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Gonchar, J. (1992). Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Thought. XIII, 1990: The Problem of Unconscious Affect: Signal Anxiety versus the Double-Prediction Theory. Eric Gillett. Pp. 551-600.. Psychoanal Q., 61:321.

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Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Thought. XIII, 1990: The Problem of Unconscious Affect: Signal Anxiety versus the Double-Prediction Theory. Eric Gillett. Pp. 551-600.

(1992). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 61:321

Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Thought. XIII, 1990: The Problem of Unconscious Affect: Signal Anxiety versus the Double-Prediction Theory. Eric Gillett. Pp. 551-600.

Joel Gonchar

Gillett challenges the idea of the existence of unconscious affect. Since signal anxiety is one affect thought to be unconscious, Gillett discusses the problems presented by this concept, and replaces it with "double-prediction theory," which is shown to be more parsimonious than signal anxiety theory. Calling the part of the ego that regulates defenses the censorship, the author distinguishes two predictors as components of it. Predictor 1 predicts the consequences of allowing any particular mental content access to consciousness, and initiates defenses against this content if the danger is sufficiently great. Predictor 2 then functions to regulate the intensity of the anxiety response depending on how it assesses the probability of success of the defense. The signal of anxiety in this theory is not necessary to activate defense. Anxiety, according to this theory, becomes the motivator of the defense effort. In this model, anxiety is produced by an anxiety or affect generator. Ideational content is monitored before it stimulates the affect generator, and if it seems likely to do that, the censorship activates a defense such as repression to keep this content in such a state that it will be unable to stimulate the generator. Thus the concept of affect being unconscious becomes unnecessary.


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Article Citation

Gonchar, J. (1992). Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Thought. XIII, 1990. Psychoanal. Q., 61:321

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WARNING! This text is printed for the personal use of the subscriber to PEP Web and is copyright to the Journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to copy, distribute or circulate it in any form whatsoever.