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Eidelberg, L. (1936). A Contribution to the Study of Slips of the Tongue. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 17:462-470.

(1936). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 17:462-470

A Contribution to the Study of Slips of the Tongue

Ludwig Eidelberg

In Psychopathologie des Alltagslebens and Introductory Lectures on Psycho-Analysis Freud described the fundamental mechanisms which operate in parapraxes. From the study of errors he transferred his researches to other fields of mental life, giving his reason for choosing a new scene for his activities as follows: 'Nor do I think that we could discover these unknown circumstances by penetrating further into the study of errors. It will be necessary first to examine thoroughly yet other obscure fields of mental life: only the analogies to be met with there can give us courage to form those assumptions which are requisite for a more searching elucidation of errors'. (Introductory Lectures on Psycho-Analysis, p. 53.)

Since the time when these words were written, very considerable progress has been made through the work of Freud himself and of his followers, and so I think it may not be inopportune to turn our attention once more to the study of slips of the tongue and view them in the light of the knowledge derived from our researches into the neuroses.

Since Freud published his discoveries, it has been realized that, when we examine the phenomenon of parapraxes, we must distinguish between the conditions under which it occurs and its actual causes. These conditions were described by Federn in a paper entitled: 'Die Ichbesetzung bei den Fehlleistungen' (Imago, 1934).

In the present essay I propose to deal only with the causes of errors and I would preface my remarks with a quotation from Freud (Introductory Lectures on Psycho-Analysis, p. 48): 'We said that errors result from the mutual interference of two different intentions, of which one may be called the intention interfered with, and the other the interfering tendency. The intentions interfered with give rise to no further questions'.

In the light of the discoveries made during our study of the neuroses it may, perhaps, also prove interesting to examine the intention interfered with.

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