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date: 29 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Core concepts of psychoanalysis admit integration with recent work in neuroscience and developmental psychology. Karl Friston’s free energy neuroscience embodies analogues of Freud’s primary and secondary processes, and despite conceptual differences assigns the same causal role as Freud to the minimization of free energy. This supports parallel psychoanalytic and neuroscientific accounts of development, dreams, and symptoms, with the latter expressible as a complexity theory of dreaming and mental disorder. Overall the generative model that performs predictive processing discharges the functions—including the regulation of waking and dreaming consciousness—that Freud assigned the ego, while the prototype emotions systems delineated by Jaak Panksepp and other affective neuroscientists discharge those of the drives or id. Together with the emerging role of REM dreaming in memory consolidation, this provides neuroscientific underpinning for psychoanalytic conceptions of the role of memory, emotion, and phantasy in dreams, as illustrated by Freud’s dream of Irma’s Injection.

Keywords: predictive processing, free energy, ego, drives, complexity, conflict, dreaming, memory consolidation, phantasy

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