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(1959). Meetings of the New York Psychoanalytic Society. Psychoanal Q., 28:141.

(1959). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 28:141

Meetings of the New York Psychoanalytic Society

June 10, 1958. THE EGO AND THE ID IN ANXIETY. Max Schur, M.D.

This paper is a continuation of two previous papers on anxiety in which the author developed the thesis that the two kinds of anxiety postulated by Freud, actual and signal, could be placed at either end of a complementary series, the position in the series being determined by the degree of ego regression. The greater the regression, the more the ego treats potential danger as actual danger and replaces the signal with actual anxiety. The series also has a genetic meaning in that actual anxiety originates as a response to the traumatic situation of birth, while signal anxiety is a later reaction of the ego to the potential danger of object loss. In the present paper, Dr. Schur amended the above formulation in keeping with recent research, especially in the fields of ethology and of perception. The ethologists, particularly Lorenz, describe two basic kinds of behavior: innate, instinctual behavior, and learned, plastic behavior interlocking in varying degrees as one ascends the evolutionary scale. Dr. Schur feels the id and the ego respectively can be shown in their functioning to exhibit rather close resemblance to these two types of behavior. In support of this view—apparent where the ego was concerned but needing demonstration with respect to the id—he quoted Freud as attributing to the id both primitive perceptive and primitive adaptive capacities. In further support is Dr. Charles Fisher's research in perception, which demonstrates experimentally that the human subject unconsciously perceives and responds adaptively at a primary process level.

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