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Oberndorf, C.P. (1941). Co-Conscious Mentation. Psychoanal Q., 10:44-65.

(1941). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 10:44-65

Co-Conscious Mentation

C. P. Oberndorf

The study of co-conscious mentation and alternating personality resumes a line of investigation so often presented before the American Neurological Association by one of its most distinguished members, the late Dr. Morton Prince. The psychological mechanisms in the cases to be reported have certain aspects in common with the separation of one segment or one activity of the personality from an intact remainder, such as have been presented by me in studies on feelings of unreality and depersonalization. Generally, co-conscious mentation occurs in patients in whom unreality, the absence of emotion and emotional deadness are also prominent complaints.

Dr. Prince's extensive and careful studies of co-current mentation, dissociation and multiple personality are among the outstanding contributions to American psychiatry during the first quarter of this century. Influenced by his approach many reports of cases of dual personality, automatic writing and functional amnesias were published from 1895 to 1910. The advent to America in 1906 of psychoanalysis with its relatively simple concepts of horizontal levels of consciousness, its charted technique, its dynamic correlations and, above all, its therapeutic efficacy, temporarily diverted the attention of American psychiatrists from Prince's work.

To explain personality dissociation Dr. Prince frequently resorted to the term 'coconscious'. However, examination of Prince's writings indicates that his own concept of the term coconscious varied from time to time.

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