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Andrade, V.M. (2003). Affect, Thought, and Consciousness: The Freudian Theory of Psychic Structuring from an Evolutionary Perspective. Neuropsychoanalysis, 5:71-80.

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(2003). Neuropsychoanalysis, 5(1):71-80

Affect, Thought, and Consciousness: The Freudian Theory of Psychic Structuring from an Evolutionary Perspective

Victor Manoel Andrade, M.D.

Freud regarded affect as the outcome of secretory or vasomotor discharge inside the body. This paper describes the genesis and development of the psyche in view of this bodily characteristic of the affects, based on the obscure Freudian concept of affective structure. This notion is seen here as the memory trace of the first experiences of pleasure and unpleasure, which constitute the germinal core of the mind. “The exigencies of life” bring about a process by which automatic regulation by the pleasure principle is replaced by thought, at which point ideational structures become superimposed over affective structures. The evolution from affective to ideational structures is described, as well as the way in which these latter acquire psychic quality (consciousness) through memory residues of speech. The role of the object in structuring affective experiences is underscored, as it is this role that makes transference the pillar of support for the psychoanalytic process. Affect and thought are seen as inextricable, a fact that, besides reinforcing Freud's conviction that psychoanalysis is a natural science, gives Freudian metapsychology sufficient range to make it a theoretical support for the clinical advances being made by different currents today and to aid in arriving at a desired common ground.

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