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Smirnow, B.W. (2000). J. Allan Hobson and Edward Pace-Schott's Response Commentary by Beatrice W. Smirnow. Neuropsychoanalysis, 2(2):216-218.

(2000). Neuropsychoanalysis, 2(2):216-218

J. Allan Hobson and Edward Pace-Schott's Response Commentary by Beatrice W. Smirnow Related Papers

Beatrice W. Smirnow, Ph.D.

In Neuro-Psychoanalysis (Vol. 1, No. 2) Drs. Braun and Hobson both question the validity of Freud's formulation of the dream's censoring function, in view of the results of recent imaging studies demonstrating that areas of the frontal cortex involved in secondary process mentation were inactive during dreaming (Braun, 1999; Hobson and Pace-Schott, 1999). Their conclusion to the effect that the concept of censorship (or defense) is incompatible with these data is based on their assumption that aspects of censorship, such as condensation, displacement, and distortion, represent secondary processes that originate in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex.

I found myself thinking that a clinical-developmental perspective might be useful in clarifying this apparent discrepancy. I say apparent, because I believe their perception of a discrepancy may reside in the fact that Freud modified his own thinking about defensive operations based on his clinical experience. Thus, in The Interpretation of Dreams (1900), Freud describes two psychical forces one of these forces constructs the wish which is expressed by the dream, while the other exercises a censorship upon this dream-wish and, by the use of that censorship, forcibly brings about a distortion in the expression of the wish it seems plausible to suppose that the privilege enjoyed by the second agency is that of permitting thoughts to enter consciousness (p. 144). Later, he modified this idea:

[T]he notion of forcing a way through into consciousness must be kept carefully free from any idea of a change of locality.

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