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Palombo, J. (2017). The Self As a Complex Adaptive System, Part IV: Making Sense of the Sense of Self. Psychoanal. Soc. Work, 24(1):37-53.

(2017). Psychoanalytic Social Work, 24(1):37-53

The Self As a Complex Adaptive System, Part IV: Making Sense of the Sense of Self

Joseph Palombo, M.A.

This article proposes that when we speak of “the self,” reference is being made to the person and not to a homunculus that is located in a person's psyche; when we speak of the sense of self, we are referring to the person's mental activities, whether these are consciously, nonconsciously, or unconsciously experienced. It suggests that central to our understanding of our mental activities is an evolutionary perspective; in particular, the recognition process that permits us either to adapt to our environment or to reshape our environment to make it conform to our survival needs. Finally, it delineates some of the components and attributes of the sense of self that describe its major dynamics. These are discussed within the context of the three levels of analysis: the neuropsychological, the introspective, and the interpersonal domains.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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