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Raz, A. (2010). From Dynamic Lesions to Brain Imaging of Behavioral Lesions: Response to Commentaries. Neuropsychoanalysis, 12(1):46-65.

(2010). Neuropsychoanalysis, 12(1):46-65

Response to Commentaries

From Dynamic Lesions to Brain Imaging of Behavioral Lesions: Response to Commentaries Related Papers

Amir Raz

Response to Casoni & Brunet

A Neighborly Approach to Neuropsychoanalysis

Dianne Casoni and Louis Brunet are my across-the-road neighbors and upstanding members of the Montreal psychoanalytic community. “A good neighbor—a found treasure” says one adage; “No man tells the truth about himself, only his neighbors do” says another. Thus, beyond full disclosure, this neighborly collaboration may bring us closer to the truth.

In the first part of their commentary, Casoni & Brunet take a psychoanalytic view of suggestion, which draws on the unconscious mind. Suggestions, however, can be conscious too; individuals complying with suggestions are usually cognizant and may be well aware that they are responding in line with a suggestion. Teasing apart the influence of conscious from unconscious suggestions may be difficult (Raz, 2007b). After all, beliefs and experiences need not be overt declarations by the subject. Rather, they can be ingrained without awareness. A good example of unconscious mechanisms playing into one's beliefs involves the Implicit Associations Test (IAT; Greenwald, McGhee, & Schwartz, 1999)—a supraliminal experimental task presumed to measure people's unconscious feelings about different groups of objects (for a demo, see https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/demo). Evidence shows that manipulation of context could rapidly change the outcome of people's unconscious beliefs (Foroni & Mayr, 2005). Specifically, when subjects read about an uncommon scenario in which flowers were bad and insects were good for the environment, they elicited shorter reaction times for pairing flowers with negative words than insects with negative words, indicating that the suggestion instigated immediate effects.

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