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Soldz, S. (1992). Acts of Meaning. Jerome Bruner. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1990. 179 + XVII pp.. Mod. Psychoanal., 17(1):108-110.

(1992). Modern Psychoanalysis, 17(1):108-110

Acts of Meaning. Jerome Bruner. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1990. 179 + XVII pp.

Review by:
Stephen Soldz

Psychology has been in a process of change over the last 40 years. The cognitive revolution of the 50's and 60's shifted the focus to thoughts and other internal activity, returning mind to center stage after a long period of behavioral emphasis on overt actions as the only scientific object of study. It is probably no coincidence that psychologists who were simultaneously psychoanalysts, such as David Rapaport, Donald Spence and George Klein participated in this revolution. As analysts they were well aware of the importance of internal mental life.

More recently, some psychologists have become unhappy with the new cognitive orthodoxy that arose out of the revolution. The cognitive revolution is seen by these psychologists as having been unnecessarily limited in its impact by the information processing metaphor that was borrowed from the computer model of the mind. This metaphor was seen as being unnecessarily mechanistic in nature, drawing attention away from certain uniquely human capacities. Increasingly, psychologists and others have been interested in the processes through which people give meaning to the events they experience. They have discovered what analysts have implicitly realized for a long time, that the process of making and telling stories, or narratives is one of the prime ways that we assign meaning to our lives. If meaning is created through telling stories, then modifying the stories we tell can simultaneously change our personal meanings.

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