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Federico, P. (1972). An Information-Processing Model of Freud's Concept of Cathexis. Psychoanal. Rev., 59(1):115-127.

(1972). Psychoanalytic Review, 59(1):115-127

An Information-Processing Model of Freud's Concept of Cathexis

Pat-Anthony Federico, Ph.D.

Freud's psychoanalytic theory contains four distinct models: the reflex-arc model, the entropy model, the Darwinian model, and the Jacksonian model.3 Freud utilized those models which were prevalent in the more important areas of learning in his lifetime. The reflex-arc model and the Jacksonian model of a neural integration hierarchy were powerful explanatory constructs for the physiologist and the neurologist. The notion of entropy enabled the physicist to account for many of the thermodynamic phenomena. And naturally, the Darwinian model gave a new perspective to the biologist and the paleontologist.

Since Freud adopted the latest models when applicable, it seemed highly probable to this writer that if an information processing model were readily available to him, he would have employed it in an explanatory capacity. The task this writer set before himself was one of incorporating an information processing model with Freud's notion of cathexis. Taking Rapaport's suggestion that a full description of any psychological phenomenon must include its dynamic, topographic and economic descriptions, this writer attempted to include these various descriptive levels of analysis in a model of cathexis. As a preface to the model, a brief review of some of the relevant literature dealing with cathexis will be presented.

Cathexis: A Summation of Some of the Literature

Colby1 discussed cathexis within a dynamic framework.

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