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Migone, P. Liotti, G. (1998). Psychoanalysis and Cognitive-Evolutionary Psychology: an Attempt at Integration. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 79:1071-1095.

(1998). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 79:1071-1095

Psychoanalysis and Cognitive-Evolutionary Psychology: an Attempt at Integration

Paolo Migone and Giovanni Liotti

The authors argue that the abandonment of the theory of trauma in 1897 was a trauma for Freud himself, who was led to ‘despair’, and possibly reacted with an overemphasis on inner fantasies and drive discharge. They suggest that today we are facing a second trauma in the history of psychoanalysis that we might call the ‘abandonment of drive theory’, i.e. the notion that human beings strive not primarily to reduce sexual and aggressive drives but rather seek objects, assign meanings, test previous beliefs and assimilate new schemes. Our task is to recover as Freud was able to do, giving a new impetus to psychoanalysis. The current challenge is, on the one hand, a revision of the psychoanalytic conception of inherited information, and, on the other, a theory of motivation based on converging evidence from cognitive science, ethology, infant research and psychotherapy research. Many clinical models are current in contemporary psychoanalysis. Only as one example among these models, some concepts used in Weiss & Sampson's ‘Control-Mastery Theory’ will be discussed in light of cognitive science and evolutionary epistemology within the framework of (a) the 1960 classic, ‘Plans and Structure of Behavior’ by Miller, Galanter and Pribram (b) Edelman's neurobiological theory and (c) Bowlby's attachment theory.

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