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Horowitz, W.S. (1959). The Central Nervous System and Behavior: Transactions of the First Conference February 23-26, 1958. Edited by Mary A. B. Brazier, Ph.D. New York: Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation, 1959. 450 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 28:545-547.
  

(1959). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 28:545-547

The Central Nervous System and Behavior: Transactions of the First Conference February 23-26, 1958. Edited by Mary A. B. Brazier, Ph.D. New York: Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation, 1959. 450 pp.

Review by:
William S. Horowitz

The Josiah Macy, Jr. and National Science Foundations sponsored this distinguished conference in which thirty eminent American representatives of the basic and clinical sciences participated. This volume is a stimulating but heavy verbatim account of the four-day conclave which traces the development of neurophysiology in Russia and surveys current American contributions to the phenomenon of conditioned learning.

To abstract the already highly condensed content presents an insuperable task. The format of the transactions, with a minimum of structure and extremely active interchange between excellent and informed minds, is invigorating and enviable. Psychoanalysis could utilize this technique with profit. As a chronicle of neurophysiology, this report is nothing short of exciting. Roughly the first half reports the development of the science in Russia, and reads with a majestic historical sweep. The second half covers post-Pavlovian developments, focusing on central nervous system correlates of conditioned learning, on which prodigious amounts of work are proceeding in numerous laboratories. Here especially one finds tantalizing clues bearing on the problems of instinctual and ego functioning, such as symbolization, pleasure and pain, instinct versus learning, memory traces, separation from object, association, and many others.

Pavlov promulgated a concept of first and second systems of signals (pantomime and verbal language being one expression), whose relatedness to Freud's primary and secondary process concept is evident.

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