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Turnbull, O. Olds, D. (2008). Editors' Introduction. Neuropsychoanalysis, 10(2):115-115.

(2008). Neuropsychoanalysis, 10(2):115-115

Editors' Introduction Related Papers

Oliver Turnbull and David Olds

This issue's Target Article is by Yoram Yovell (until recently a co-Editor of our Journal). He has taken on the thorny, difficult, and eternally interesting topic of love and has attempted to bring a modern, neuropsychoanalytic perspective to bear on it. In doing so, he has reviewed the history of the classic (Freudian) psychoanalytic view on love and then presented some of the most relevant current scientific findings that might help us to understand the phenomenon. He discusses at length the roots and development of the concept of drive, describing Pfaff's idea of a basic drive in any sentient organism, the core energy source that drives all its activities. This is somewhat like Freud's libido, a concept that had fallen out of fashion but has emerged from the research of modern neuroscientists such as Pfaff and Panksepp. Yovell then deals with Panksepp's core affective systems, particularly the SEEKING system. By now familiar to most of our readers, this system has some of the properties of libido, of an emotion system—initially “objectless”—that motivates action.

Yovell concludes that a one-drive system, such as Freud had in mind, does not serve well when considering romantic love. A substantial body of evidence—much of the research initiated by Panksepp himself—suggests at least two drive systems: a sexual system, and an attachment system of the sort long championed by Bowlby. These two systems are outlined with convincing clarity in Yovell's article.

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