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Olds, D.D. (1999). Psychoanalysis and Cognitive Science: A Multiple Code Theory: Wilma Bucci. New York: Guilford Press, 1997, 350 pp., $40.00.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 47(3):955-959.

(1999). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 47(3):955-959

Cognitive Science

Psychoanalysis and Cognitive Science: A Multiple Code Theory: Wilma Bucci. New York: Guilford Press, 1997, 350 pp., $40.00.

Review by:
David D. Olds

There is a great deal of interest currently in describing the psychoanalytic process, and in grounding it in our understanding of mind and brain. Wilma Bucci in this valuable book presents a psychological model that explains in a satisfying way the different kinds of meaning inherent in an informational model of psychological and psychoanalytic functioning. This model is a major contribution to psychoanalytic theory.

The first third of the book is an historical review both of psychoanalytic theory and of the various disciplines that make up the amalgam known as cognitive science. In her review of psychoanalytic theory, Bucci discusses the strengths and, more, the limitations of Freud's metapsychology. She adumbrates some of the arguments of the Rapaport-Klein group of theoreticians, pointing out the problems inherent in the two levels of theory, the clinical and the metapsychological, and the futility of the endeavor to have the one level explain the other. In Bucci's view, a theory explains data or phenomena, not other theories. So to have clinical theory explain phenomena, and metapsychology then explain clinical theory, is an inchoate proposition. She agrees with many current theoreticians that the Freudian metapsychology must be scrapped. Its replacement, she argues, must stick more closely to phenomena, to which it must have a demonstrable and direct application.

In the rest of this section she presents chapters on the cognitive sciences that cover memory, perception, theories of emotion, neurophysiolgy of the brain, and PDP models of brain functioning. Except for the PDP chapter, these efforts present a concise and very useful review of what is going on in these fields, which have lately shown promise in increasing our understanding of psychoanalytic theory and practice.

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