter case the spectrum of destructive stimuli may be rather wide: from the pursuit of disruption of moral limitations to suicidal tendencies.


Population tendencies


To verify the advanced propositions popula­tion research of the comparative characteristics of 'real self' and 'ideal self' has been carried out. The research took place in the period of 2019­2020 with the participation of 187 surveyed men and women aged 18-48. The generalized results of research are presented in Fig. 4. The analysis shows that — same as in the example adduced above — while conducting self-evaluation the re­spondents were disposed to considerably overes­timate the indices of social types of motivation, self-realization and moral (the detected diffe­rences between the 'ideal self' and the 'real self' with regard to these indicators turned out to be statistically significant atp < 0.01); the estimates of cognitive motivation were also raised (though not crucially). At the same time the respondents lowered the indices of the individualistic types of motivation of self-preservation and preserva­tion of 'ego', as well as the indices of biological motivation of development and species preser­vation. Thus, the conducted population research has demonstrated a sustainable effect of social pressure while self-evaluating motivational ten­dencies which allows to consider the motivational self-assessment as the person's 'ideal self'.




In this paper the methodology of self-evalua­tion of the motivational profile of personality was described. In combination with the test of the sys­tems profile of motivation of SPM, this metho­dology allows to obtain a number of complemen­tary substantive components of the motivational core of personality. These components include: 'real self', or the systems profile of motivation defined on the basis of the SPM test data; 'ideal self', or the systems profile of self-evaluation of motivational tendencies established on the ba­sis of methodology described in the present re­search (the profile in question reflects the pressure of the accepted social norms on the motiva­tional core of personality; moreover, the pre­sent population research demonstrates the exis­tence of the sustainable effect of social pressure on the self-evaluation of motivational tenden­cies); 'hidden self', or the profile of motivational dispositions based on the superposition of 'real self' and 'ideal self' and reflecting the com­pensating pressure of individualistic impulses aimed at the development and the preservation of an individual and personality.



The suggested scheme of diagnostics allows to receive the quantitative evaluation of inluen-ce of various system factors on the structure of the motivational dispositions of personali­ty. This scheme allows to obtain could become applicable while conducting consultative and psy-chotherapeutical work. Moreover, the given re­search proves the possibility of using identified structures of the motivational core of personality for systems interpretation of personality instances accepted in the psychoanalytical tradition.




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