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Cornelius, J.T. (2017). The Hippocampus Facilitates Integration within a Symbolic Field. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 98(5):1333-1357.

(2017). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 98(5):1333-1357

The Hippocampus Facilitates Integration within a Symbolic Field

John Thor Cornelius

(Accepted for publication 3 October 2016)

This paper attempts to elaborate a fundamental brain mechanism involved in the creation and maintenance of symbolic fields of thought. It will integrate theories of psychic spaces as explored by Donald Winnicott and Wilfred Bion with the neuroscientific examinations of those with bilateral hippocampal injury to show how evidence from both disciplines sheds important light on this aspect of mind. Possibly originating as a way of maintaining an oriented, first person psychic map, this capacity allows individuals a dynamic narrative access to a realm of layered elements and their connections. If the proposed hypothesis is correct, the hippocampus facilitates the integration of this symbolic field of mind, where narrative forms of thinking, creativity, memory, and dreaming are intertwined. Without the hippocampus, there is an inability to engage many typical forms of thought itself. Also, noting the ways these individuals are not impaired supports theories about other faculties of mind, providing insight into their possible roles within human thought. The evidence of different systems working in conjunction with the symbolic field provides tantalizing clues about these fundamental mechanisms of brain and mind that are normally seamlessly integrated, and hints at future areas of clinical and laboratory research, both within neuroscience and psychoanalysis.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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