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12. Overview

Levin, Fred M. Karnac Books ePub

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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CHAPTER TWO: Sleep and dreaming, Part 2: The importance of the SEEKING system for dream-related learning and the complex contributions to dreaming of memory mechanisms, transcription factors, sleep activation events, reentrant architecture, the anterior c

Levin, Fred M. Karnac Books ePub

Fred M. Levin, Colwyn Trevarthen, Tiziano Colibazzi, Juhani lhanus, Vesa Talvitie, Jean K. Carney, andjaak Panksepp1

“I like the talky talky happy talk/Talk about things you like to do/ You got to have a dream/ If you don't have a dream/ How you gonna have a dream come true?”

Rogers and Hammerstein (South Pacific)

Précis: In Chapter One we make use of the new model of dreaming as active, psychologically meaningful, and adaptive: a unique blend of mentation that integrates affective wishes and fears with cognitive concerns, while at the same time creating what we call “deferred action plans”. These plans seem born in dreams where they help simulate what has been identified as potentially dangerous, and are activated later in waking life where they help us explore and reduce the dangers noted.

In Chapter Two we start with the SEEKING system (Panskepp, 1998) and elaborate its relevance for the study of dreaming, especially the effect of the dopamine related neural systems on the creation of predictive error signals, and the assignment of incentive salience (a state of both wanting something, and figuring out at the same time how best to get it) (Hyman, 2005). Along the way we attempt to integrate the contributions to dreaming of memory mechanisms, transcription factors, sleep activation events, reentrant architecture, and a variety of neuroanatomical subsystems and functions. Along with the VMFL and PTOCJ with their emerging importance for dreaming (see Chapter One), the other brain subsystems “of interest” as dream contributors include the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), the periaqueductal gray (PAG), the centromedian nucleus of the thalamus (CNT), the cerebellum (CB), hypothalamus (HT), various basal ganglia and upper brainstem structures, and inferotemporal cortex (ITC) (supramarginal gyrus) (Yu, 2001). The amygdala (A) and hippocampus (H) are also important for processing dangerous stimuli perceived in the environment, and for processing or encoding the contextual features of emotional experience (Brendel et al. 2004). For example, the CB is critical for the coordination of thoughts and also actions, as well the prediction of events and assignments of their emotional meanings based upon need assessments (the research of Masao Ito, cited in Levin, 1991, 2003), while the ITC is important for connecting motivational systems and the visual cortex, including the tracking of meaningful objects in space. Because of space limitations, in Chapter Two we concentrate primarily on the ACC and PAG, and leave for later a more detailed consideration of the other brain systems noted.

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CHAPTER SEVEN: Introduction to the cerebellum (CB): Ito Masao’s controllerregulator model of the brain, and some implications for psychodynamic psychiatry and psychoanalysis (including how we understand the conscious/unconscious distinction, and the role

Levin, Fred M. Karnac Books ePub

Fred M. Levin

Précis: This chapter reviews some research on the CB and then weaves it into our conceptualization of what the CB might be doing psycho-dynam-ically. What is difficult in this is how best to tie together the many details of CB activity that we have been touching upon throughout this book, and how to help the reader best understand the reasoning behind our theorizing. We hope that we have already established a sufficient basis, however, in our earlier writings, and in the earlier chapters of this book, to make our case that the CB plays a number of critical roles in mental life. We are fully aware, however, that only future experimentation can determine howcorrect we are regarding to the role of the CB in mind/brain. Interdisciplinary insights aim to improve our neuroscientific explanations of Freud's psychodynamic ideas about consciousness, our core self and our deep unconscious motivations. It seems that under particular circumstances of modeling other brain systems, the CB essentially connects the explicit and the implicit memory systems. This connectedness of the two great memory systems (explicit and implicit), would thus be a product of the CB, to some significant degree. Of course, there may well be other connections between the explicit and implicit systems. In the earlier model of Ito dealing with the controller-regulator function of the brain, Ito assumed four regulators: (1) the CB, (2) basal ganglia, (3) limbic system, and (4) sleep centers. These regulatory centers are seen as accounting for the four different aspects of the ucs mind, as follows: (1) the CB provides internal models for other controllers; (2) basal ganglia provide selection and stabilization; (3) the limbic system provides the emotional input, and the SEEKING system attends to our drive states; and (4) sleep centers provide for the switching on and off of wakefulness and the different forms of sleep, which we have covered in the first two chapters in this book, and of course, during sleep, other centers produce dreaming. We are asserting that the CB helps all five controllers (for reflexes, compound movements, innate behavior, sensori-motor functions, and association-cortical functioning). Innate behavior is an expression of psychobiological emotional systems, and in this sense, the CB is related to the behavioral expression of emotion. However, (and this is an important caveat) although we suspect that the CB provides an important internal model for emotion, since we do not yet possess complete knowledge of all the systems that pertain to emotion, therefore, we believe it makes sense to be careful in assessing how exactly to weigh this particular CB contribution to the emotion and cognitive systems.

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CHAPTER ELEVEN: The paradigm of bifurcation: Priel and Schreiber on chaos theory

Levin, Fred M. Karnac Books ePub

Fred Levin

As noted in Chapter Five, it is possible to significantly expand our understanding of subjects such as the psychoanalytic transference if one considers it from both analytic and extrapsychoanalytic perspectives. Priel and Schreiber’s work was mentioned, but a discussion of chaos theory was deferred until now. Chapters Eleven and Twelve elaborate the exciting possibilities that derive from bridging psychoanalysis and chaos theory.

Priel and Schreiber’s (1994) article is a good place to begin because their concise article invites one to consider several complex psychological variables in relation to non-linear dynamics (catastrophe theory, chaos theory, bifurcation theory), a branch of mathematics that covers phenomena that appear random but are actually deterministic. When the equations which describe behavior can be discovered, the behavior can be modeled. This kind of modeling “… has been made possible only recently, thanks to the high computational power of today’s computers” (Ekeberg, 1995).

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6. Integrating Sleep and Dream Research

Levin, Fred M. Karnac Books ePub

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.

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