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Schactel, E.G. (1965). Notes on Freud's Personality and Style of Thought. Contemp. Psychoanal., 1(2):136-148.

(1965). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 1(2):136-148

Notes on Freud's Personality and Style of Thought

Ernest G. Schactel

STYLE OF THOUGHT (cognitive style) is a significant aspect of personality. Just as we may intuitively recognize the stamp of a particular personality in any of his behavior, so style of thought may impress us as being characteristic of a person and, furthermore, as related to specific trends in the personality. Such an impression may be quite valid even though we do not yet understand, in detail, the complicated theoretical issues of the relations between cognitive style and cognitive controls, on the one hand, and drives, defenses and modes of adaptation, on the other. I shall speculate on some aspects of Freud's personality and their relation to certain qualities of his cognitive style described by Holt. 9

One cannot appreciate fully Freud's achievements without becoming aware of the passionate quality of his intellectual interests. Indeed, practically all the passion of his adult life—aside from the period of his courtship of his wife—went into his theoretical work and its fate. In a touching letter to Pfister he writes in 1910:

I could not contemplate with any sort of comfort a life without work.

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