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J Am Psychoanal Assoc. 2006 Winter;54(1):17-46.

Identification: psychoanalytic and biological perspectives.

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Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research, USA.


In recent attempts to bring psychoanalysis into greater contact with other sciences, a number of works have explicated neural science concepts and phenomena--affect, memory, consciousness--for the psychoanalyst. These efforts have helped analysts build a more scientific foundation for their theory and practice. A related task remains--namely, to take psychoanalytic concepts and see how they relate to other sciences. The concept of identification has a long history in psychoanalytic theory. It is seen in parent-child interactions, in teaching and mentoring relationships, and in psychoanalysis and psychotherapy. Neuropsychology and evolutionary biology have explored the phylogenetic precursors of identification, while genetics and infant observation provide insights into individual processes of identification. Finally, neuroscience, particularly recent studies of mirror neurons, offers information about the biological mechanisms of imitation and the relationship of imitation to identification. Findings from these sciences are presented in an effort to further the psychoanalytic understanding of identification, especially its biological underpinnings.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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