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Weissman, P. (1968). Psychological Concomitants of Ego Functioning in Creativity. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 49:464-469.

(1968). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 49:464-469

Psychological Concomitants of Ego Functioning in Creativity

Philip Weissman

In a recent study (Weissman, 1967) I suggested that the ego's role in creativity is more active than a controlled regression in the service of the ego (Kris, 1944) and minimally involves the utilization of two specific ego functions. Briefly, I postulated a dissociative or desynthesizing function as essential for the temporary liberation of the established order of the psyche, so that newly available drive discharges could be restructured with the aid of the ego's synthetic (Nunberg, 1931) or integrative (Hartmann, 1955) function into new and creative products. The genetic roots of the dissociative function were traced to early development when the new influence of the reality principle demands an alteration of the existing established order of the psyche under the pleasure principle. It is the dissociative function of the ego which repeatedly undoes a previously established stage of psychic development (oral, anal, phallic, etc.) so that a succeeding stage may come into a reigning development.

Correlated with the highly developed combination of dissociative and synthetic functions in creative people, other psychological factors in creative functioning need to be re-examined. The role of sublimation and neutralization should be re-evaluated as to whether or not they are as indispensable as we think for creative functioning. The childhood (and infancy) of the artist, as Greenacre (1957) has recently reconstructed it, should be further elaborated upon in light of these concepts of ego functioning in creativity.

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