Entropy, Free Energy, and Symbolization: Free Association at the Intersection of Psychoanalysis and Neuroscience.

Written on:April 8, 2020
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Original source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32256426?dopt=Abstract

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Entropy, Free Energy, and Symbolization: Free Association at the Intersection of Psychoanalysis and Neuroscience.

Front Psychol. 2020;11:366

Authors: Rabeyron T, Massicotte C

Abstract
Both a method of therapy and an exploration of psychic reality, free association is a fundamental element of psychoanalytical practices that refers to the way a patient is asked to describe what comes spontaneously to mind in the therapeutic setting. This paper examines the role of free association from the point of view of psychoanalysis and neuroscience in order to improve our understanding of therapeutic effects induced by psychoanalytic therapies and psychoanalysis. In this regard, we first propose a global overview of the historical origins of the concept of free association in psychoanalysis and examine how Freud established its principles. Then, from Freud’s distinction between primary and secondary processes, we proceed to compare the psychoanalytic model with research originating from cognitive psychology and neuroscience. The notions of entropy and free energy appear particularly relevant at the intersection of these different domains. Finally, we propose the notion of symbolizing transmodality to describe certain specificities of symbolization processes within free association and we summarize the main functions of free association in psychoanalytic practices.

PMID: 32256426 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

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