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The following is the new update page of It is always nice to write about interesting events. One such event is the meeting held in early December 2001 in Vienna, under the auspices of the University of Vienna Department of Philosophy and the Austrian Academy of Sciences, beautifully planned and chaired by Dr. Patrizia Giampieri-Deutsch. For now, just a thumbnail summary. Later the proceedings will be published by Dr. Giampieri-Deutsch in English and in German translation. There were many important papers presented; what follows represents just a sample.************************************************************************Dr. John Clarkin from Columbia University in New York presented upon his pioneering work, with Dr. Otto Kernberg on the Borderline Syndrome (BS). Dr. Clarkin and Dr. Kernberg have also written up their research in a recent textbook published in Germany, and their long-term follow-up studies on BS are most interesting, especially their understanding of the interaction between the patients and their human environments. It seems some environments are ill prepared for such BS individuals, and greatly complicate their development, whereas other environments include individual caretakers who, in the process of attending to their charges are nevertheless themselves traumatized by the borderline patient's unusual developmental needs. Clarkin et. al. are careful not to assume that parents or other caretakers are generative of this syndrome; however, there are clearly circumstances where the parents and others are contributory. ************************************************************************* Dr. Fred Levin from Northwestern University presented on the subject of attention deficit disorder (ADD), attempting to delineate the nature of the illness in basic neurophysiological, psychological, and neurochemical terms. Treatment considerations were deferred until another presentation this comming summer. It seems there is evidence that ADD can be inherited genetically (on chromosome 11), or it can be produced as well by injury to brain-stem structures due to heavy metal poisoning, and there is even new special evidence that nucleus accumbens injury can create an impulsive mind set that seems a critical feature of this illness. Those rats with nucleus accumbens injury preferentially will impulsively select an immediate reward that is not that important to them over a major reward for which they must wait briefly. Dr. Levin speculated on other neurophysiological mechanisms, for example, failure of the supervisory functions (described by Shallice in England). This supervisory system allows for cognitive intervention with a complex neural control system (over routine employment of a low-level system without refinements), thus providing the individual with the ability to refine judgements.************************************************************************* Dr. Linda Brakel of the University of Michigan presented ground-breaking work done on identifying what sems to underlie primary versus secondary process mentation. Using a tachistoscopic method wherein images are flashed for thousanths of a second, experimental subjects are shown three objects arranged in various ways. Sometimes objects are arranged in groups of threes, using similar shapes, sometimes with different shapes but the same spatial orientation. Experimental subjects didn't know consciously what they had seen tachistoscopically. All subjects were then asked to pick supraliminally presented objects which were similar (in orientation, or in shape) to the originally subliminally presented objects. All subjects were obviously biased by what they had seen subliminally. Children reacted with a different pattern than adults however. Young children (around age 5) usually picked out the set of three objects which matched the subliminal set according to preservation of basic elements (their shapes, whatever their orientation). Older youngsters and adults, however, apparently have a bias towards picking matches on the basis of spatial orientation (independent of element shapes). The exception, is when people are stressed, in which case they revert to the young child pattern of matching based upon the preservation of basic form elements (rather than their spatial orientation to each other). These findings help us begin to appreciate that much more than we might imagine, certain basic perceptual sets determine our cognitive style (choices), and further suggests that certain distinctions Freud identified as primary versus secondary process seem to be an important distinction. Here the secondary process pattern relates to seeing similar spatial patterns (within the context of changes in individual form elements), whereas primary process takes the concrete position that whatever the spatial arrangements the most important things to compare are similar form elements. We are looking forward to the publication of the entire report of this meeting on Empirical Research Within Psychoanalysis and congratulate Dr. Patrizia Giampieri-Deutsch and her able staff for an outstanding meeting.




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