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Whitehead, C.C. (2009). Brief Communication: Mirror Neurons, the Self, and Culture: An Essay in Neo-Psychoanalysis. J. Amer. Acad. Psychoanal., 37(4):701-711.

(2009). Journal of American Academy of Psychoanalysis, 37(4):701-711

Brief Communication: Mirror Neurons, the Self, and Culture: An Essay in Neo-Psychoanalysis

Clay C. Whitehead, M.D.

No man is an island, entire of itself…

John Donne, 1624

A scheme of training for analysis has still to be created. It must include elements from the mental sciences, from psychology, the history of civilization and sociology, as well as from anatomy, biology, and the study of evolution.

Sigmund Freud, 1927

Progress in neuroscience continues at an awesome pace. In the present paper we will briefly consider some studies of particular interest to psychoanalysts. These works can be integrated into the large theoretical matrix of the recently introduced neo-psychoanalytic paradigm (Whitehead, 2006) with its emphasis on evolution, downward causation, and a non-dualistic approach to the mind/brain problem. Central elements of the classical psychoanalytic model will find powerful support in these new studies, however, some major ideas, for example, the therapeutic emphasis on insight, will find weakened scientific resonance.


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