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Kaufman, C. (1960). Symposium on 'Psycho-Analysis and Ethology'—Iii. Some Theoretical Implications from Animal Behaviour Studies for the Psycho-Analytic Concepts of Instinct, Energy, and Drive. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 41:318-326.

(1960). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 41:318-326

Symposium on 'Psycho-Analysis and Ethology'—Iii. Some Theoretical Implications from Animal Behaviour Studies for the Psycho-Analytic Concepts of Instinct, Energy, and Drive

Charles Kaufman

Having spent the past year as an ethologist, working in a group of ethologists, I would like to tell you about many interesting studies in this field of animal behaviour, and of the methodology being used, as well as about the trends and new directions which are evolving. However, since this is a meeting of psycho-analysts, not ethologists, I have decided to limit my remarks rather sharply to a few concepts which are central in both ethology and psycho-analysis. I refer to the related concepts of instinct, drive, and energy.

Psycho-analysis has traditionally considered itself a biological psychology or an instinct psychology. (This traditional view is not essentially altered by the subsequent development of ego psychology or by the extensive application of psycho-analytic theory to non-clinical fields.) It is not surprising, therefore, that psycho-analysts have shown an interest, increasing almost geometrically, in the field of ethology, as they have become aware of the work of Lorenz (15) and Tinbergen (25), Thorpe (23), and others. However, since biologists and physiological psychologists have been studying animal behaviour for years without exciting undue psycho-analytic interest, we may inquire what there is about ethology that attracts such attention. I believe that the interest stems principally from the central position of instincts in ethological theory, as well as certain other parallels to psycho-analytic theory. Bowlby pointed out these apparent parallels in 1953 (1): the importance of inner drives (instincts); the drive to make a love-relationship with a parental figure, and the influence of such early love objects in the selection of later objects; the persistence in adulthood of the early social responses of childhood; the critical periods of development of inner drives; and the discharge of a drive at times by displacement.

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