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Iceberg
The tip of the iceberg

What's next?

As we come to the end of this course, I hope that you have a better sense of what a mind is, how it works and what it is for. I’ve aimed to facilitate this by taking what Humanities disciplines like philosophy and psychoanalysis have to offer and aligning it with insights from the neurosciences, as I believe this is how we can best understand what a mind is. I call this interdisciplinary approach neuropsychoanalysis. It’s about trying to understand how the business of being a person - the self - relates to what we know about the physiology and anatomy of the brain.

While psychoanalysis offers tremendous insights into unconscious thoughts, feelings and emotions, neuroscience offers us an opportunity to test and develop some of these ideas scientifically. A neuropsychoanalytic approach allows for a combination of subjective reporting and objective measurement. If you are a practitioner in any discipline involving the mind, I hope I have convinced you that this approach holds great scope for understanding and treating mental disorders.

If you are interested in being part of this work or want to know more, please visit the website of The Neuropsychoanalysis Association (NPSA), which promotes inter-disciplinary work between the fields of psychoanalysis and neuroscience.

For those who might have missed this earlier in the course, here is the reading list that I recommend for those who would like to look further at some of the concepts and material we have covered during the last few weeks:

  • To assist in understanding neuroscienctific concepts and articles:

Solms, M., & Turnbull, O. (2002). The Brain and the Inner World. Other Press (NY): Karnac: London

  • Introductory text to neuroscience, neuroanatomy, clinical neuropsychology and related fields:

Blumenfeld, H. (2010). Neuroanatomy Through Clinical Cases. U.S.A.: Sinauer Associates Inc.

Mesulam, M.M. (2000). Principles of Behavioral and Cognitive Neurology (2nd ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.

Feinberg, T.E., & Farah, M.J. (2003). Behavioral Neurology and Neuropsychology (2nd ed). New York: McGraw-Hill.

Coetzer, R. & Balchin, R. (2014). Working with Brain Injury: A Primer for Psychologists working in under-resourced settings. Psychology Press: Sussex

  • To assist in understanding how neuroscience and psychoanalysis interact:

Solms, M. (2015). The Feeling Brain. Karnac: London

Fotopoulou, A. (2012). The history and progress of neuropsychoanalysis. In: A. Fotopoulou, D. Pfaff, & M.A. Conway (Eds.), From the couch to the lab: Trends in psychodynamic neuroscience (pp. 12-24). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press

Schwartz, C. (2015). In the Mind Fields: Exploring the New Science of Neuropsychoanalysis. New York: Pantheon Books.

Solms, M., & Turnbull, O.H. (2011). What Is Neuropsychoanalysis? Neuropsychoanalysis, 13, 133-145.

  • Teaching neuroscience to psychoanalysts:

Panksepp, J., & Biven, L. (2012). The Archaeology of Mind. Norton (NY)

  • Representative references on brainstem basis of consciousness and affective consciousness, which in turn cite further experimental literature:

Panksepp, J. (1998). Affective Neuroscience. New York: Oxford University Press.

Shewmon, D., Holmse, D., & Byrne, P. (1999). Consciousness in congenitally decorticate children: Developmental vegetative state as a self-fulfilling prophecy. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, 41: 364–374.

Parvizi, J. & Damasio, A.R. (2003). Neuroanatomical correlates of brainstem coma. Brain, 126, 1524–1536.

Merker, B. (2007). Consciousness without a cerebral cortex: A challenge for neuroscience and medicine. Behavioral & Brain Sciences, 30: 63–134.

Damasio, A. (2010). Self Comes to Mind. New York: Pantheon.

Damasio, A., Damasio, H. & Tranel, D. (2012). Persistence of feeling and sentience after bilateral damage of the insula. Cerebral Cortex, 23 (4): 833–846.

Solms, M. & Panksepp, J. (2012). The id knows more than the ego admits: Neuropsychoanalytic and primal consciousness perspectives on the interface between affective and cognitive neuroscience. Brain Sciences, 2, 147-175.

Solms, M. (2014). A neuropsychoanalytical approach to the hard problem of consciousness. Journal of Integrative Neuroscience, 13 (2), 173-185.

Further courses and reading material can be found on The Neuropsychoanalysis Association website under the VIDEOS and EDUCATION tabs.

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This article is from the free online course:

What Is a Mind?

University of Cape Town

Course highlights Get a taste of this course before you join:

  • Introduction to What is a Mind?
    Introduction to What is a Mind?
    video

    What is a Mind? In this video, Mark Solms explains what led him to dedicate his life's work to answering complex questions about the mind.

  • What are you if not your mind?
    What are you if not your mind?
    video

    The mind can only be studied using a multidisciplinary approach. In this video, Mark Solms explains what he means Neuropsychoanalysis.