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Mayer, D.L. (1970). Meetings of the New York Psychoanalytic Society. Psychoanal Q., 39:669.

(1970). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 39:669

Meetings of the New York Psychoanalytic Society

David L. Mayer

DISCUSSION: Dr. Jacob A. Arlow questioned the deterring effect of the superego, the universality of reality-testing defects in real criminals, and the meaning of what appears on the surface as a sense of invulnerability in sociopaths. He suggested that deterrence is based on a positive identification with the possible victim, and thus on early object ties and libido patterning. Dehumanization of the victim is then an important preliminary to crime.

Dr. Jay Katz thought it would be more useful to study particular crimes rather than criminality. He doubted that punishment is an effective deterrent in neurotics or that there are diminished guilt conflicts in 'real' criminals. We do not know whether either type of criminal is benefited by treatment or punishment. Psychoanalysis may be useful to the law as a potential to instruct those individuals concerned with the law about human feelings.

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