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Luborsky, L. Mintz, J. (1974). What Sets Off Momentary Forgetting During A Psychoanalysis? Investigations of Symptom-Onset Conditions. Psychoanal. Contemp. Sci., 3(1):233-268.

(1974). Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Science, 3(1):233-268

4 Clinical and Quantitative Investigations

What Sets Off Momentary Forgetting During A Psychoanalysis? Investigations of Symptom-Onset Conditions

Lester Luborsky, Ph.D. and Jim Mintz, Ph.D.

Fashions in Research on memory seldom compete since, in general, they appeal to separate research groups. The dominant tradition in research on memory is experimental-situations are created in which forgetting occurs, and an effort is then made to manipulate and measure the conditions which influence the forgetting. An older tradition is illustrated by Freud's (1901) collection of incidents of forgetting from everyday life, which he clinically analyzed in order to discover the conditions for forgetting, and from which he constructed a theory of motivated forgetting. Such reliance upon loosely specified data comprehended by an unchecked observer-the analyst-has remained the pre-eminent research style in psychoanalysis.

Our own approach is in sharp contrast to many laboratory studies of forgetting. Some variables relevant to concepts of motivated forgetting are not easily uncovered in the laboratory, but are discernible in such “natural” settings as psychoanalytic treatment.

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