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Ostow, M. (1954). A Psychoanalytic Contribution to the Study of Brain Function—I. the Frontal Lobes. Psychoanal Q., 23:317-338.

(1954). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 23:317-338

A Psychoanalytic Contribution to the Study of Brain Function—I. the Frontal Lobes

Mortimer Ostow, M.D.

Recently Dr. Lawrence S. Kubie has called attention to certain observations on the physiology of the nervous system which justify the hope that before very long a sound neurophysiological foundation can be laid for psychoanalytic metapsychology, a correlation predicted so often and enthusiastically by Freud. Dr. Kubie presented not merely an exposition and a hope but also a call for work in this field. The present paper is offered as one among many responses to this call.

There is an important reason for attempting to relate metapsychology and neurophysiology just now. The psychoanalytically sophisticated reader is distressed by the lack of knowledge of psychology with which neurophysiologists approach their experimental animals, surpassed only by that of most psychiatrists when they attempt to understand the results of their destructive operations on the brain. For example, most psychological tests reveal no differences in performance before and after lobotomy. Some tests devised specifically for this purpose show small differences, but these differences are incommensurate with the degree of personality change readily observable to those who live with the patient. Some have denied that there are any psychic changes after lobotomy. Some have acknowledged that there are changes but say that the changes cannot be categorized in any uniform manner.

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