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Compton, A. (2006). Commentary on “Testing Freud's Hypothesis That Word Forms and Word Meaning are Functionally Distinct”. Neuropsychoanalysis, 8(2):138-142.

(2006). Neuropsychoanalysis, 8(2):138-142

Commentary on “Testing Freud's Hypothesis That Word Forms and Word Meaning are Functionally Distinct” Related Papers

Allan Compton

Context and Purpose of the Research

We have the report of an experimental study designed to test the hypothesis that meanings and forms of words are treated separately when the word is perceived and processed outside consciousness. The method is a comparison of the results of supraliminal and subliminal stimuli using words as the stimulus objects. The significance of this study is a possible addition to the accumulating extrapsychoanalytic evidence of a two-track, primary- and secondary-process mind.

Howard Shevrin and his colleagues at the Hunt Laboratory, University of Michigan, have carried out over decades a program of research intended to test fundamental psychoanalytic assumptions, a probe possible only by utilizing methods and theories that do not rest upon the validity of the assumptions being tested (Brakel, 2002, 2004). In their work Sigmund Freud is appropriately chosen as a legitimate source of psychoanalytic assumptions.

The crucial psychoanalytic assumption at issue is Freud's view of a two-track mind (1900, 1915). He differentiated the tracks structurally and functionally. The function of the track known as unconscious or primary process is being investigated.

Freud's Cognitive Psychology

In attempting to explain dreams, slips of the tongue, and psychological symptoms, Freud constructed a series of steps, starting with an assumption of rational, reality-oriented, logically sequenced purposive trains of thought. Dreams and psychologically determined symptoms, he proposed, start from such trains of thought that come under the influence of another kind of cognitive process.

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