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Mapping the Mind

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This reissued classic text is a comprehensive guide to the basics that shows simply how things work. Each chapter begins with a precis to relate the contents to the wider context and the book ends with a summary and overview of what has gone before. This book provides a scientific base that aims to assist those who wish to pursue interdisciplinary work in the complex and endlessly fascinating area of the mind and brain.

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12 Chapters

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1. Metaphor, Affect; and Arousal: How Interpretations Might Work

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Chapter 1 explores the power of words, particularly those words psychoanalysts call ‘interpretations/’ Growing up with impressions of the oratorical skill of people like Adlai Stevenson and Abraham Heschel, I became curious about what it is about certain forms of verbal expression that can excite the imagination. Man’s emotional aliveness (his “affectivity”), expressed at times through words, appears to work through the redirection of attention and the alteration of critical brain thresholds for memory, insight, and learning.

The clinical material presented in this chapter is largely self-explanatory. The observations and speculations regarding neurophysiology are, however, more complex. Perhaps it will help some readers, therefore, to focus on the central concept of [bridging] which is approached from multiple perspectives. Bridging is important because it involves making connections, for example, between past and present experience, between personal experience (affect) and logical categories (cognition), between observations (sensation) and reminiscence (memory), or between conflicting tendencies or drives. “Such is the stuff as dreams [and therapy] are made on,” and this chapter approaches such phenomena as bridging with the question: How does it work? The end result is a synthesis of the insights of Piaget, Freud, and contemporary neurophysiology (represented by Lassen, Ingvar, and Skinhoj), in which are described the decisive importance to the brain of the integration of information within the various primary sensory modalities: touch, vision, and hearing. One last point: this chapter contains a novel definition of metaphor, yet one that has never been formally challenged. I am defining metaphor as a verbal description that compares experience cross-modally, for example, that hearing (X) is like seeing (X) in a particular way.

 

2. Psychoanalysis and the Two Cerebral Hemispheres—with D. M. Vuckovich

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with D. M. Vuckovich

The previous chapter considered various kinds of bridging within the brain but left for Chapter 2 a fuller examination of the subject of the bridging of the two great cerebral hemispheres. Much has been written about how these two brains differ but less on how they actually collaborate. This chapter concentrates on the need for hemispheric collaboration and the significance of blocks between the hemispheres. Years ago I saw a film showing a patient with a severed corpus callosum, the central band that connects the hemispheres. The striking aspect of this patient was that when he was asked to use his hands to put together a puzzle, his hands (each under the control of a different hemisphere, which was not in communication with the other side) behaved as though they were the hands of two people who could not collaborate with each other at all! At one point the patient’s right hand suddenly pulled the puzzle away from the left hand and refused to turn it over.

The central idea of this chapter is that it is possible to take what psychoanalysts call defense and what neuroscientists call interhemispheric communication and relate these to each other in some interesting ways. My theory (testable with modern noninvasive techniques for brain visualization) is that what we call repression (forgetting, especially of highly personal experience) and disavowal (downplaying the emotional significance of experience) are left to right and right to left blocks, respectively, of the flow of information between the cerebral hemispheres. This theory occurred to me while I was listening to a lecture by Nathan Schlessinger on the subject of follow-up studies in psychoanalysis and was thinking of empirical evidence that an emotional conflict is something that is resolved in psychoanalysis through a process in which competing tendencies or impulses become more rapidly cycled and resolved (rather than demolished). I was also recalling an article I had read in a technical journal about meandering rivers, namely, that rivers in the northern hemisphere erode at the bottom especially on the right side (meaning to the right of the direction of flow) whereas the reverse is true for rivers in the southern hemisphere (a phenomenon that Einstein had explained to the Prussian Academy in 1926). From alternating between the two meanings of “hemisphere” (Northern vs. Southern, and right versus left hemisphere of the brain), I considered the idea that conflicts might be dealt with by controlling the cycling of information between the cerebral hemispheres, I then shared this information with my collaborator, D. M. Vuckovich, who immediately recognized the utility of such a theory for explaining something in the neurological literature that had never been satisfactorily explained—namely, certain cases that are exceptions to the rule of Pitres (as reported by Minkowski), which describes how multilingual patients with strokes recover language (they usually recover first the language they were using at the time of the stroke). Thus the conception of Chapter 2 began with some interesting applications of a core theory to two quite different bodies of data. This sort of experience—that is, when a theory seems correct from two or more different simultaneously applied perspectives—has always made me more confident of the results. Of course, the experienced reader will appreciate that this is exactly the advantage of interdisciplinary research.

 

3. Brain Plasticity, Learning, and Psychoanalysis: Some Mechanisms of Integration and Coordination Within the Central Nervous System— with D. M. Vuckovich

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with D. M. Vuckovich

The previous chapter ends where this begins, with the question of how the cerebral hemispheres are coordinated (bridged) in their activities, A second major question about the nature of learning is also pursued. These subjects are considered important because therapeutic process appears to unlock our potential for learning, and learning seems to involve some process in which the various learning subsystems of the brain are able to exchange data. Whether one is employing a theory of three brain subdivisions (as MacLean’s Triune Brain Theory does), two major subdivisions (as in a hemispheric model), or any number of major subsystems, one must still solve this problem of coordination between parts. The neuroscience center of this chapter is the work of the Japanese physiologist Itoh on the cerebellum, that part of the brain which oversees important aspects of’neural control. “Itoh’s work makes clear how cerebellar-aided decisions may be made that match problems a person faces with brain structure suited for adaptive decision making (problem solving). Simply stated, there is evidence that the cere-bellum plays a major role in learning. There is also evidence of the construction of a cerebellar-based model of selfin-the-world the manipulation of which allows thinking without touching (or mouthing) and the structure of which provides a core sense of self To appreciate more fully what learning is, a significant part of the chapter is devoted to the subject of brain plasticity, a word that describes the ability of the brain to capture experience. This subject is possibly too complex for the short presentation in this chapter, but I believe a review of the details gives some indication of the brain’s hierarchical organization (a subject of several later chapters). One last note: To check my theory out, I personally consulted with ltohf reviewed this chapter with him, and assured myself that I have properly understood Itoh’s work and its implications regarding learning. In addition, some recent work ofltoh seems to focus more on my interest and perspective, namely, the general issue of the relationship between cerebellar neural control and psychological issues of adaptation. Clearly, the communication between psychoanalysis and neuroscience assists both fields.

 

4. The Prefrontal Cortex and Neural Control: The Brain’s Systems for Judgment, Insight, and Selective Attention

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Freud (1900) relates the famous dream of Maury, lying ill in his bed, with his mother nearby. He is surrounded by scenes of murder from the Reign of Terror; including Robespierre’s tribunal with Marat, Fouquier-Tinville, and others, Maury is questioned, condemned, and led to the place of execution, where he is bound and guillotined. He awakens from his dream with a pain in his neck and the feeling that, his head is separated from his body. What happened during his sleep was that in reality, the top of his bed had fallen on his neck. What happened in Maury’s unconscious is less certain, but according to Freud (1900, pp. 26-27, 497), Maury has made use of both current sensory input and unconscious dream thoughts. The latter is seen in such evidence as the choice of setting, which shows the dreamer’s ambitions in having surrounded himself with famous figures from the French Revolution, and “secondary elaboration/’ indicating that this kind of fantasy was familiar to Maury, partly explaining how the large quantity of detail becomes compressed into Maury’s dream imagery within the short space of time allotted after the bed falls on his neck. Clearly, even allowing for some prepackaging of the dream content, the brain is capable of the extremely rapid integration of unconscious wishes and external (sensory) realities within complex scenarios.

 

5. The Hierarchical Developmental Model: Neural Control, Natural Language, and Recurrent Organization of the Brain

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Chapter 5 formally introduces the reader to the developmental hierarchical model of Gedo and Goldberg (as recently modified by Gedo), as well as to Gedo’s theorizing on the subject of development. I discuss some details and implications of Gedo and Goldberg’s model throughout this book. This chapter focuses primarily on the structural similarities between the hierarchical model and the prefrontal cortege in unifying and goal-directing activities. Picking up on insights expressed in Chapter 4 on possible relationships between the language of “brain” and of “mind,” the present chapter emphasizes the organizing function of formal native language exposure.

Because of the complexity ofsuch relationships, Chapters 7 and 11 also deal with aspects of language, as do many other sections of this book. As far as language functions are concerned, the brain is organized at various levels: (1) the level of formal or native language; (Z) the level of cognition (difficult or impossible to distinguish formally from language activity per se), which might be considered to provide a “software” or programming (language) function; and (3) at a very basic operating system level the hardware or “machine language” of the brain. None of these levels of activity is thoroughly understood. What is exciting to me is how the work of Gedo, a neuroscien-tifically informed psychoanalyst, and the work of many neuroscientists (often informed, but relatively less interested in psychological issues) dovetail with each other.

 

6. Integrating Sleep and Dream Research

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The late Max Stern wrote an important book. Repetition and Trauma: Toward a Teleonomic Theory of Psychoanalysis, and I was highly privileged to write the introduction. Stern was interested in people and in what made them tick. His special area of interest, the focus of his book, was in bridging neuroscientific and psychoanalytic insights regarding the effects of traumatic experience. Henry Krystals work in the area of trauma frequently builds on insights gained by Stern over years of carefully psychoanalyzing patients.

It is of great interest to me that some of Stern’s conclusions regarding the effects of traumatic states, and those of other schools of psychoanalysis (for example, conclusions of self psychologists regarding so-called arrests in development), dovetail neatly both with Freud’s insights, as summarized in “Beyond the Pleasure Principle” (1920), and with pioneering research on sleep and dreams. The chapter that follows attempts to survey Stern’s work on psychological trauma and then to carry it forward in a synthetic view of sleep and dreams. Although my theory of REM/nonREM sleep remains to be proven or disproven, it seems consistent with a large body of evidence within these two domains.

 

7. Psychoanalysis, Nonverbal Communication, and the Integration of Touch (Contiguity), Vision (Similarity), and Hearing (Sonority)

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It is easy to fall into the trap of assuming that language means verbalization. We know that there are languages that do not rely on verbalization at all, such as the sign language of the deaf but we tend to disavow the significance of their existence and also of the many modes of communicating that involve gesture, facial expression, posture, dress, and so forth. BellugVs research at the Salk Institute has shown that language is exceedingly complex and that it is most certainly more than verbalization. Verbalization is important for the system of syntactical language, but this is merely one language mode among many.

What then is language if it is not strictly words or signs? The honest answer is that we really do not know yet. However, many scientists within a number of disciplines have been working on the problem. In a sense, language represents a cluster or family of related communicative capabilities. Chapter 7 explores, classifies, and illustrates some of these possibilities. There are several points to be made: (1) man’s communicative systems seem roughly divided between those that are verbal and those that are nonverbal; (Z) the nonverbal communicative modes seem to be inborn, function from birth or shortly thereafter, and serve as a language foundation on which the syntactical system is later superimposed; (3) exposure to syntactical language decisively reorganizes the brain in the direction of allowing for abstracting ability (which I believes is the basis for advanced psychological development, syntactical language fluency, and various cultural achievements); and (4) the neurophysiological basis for man’s capacity for what Daniel Stern calls “a modal perception” (and I call crossed modal integration) remains to be discovered (although various speculations are made in this chapter and elsewhere in this book as to what this sensory integration process may consist of). Many psychopathological conditions probably result from disturbances in the sensory integration system.

 

8. The Transference Phenomenon: Possible Origin and Mechanisms

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If one had to decide what constitutes Freud’s major discoveries, without which there would be no psychoanalysis, one would mention the following: (1) the dynamic unconscious, (2) the related concepts of psychological defense and intrapsychic conflict, (3) the Oedipus complex, (4) the method for interpreting dreams and paraprajces, and (5) the phenomenon of transference. This book has considered novel aspects of each of these basic insights. Chapters 1, 4, 5, 7, and 12 consider the out-of-awareness organizational-motivational systems of the brain, which will eventually be sufficiently known so that a clear correspondence can be created with Freud’s system unconscious. Chapter 2 specifically sets out to define one kind of psychological defense in terms of neurophysiological mechanisms (in this case, communication blocks between the two cerebral hemispheres). The Oedipus complex is considered in chapters 2 and 3 from the novel perspective that this period (from age three and one-half to five) also coincides with the myelinization process that ultimately bridges the two hemispheres into one overarching system. It may not be an accident that this watershed psychological period occurs at the time of major functional evolution in terms of a bihemispheric collaborative system. Dream and sleep research are discussed in detail in chapter 6 in an attempt to correlate these two areas with an information-processing theory of REM/nonREM sleep. And the present chapter, as well as chapter 9, attempts to explicate aspects of transference.

 

9. Management of the Transference: A Clinical Case Study

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Case studies can easily become either difficult to follow or altogether unconvincing when used as evidence. Therefore, in the following case material I concentrate on describing the course of a particular psychoanalysis and not on proving the argument stated in chapter 7 on nonverbal communication. In this manner the reader can better decide if my claim that nonverbal communication is vital to the practice of psychoanalysis seems supported.

After writing chapters 7 and 9, I discovered in a file of personal correspondence a letter dated 9/13/S5 and a brief draft of a scientific paper that had come from a deceased friend and colleague on the subject of ‘facilitation of the analytic process by receptivity to the prosodic components of the analysand’s speech/’ I had forgotten about this material but its contents are worth quoting. My cryptamnesia seems pardonable, based on the need to forget the painful loss of my friend. Dr. David A. Brueckner’s opening comments are as follows;

Empathy with the analysand’s affective state is generally agreed to be important in psychoanalysis, but when the analysand lies on the couch the analyst’s view of his facial expressions and other gestures (as carriers of affect) becomes somewhat limited. However, by contrast, the prosodic or musical component of his voice remains available; therefore, one can argue that a careful or refined receptivity on the part of the analyst to the prosodic element of the anatysand’s voice will be helpful in deepening the analytic process.

 

10. Psychological Development and the Changing Organization of the Brain

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A description of the optimal psychoanalytic model should contain sufficient information to explain how the model itself came into being, since the model is of the mind, an “organ” that is in many ways selfreplicating. The brain is the kind of selfreplicating “machine” that John von Neumann dreamed about and wrote mathematical descriptions of But few of our developmental models of mind map out the manner in which new mental structure function comes into being and becomes assimilated into the model itself Rather, even the best merely describe the series of steps that a particular type of development traverses. Two shifts within science may result in our scientific, psychoanalytic world changing substantially over the next several decades. First, the high-speed digital computer has begun to extend into so-called supercomputer realms, where computers can be used to model behavior of systems of ultracomplexity: the weather, the flow of heat within the mantel of the earth, and the complex activity within the central nervous system (note well, the metabolic activity within the brain is thinking). Second, we have the combined insights of a large number of sources, which seem themselves to be growing more or less exponentially: economics (decision-making theory), artificial intelligence, learning disabilities science, neuropsychology, neuropsychiatry, psycholinguistics, neurolinguistics, anthropology, archaeology, linguistics-semiotics, psychiatry, psychoanalysis, social work, communications science, human engineering, robotics, anatomy, physiology, chemistry, neuropsychopharmacology, neuroendocrinology, genetics, neural net research, dream and sleep research, molecular biology, neuroimmunology, theoretical physics (which is getting closer to a “theory of everything”), and ethology. This list is of course partial; the space of this entire book would barely contain a complete list of all such disciplines! In the nejct 20 years all knowledge relating to the human brain will be programmable into the most sophisticated computer models man has ever seen, which will then be well on their way to learning how to digest, analyze, and comprehend new patterns, and the results will begin to document and validate the small number of remaining viable psychological theories of the brain and demolish those that are outmoded.

 

11. Some Notes on the Evolution of Language

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One may argue that the evolution of language is of only marginal interest or relevance to psychoanalysis. And perhaps this is correct But I believe that psychoanalytic theory, especially regarding psychological development, needs to take into account the emergence of language; that is, the theory must not conflict with what is known to be true about language and its evolution. The real problem is that we are very uncertain what language is in terms of brain functional systems. For example, many people who are deaf use AMESLAN, a syntactical sign language that involves visuomotor or spatial perceptual skill (presumably right-hemispheric, since the right hemisphere is where such skills are usually concentrated). Yet when deaf people suffer strokes of the left hemisphere (the usual hemisphere for syntactical language in hearing people), they develop aphasia or language disturbances, just as do hearing people! This is especially interesting since it means that the left hemisphere is really a syntactical language hemisphere (for both hearing and deaf people, even though the languages of these two groups seem to be based on different principles) and that visuospatial functions used for sign language and those used for other purposes are different brain modules with different locations within the brain. Obviously there is a need for further research to delineate the principles upon which languages are based.

 

12. Overview

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The title Mapping the Mind was chosen because the idea of mapping connotes the optimal activity for a stage of exploration in a field with relatively few landmarks. Such is the state of interdisciplinary research correlating mind and brain. It has been important for the many scientists involved to carefully delineate meaningful psychological or functional units and their possible neurophysiological correlates so as to guide our thinking and future research intelligently. Science grows by incremental steps in which old and new theories are compared by experimentation, the results communicated to colleagues, and periodic shifts made in paradigms when enough new evidence is accumulated to seriously question older theories.

I hope that in this book I have accurately conveyed the pioneering studies of the individuals mentioned, along with my personal sense of excitement about man’s voyage into the terra incognita of the human brain. Our brains are as novel a territory to us as the discovery of the New World was to the citizens of late 15th-and early 16th-century Europe. The explorer Amerigo Vespucci wrote in 1503 to Lorenzo de’Medici about a “new world” (S. Schwartz, 1980, p. 14). Similarly, the current generation of research in psychoanalysis and neuroscience is creating a radical opportunity for mankind to improve its own conditions on the basis of the possibility of a united knowledge of mind and brain. Until we have such a unified theory, however, we will need the assistance of maps to help us navigate through the complex interdisciplinary perspectives involved. Thus, the purpose of this book: to conceptualize and map out the general dimensions of mind and brain, as they are currently available, but at a level of specificity and detail sufficient to be maximally useful to scholars and clinicians alike.

 

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