Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
:
Login
Tip: To find a specific quote…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

Trying to find a specific quote? Go to the Search section, and write it using quotation marks in “Search for Words or Phrases in Context.”

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Kernberg, O.F. (1973). Basic Psychoanalytic Concepts on the Theory of Instincts. The Hampstead Clinic Psychoanalytic Library, Vol. III: By Humberto Nagera, et al. New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1971. 136 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 42:437-439.

(1973). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 42:437-439

Basic Psychoanalytic Concepts on the Theory of Instincts. The Hampstead Clinic Psychoanalytic Library, Vol. III: By Humberto Nagera, et al. New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1971. 136 pp.

Review by:
Otto F. Kernberg

This thin, compact book packs into a most succinct set of summary statements the basic psychoanalytic instinct theory as it evolved throughout Freud's work. Although written by several authors, the unity of approach and the consistently high level of analysis make one aware of the intensive work of the Hampstead Clinic's Concept Research Group that underlies the deceptively simple summaries presented in the various chapters.

For example, Alex Holder's chapter, Instinct and Drive, clarifies in only four pages the semantic complications that arose from translating Freud into English. In the process, Holder highlights Freud's clear differentiation of biological Instinkte (reflecting an 'inherited recognition of external situations') from the psychological 'frontier-concept' of Trieb (reflecting an 'excitation occurring in an organ which subsequently may find a conscious or unconscious representation'). Instinkte are related more to self-preservation and are discontinuous, in contrast to Triebe, which represent a more continuous or cyclical stimulation. One is tempted to relate this formulation to the contemporary concepts of instincts derived from the work of Tinbergen and Lorenz, which imply that instincts constitute an integrated hierarchy of component systems activated under specific environmental circumstances that release innate response mechanisms. These component systems, which constitute discontinuous 'building blocks', lead to an over-all organization of general 'instincts' as a result of the ongoing influence of psychosocial learning on the activation of such component systems.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2019, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.