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Turnbull, O. Olds, D. (2010). Editors' Introduction. Neuropsychoanalysis, 12(1):3-4.

(2010). Neuropsychoanalysis, 12(1):3-4

Editors' Introduction

Oliver Turnbull and David Olds

Target Article

The Target Article in this issue is an elegant paper by Amir Raz of McGill University, and Joanna Wolf son of Fairleigh Dickinson University. The title, “From Dynamic Lesions to Brain Imaging of Behavioral Lesions: Alloying the Gold of Psychoanalysis with the Copper of Suggestion,” emerges from Freud's lecture at the Fifth International Psycho-Analytical Congress in 1918. The authors of this article take us from Freud's original technique, using hypnotic suggestion, to his later embrace of the psychoanalytic method, involving transference and its interpretation. The origins of psychoanalysis in the hypnotic method and Freud's early interest in the work of Charcot and his colleagues in Paris are, of course, well known. The authors focus on an aspect of this history: namely, the construct of the dynamic lesion in the brain, proposed as an explanation for hysterical symptoms—those that imitated symptoms caused by damage to the brain, but for which no anatomical lesions could be found. These symptoms appeared to result from “functional” lesions in which the brain was affected by words: namely, suggestions using the hypnotic technique. The authors point to modern technologies that may illuminate this phenomenology, including transcranial magnetic stimulation(TMS) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). For instance, a hypnotic suggestion can render a person unable to read printed words. TMS aimed at the appropriate brain area can produce a similar effect, though neither technique leaves any anatomical tracks.

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