Author Topic: Neuro-psychoanalysis  (Read 4204 times)

Sealchan

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Neuro-psychoanalysis
« on: May 20, 2011, 02:29:26 PM »

Sealchan

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Re: Neuro-psychoanalysis
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2011, 02:36:32 PM »

Matt Koeske

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Re: Neuro-psychoanalysis
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2011, 02:04:16 PM »
Thanks, Sealchan!

This is a significant (but not majority) movement in psychoanalysis led primarily by psychoanalyst and neuroscientist Mark Solms (the interviewee in the video).  Some of the neuro-psychoanalytic enters into Jungianism via its developmentalist/psychoanalytic branch.

I know relatively little about it, but although I am in favor of paying close attention to the research going on in neuroscience, Solms has often been criticized for being "Freudocentric" and trying to verify Freud's intuitive ideas using cutting edge neuroscientific research.  I largely agree with this criticism and worry that Solms can become clouded by his quest to demonstrate that "Freud was right/scientific".  I'm generally opposed to such depth psychology quests (in both Jungianism and psychoanalysis) to verify intuitive theories of Jung or Freud using a selection of cutting edge neuroscientific research.  I think a better way to approach such intuitive theories is through the method of falsification.  See also Karl Popper.

Intuitive and speculative theories can become so vague that selective use of experimental findings from the "hard sciences" can at times be conformed and manipulated so as to seemingly support the speculations.  But the pursuit of truth (as in science) is not well served by always trying by hook or by crook to prove/verify a speculation (see also verificationism).  Intuitive hypotheses should be constantly reworked as relevant data suggest.  That is, in my opinion, being "right" and having the perfect, water-tight theory of everything is a lot to ask of any scientific theory.  That is a very pie in the sky goal for science.  Mostly science proceeds by gradually increasing knowledge through the collection and systematic testing of data.  Searching for the One Great Truth can often be a recipe for self-delusion.

This is not to say that Solms' line of inquiry is not useful or that the field is irrelevant.  It IS relevant (to depth psychology).  And Solms may be correct about a number of things.  But his desire to uphold Freudian theory before and above fairly evaluating all the neuroscientific data can lead to a higher than necessary margin of error in his hypotheses.

Here is an article from the Wikipedia page you linked that is critical of Solms: "Freud Returns?"

Also, scientific dream researcher, Bill Domhoff, has some criticisms of Solm's approach to dreams: "Refocusing the Neurocognitive Approach to Dreams: A Critique of the Hobson Versus Solms Debate".  This articles compares and contrasts Solms with his arch-critic, J. Allan Hobson.

I recommend to anyone (and I think you especially, Sealchan will enjoy poking around at) Domhoff's dream research website:http://psych.ucsc.edu/dreams/.  It's a little clunky to navigate, and I recommend beginning on the lower right section of the home page with the links under "Contents of the site".

Also, I highly recommend the excellent, interesting, and easy to read primer on contemporary dream research, The Mind at Night: The New Science of How and Why We Dream by Andrea Rock.

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Matt Koeske

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Re: Neuro-psychoanalysis
« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2011, 02:42:38 PM »
See also "Why did empirical dream researchers reject Freud? A critique of historical claims by Mark Solms" by Bill Domhoff.

And this other reaction to Solms' Scientific American article in Butterflies and Wheels: by Peter J. Swales
You can always come back, but you can’t come back all the way.

   [Bob Dylan,"Mississippi]