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Hacker, F.J. (1962). The Discriminatory Function of the Ego. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 43:395-405.

(1962). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 43:395-405

The Discriminatory Function of the Ego

Frederick J. Hacker

I. Introduction

It is the aim of this paper to introduce, describe, and justify as necessary a new ego function, or a set of new ego functions. The discriminatory functions are the exact dialectic correlate and opposite of the synthetic functions. Both discriminatory and synthetic functions are part of the primary ego autonomy, and are an important, independent variable influencing the primary processes and the various stages of growth and development, as well as later becoming constitutive elements of the secondary process. The discriminatory functions of the ego affect the all-important distinctions between self and outside world, and between external perception (sensations) and internal perception (fantasies) (25), (33). In that manner, they will be crucial for the task of reality testing, for the establishment and maintenance of object relations, and for the correlated selective processes of introjection and projections, which never take place promiscuously or accidentally but according to strict, patterned rules typical for any given developmental period, and can be safeguarded by an intact discriminatory facility. The formation and maintenance of internal structures will depend on discrimination and be instrumental for the definition and delineation of emerging functions according to the time-table of development. Discrimination will organize the hierarchical order and patterns of internal structures which depend, so to speak, on the discriminatory permission or prohibition of new introjections.

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