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Wimer Brakel, L.A. Snodgrass, M. (1998). From the Brain, the Cognitive Laboratory, and the Couch. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 46(3):897-920.

(1998). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 46(3):897-920

From the Brain, the Cognitive Laboratory, and the Couch

Linda A. Wimer Brakel and Michael Snodgrass

Howard Shevrin began by introducing a theme common to the morning panel on memory and the afternoon panel on the unconscious—the importance of interdisciplinary communication “so that we may both benefit from this new knowledge and be in a better position to contribute our own insights.” Each panel included a neuroscientist, a cognitive psychologist, and a psychoanalyst, and each had a philosopher of mind as discussant.


Turning to the first panel, Shevrin noted that in each of the disciplines different types of memory system have been discovered, and that the distinctions in each field map surprisingly well onto the distinctions in the others. Thus, the declarative/nondeclarative memory systems, differing in their biological foundations as discovered and described by Larry Squire and others, are parallel to the knowing vs. remembering distinction Henry Roediger can draw from his experimental findings, and both can be related to Freud's remembering vs. enacting distinction, on which Anton Kris reports. Further, while the memories belonging to the first of each discipline's pair of memory categories are most often accompanied by conscious awareness, those of the second category are not; and those in the second category in each discipline are best revealed by free association and/or a free-association-like process.

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