Lecture #2 – The Brain


            SIGMUND FREUD (1856 – 1939), perhaps one of the most controversial people within the field of psychology, was perhaps Right after all. Having been popularized for this vast and often complicated therapeutic technique of psychoanalysis, Freud also provided the world with the first developmental theory of personality. He wanted to invent a “science of the mind,” during a very conservative Victorian era whose tools were too blunt for the task. Being creative, Freud decided to drop the more “scientific style” of the times, and instead, requested that his patients lie on a couch, discuss whatsoever came to their mind, and carried on free-associating about early childhood experiences, dreams and fantasies. This technique yielded the revolutionary notion that under the surface of the human mind, was a dark and complexly concealed soap opera of sexuality, aggression, dark motives, self deception, fantasies, and dreams ripe with hidden meaning. This was the world of the unconscious. Freud’s main tool in therapy was the so called, talking cure. After all, these were not objective behaviors, but rather subjectively expressed thoughts about ones’ inner world – the unconsciousness. For much of the scientific community, this was considered very unscientific and speculative, thus lacking in empirical data. Psychology was on its way to becoming part of the sciences – so, who needed Freud?

            Interestingly enough, many researchers now reflect back on some of Freud’s early ideas as they look deeper into the physical structure of the brain. They have began to find support for some of his theories. There is now a journal, Neuropsychoanalysis, founded some three years ago. Antonio Damasio, head of the neurology department at the University of Iowa College of Medicine, noted that, “Freud’s insights on the nature of consciousness are consonant with the most advanced contemporary neuroscience views.” Could it be possible that Freud, the great theoretician that he was, almost cracked the egg with his hypothetical constructions around the “Id,” “Ego,” and “Super Ego.” Unfortunately, Freud’s time was lacking the modern brain technology tools at our disposal today.



            For a continued discussion of Freud, I refer you to the following cite:

 ProQuest [proquestmail@il.proquest.com] Order #1243643931