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Erreich, A. (1994). Primary and Secondary Process Mentation: Their Role in Mental Organization. Psychoanal. Contemp. Thought, 17(3):387-406.

(1994). Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Thought, 17(3):387-406

Primary and Secondary Process Mentation: Their Role in Mental Organization

Anne Erreich, Ph.D.

This paper will examine the conceptual status of primary and secondary process mentation in relation to other mental faculties and mental organization in general. With regard to primary process mentation, it will be argued that there appear to be significant differences between primary process mentation and linguistic competence such that these represent two distinct types of mental faculties; furthermore, this distinction may be relevant to the difficulty of providing an adequate account of primary process mentation.

With regard to secondary process mentation, it will be argued that “secondary process,” as it has traditionally been conceptualized, is a vacuous notion which should probably be deleted from the psychoanalytic lexicon.

The issues raised in this paper demonstrate the complex interaction between problems in developmental psychology, cognitive

psychology, and psychoanalysis, and the potential for advances in these disciplines from collaborative work.

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