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A memory model of presymbolic unconscious mentation

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dc.contributor.advisor Van Deventer, Vasi, 1952-
dc.contributor.author Lockhart, Ian Andrew
dc.date.accessioned 2015-01-23T04:24:58Z
dc.date.available 2015-01-23T04:24:58Z
dc.date.issued 1999-11
dc.identifier.citation Lockhart, Ian Andrew (1999) A memory model of presymbolic unconscious mentation, University of South Africa, Pretoria, <http://hdl.handle.net/10500/17225> en
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10500/17225
dc.description.abstract The biological energy concepts used by Freud to account for unconscious mental processes in psychoanalysis are discredited by modem biological findings. As a result, different psychoanalytic schools developed new foundational theories in order to verify unconscious mentation. The present study argues that these theories are unsuccessful for two main reasons. Firstly, replacing Freud's drive energy theory with other equally hypothetical foundational constructs does not solve the problem of finding proof for the existence of unconscious mentation. Secondly, the clinical psychoanalytic definition of unconscious mentation as imaginary, internally generated processes, autonomous from the external world is misguided. External sensory data may play a formative role in producing unconscious mentation. In particular, neurobiological findings on sensory data encoding and storage in human infants may throw light on the nature of unconscious processes. The present study therefore compares ideas derived from Lacanian psychoanalysis with neuropsychological memory and infant research findings to ascertain whether unconscious mentation is linked to the memory encoding of sensory data in infants. This analysis is in tum contrasted with a more contemporary psychoanalytic synthesis of findings on infant memory and unconscious mentation (Lichtenberg, 1989, Lichtenberg, Lachmann, and Fosshage, 1992). The latter theory identifies connections between unconscious mentation and the encoding of sensory memories in infancy, but does not connect the episodic and procedural memory constructs used in this account to specific neurolo·gical mechanisms in the brain. The present study's original contributions therefore involve firstly connecting the development of aversive episodic and procedural memories to neurological mechanisms in the brain during the period between birth and 28 months of age. Secondly, this memory model suggests that the storage of aversive memories in infancy has lasting unconscious motivational significance for subjects. Presymbolic memories may unconsciously manipulate conscious attention and memory retrieval in verbal subjects, inviting comparison with the psychoanalytic concept of dynamic unconscious mentation. Thirdly, the presymbolic memory model contributes towards a novel understanding of false memories of childhood sex abuse, and the dissociation of real traumatic memories that occur in many cases of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. en
dc.format.extent 1 online resource (174 pages)
dc.language.iso en en
dc.subject.ddc 153.12
dc.subject.lcsh Psychoanalysis en
dc.subject.lcsh Neuropsychology en
dc.subject.lcsh Dissociation en
dc.subject.lcsh Post Traumatic Stress Disorder en
dc.subject.lcsh Lacan, Jacques, 1901- en
dc.subject.lcsh Freud, Sigmund, 1856-1939 en
dc.subject.lcsh Memory en
dc.subject.lcsh Sensory perception en
dc.subject.lcsh Neuropsychological tests en
dc.title A memory model of presymbolic unconscious mentation en
dc.type Thesis
dc.description.department Psychology
dc.description.degree D.Litt. et Phil. (Psychology)


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