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Slap, J.W. (1987). Implications for the Structural Model of Freud's Assumptions about Perception. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 35:629-645.

(1987). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 35:629-645

Implications for the Structural Model of Freud's Assumptions about Perception

Joseph W. Slap, M.D.


Freud made assumptions about perception that strongly influenced his final model of the mind, the structural model. Two of these assumptions, (1) that perception is exclusively a function of the ego and (2) that perception is an accurate, veridical representation of external reality, are questioned on the basis of clinical findings and current conceptualizations. Changes are suggested, namely, that we grant that the repressed has a capacity for perception and recognize that perception is not an inherent ability for exact, photographic registration of the external world, but that it is a function of the mind mediated through external receptors and the central nervous system. Perception is dependent on mental organizations (schemas) which are affected by past experience, psychodynamics, affective states, and cognitive style. These changes produce a version of the structural model which is congruent with a schema model previously advanced as a competing model. It is argued that this version of the structural model has significant clinical and theoretical advantages over previous models.

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