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In 1915 Freud wrote that in considering “mental life from a biological point of view, an ‘instinct’ appears to us as a concept on the frontier between the mental and the somatic, as the psychical representative,of stimuli originating from within the organism and reaching the mind, as a measure of the demand made upon the mind for work in consequence of its connection with the body.’’ Arthur Valenstein had proposed that the panel reionsider this concept of psychoanalytic drive from the vantage point of 1967 and from a knowledge of some developments in related fields. especially neurophysiology and ex- perimental and physiological psychology. Valenstcin briefly sketched the history of the instinctual drive concept from the early pre-Project emphasis on childhood seduction and trauma and the associated idea of a repressed affect seeking discharge to the later recog- nition of the role of fantasies and unconscious wishes. The early view was what Rapaport called the environmentalist-empiricist view, and from it fol- lowed the idea that cure resulted from the abreaction of pent-up emotion. This view, however, proved to be too simple and its revision eventually led to an emphasis on intrapsychic determiners and the 1915 conception, which focused on the mental representation and emphasized the distinction between responses to inner and to outer stimuli. Valenstein said, “Freud saw it as crucial that stimuli from the external world could be avoided by muscular action whereas stimuli from the internal world which could not be readily escaped stood as the signs, the evidence of instinctual needs.” He described Freud’s “bias toward a qualitative dualism of instinctual drives,” that is, ego vs. libidinal instincts, narcissistic versus object libido,

Held at the Fall Meeting of the American Psychoanalytic Association, New York, December, 1967. Chairman: Arthur F. Valenstein, MD.


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was in part a con-


metapsychology, especially his approach to drivc theory. bears the hallmark of his early orientation to physiological and neuropharmacological research.

However, fifty years have gone by and many new contibutions have now

become available, not only from neuropliysiology and psychophysiology. but

A definitive ego psychology

had not yet been originated, much less developed as an elaborate and inclu- sive theory of function to the point where it could, practically speaking, replace the traditional psychoanalytic instinct theory with an extended ego theory.” He enjoined the panel to keep in mind “that the theory of in- stinctual drive was a heuristic respnsc to empirical findings obtained through

and life vs. death instincts. “It appears that this bias

sequence of the historical philosophical era in which Freud grew


systematic study of animal

the introspective, associative method of psychoanalysis, which gave prominence first to two major motivating trends, those of sexuality and those of aggres-

Even if we should conclude that

we can hardly accommodate the

accruing neurophysiological data and findings to this essentially psychological theory of instinctual drive, it may be that as a mental construct, not to be taken literally or physiologized, the theory remains an important adjunct of

our clinical

difficult to do without it or without some

of a concept of motivation as being substantially innerdetermined.” He hoped

the panel would not be overly bcdeviled by the concept of psychic energy-

a concept which he preferred to take as a psychological construct which

has been useful in’ dealing with the quantitative, ”more-or-less’’ aspects of

behavior. Clinically useful as the concept may be, it seemed to him as though

it might be more “as if” than real.

Charles Fisher, absent from the panel, had prepared a paper in advance which was read by the panel reporter. Fisher summarized much neurophysio- logical and biochemical work bearing upon the somatic sources and con- comitants of instinctual drive. He emphasized that findings from motivational physiology can only “give us additional information about motivation but

do not tell us about what motivation really is. Their significance arises from the fact that a correlation is drawn, but attempts to define motives in terms

of central neurological processes are

statements of some of the necessary conditions of motivated behavior, but not a sufficient explanation of it. The concept of instinctual drive is a PSF chologial one with the wish as its basic representation; thus, “instinctual drives do not originate outside the organism in stimuli or interpersonal rcla- tions. but have their sources within the organism.” He was “sympathetic to the position that psychological theories of instinctual drives must be at least consistent with what is known about the activities of the brain and physio- logical processes.” In Fisher’s view, “physiological investigation of the last decade has amply confirmed” Freud’s susgestion in the Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality

.” Such formulations arc


clinicians would find it very

frame of reference which admits

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that “libido was generated by the action of the sex hormones upon ccrtain specified parts of the brain.” Much work has now demonstrated that the hypothalamus is the part of the brain that is especially implicated in the neural activity related to the major consummatory responses of eating, drink- ing, and sexual activity. He dexribed the excitatory and inhibitory centers, and the dual control, hormonal and sensory. affecting the activity of these two types of centers. For example, sexual hormones, when directly injected into certain regions of the hypothalamus, activate copulating and mating behavior. Moreover, feedback such as genital sensations operates to excite the inhibitory system. He emphasized the fact that the hypothalamus is also influenced from the other parts of the brain, particularly the limbic system and the cortex.

These findings and others do not support the concept of a central motive state-a concept which Rapaport had accepted from Clifford T. Morgan and Frank A. Beach. Instead, the model described involves specific neurochemical activation of these hypothalamic regions typically leading to different specific behavior patterns. hlorcover, these findings do not support the concept of specific drive energies, but rather suggest that specificity lies in the pathways and regions stimulated. REhl periods, Fisher reported, scem to represent a condition of general physiological activation of drives, as indicated by many physiological meas- ures, including autonomic changes and increased blood flow, temperature and oxygen consumption of the brain. He felt that specific REM period behaviors such as sucking and mouthing activity in infants and penile erections in males from birth to advanced age support the notion of physiological activation of drives during REM states. “Penile erections do not appear to be just an epiphenomena1 hypothalamic overflow, but they enter into and interact with dream content, anxiety dreams inhibiting, and dreams with erotic content facilitating, erection.” He reviewed REM deprivation experiments to show that “drives prevented from discharge may find substitute outlets.” REMP- deprived animals ‘‘show bizarre forms of compulsive hypersexuality, increased

appetite, and increased

to obtain food, eating more and at an increased

be interpreted to mean that when the physiological drive discharge which is the normal accompaniment of REAIPs is prevented from taking place, there is substitute discharge during the daytime.” Nonetheless Fisher thought that it was a moot point whether it is always necessary to have physiological drive activation for there to be some manifestation of instinctual drive and affect processes. For example, “an elderly castrated male failed to show any penile erections during his REAlPs, but nevertheless had a dream of nocturnal emission, practically identical with the real thing, although no erection or seminal emission occurred.” Thus, the experience of pleasure could occur “in the absence of some of the physiological consummatory responses. How- ever, it is by no means ruled out that the central neural drive areas and

Rats will cross an electric barrier

These results can

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Circuits within the hypothalamus and limbic system may be activated during such a dream.” Fisher then reviewed some of the work on intracrmial self-stimulation which began with the 1954 James Olds and P. hI. hlilne: discovery that rats with electrodes implanted in the hypothalamus and other portions of the limbic system would repeatedly press a bar that would give them an electrical stimulus in these regions. “The animals behivcd as if the electric current was rewarding, as if they were obtaining pleasure or gratification from the stimu- lus.” This work is by now well known and it is understood that, in addition, “normal drive cxcitation can summate with injccted drive excitation,” the latter in the form of electrical stimulation. He agreed with the position taken by J. A. Deutsch and Diana Deutxh that “the rewarding pathway is the same central neural pathway that would be activated in the consumma- tory responses involved in a taste of water, the feeling of satiety and the sensations of the genitalia, etc., although in actuality nothing is going on at the periphery. It is the sensory experiences that the animal finds reward- ing or gratifying.” .

Next, Fisher discussed a fascinating experiment in which Joseph hfendel- son electrically stimulated the hypothalamic thirst center of a completely satiated rat, and found that the satiated animal continued to press a bar to give itself stimulation in this center if water was available. Under these cir- cumstances the animal pressed and then drank the water and continued this cyde at rates as high as seventy times an hour, “making itself thirsty and then drinking.” However, if water was not available, the animal did not press the bar. This suggested to Fisher that the animal was ‘motivatedon the

basis of a “memory of previous experience of gratification need but by what in psychic terms would be called a

These findings

are consonant with the psychoanalytic conception of instinctual drive as the psychic representation of a physiological need.” He then discussed certain problems with the conccpt of “discharge.” He

agreed that the dominant view agrees with Schur’s definition of the wish as the functional unit of the id. REMP findings lend themselves to the interpreta- tion that there is a discharge of rather large quantities of energy in consum- matory behavior. Nonetheless, during much other behavior of a “peremptory unconsciously motivated primary process” type, consummatory processes on a physiological level are not involved and there is no evidence of large quanti- ties of energy dixliargc. He reminded us that Rapaport had suggested “that it is ncither implied nor ruled out that biochemical energy exchanges may eventually be discovered which correspond to exchanges of psychological energy inferred from behavior in psychoanalysis. So far such a‘correspondence

Some such mrrcspondence between the hypo-

thetic psycliic energy and physical cnergies may exist for the REM state and

the psychological behavior known as dreaming.” He pointed out, however,

we do not know much about

not by the

has not been achieved. ,

that “for much of peremptory motivation

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the physiological energy processes involved.” He suggested that animals, too, “may be largely motivated by wishes, anticipations and expectancies based upon previous experiences of gratification,’’ citing again the implication of hiendelson’s experiment that animals not in a state of deficiency or excess stimulate themselves in order to obtain the gratification of drinking: they


son’s cxperiment is not in accord with the constancy principle, since here motivation does not imply tension reduction but the opposite. The animal produces the state of drive tension, the thirst, in order to have the pleasure of drinking.” Fisher went so far as to suggest that this is a reversal of Freud’s definition of an instinctual drive as a demand for work on the psychic ap- paratus, that it may imply “a kind of demand for work by the psychic ap- paratus, as embodied in the wish, on the instinctual drives.”

He then emphasized the importance of George Klein’s paper oh percmp- tory ideation, pointing out that Klein’s model “can encompass those con- summatory behaviors relating to hunger, thirst, and scx which involve inputs to the psychic apparatus whose sources can best be studied physiologically. The notion of a drive as a demand for work is retained and the energy theory not completely abandoned. It can also elucidatc those types of be- havior whose energy considerations are not 50 clear-cut, namely, those moti- vated by certain imbalances in what Klein calls the ideomotor unit, which corresponds to the wish, the cognitive format of the instinctual drive.” Fisher discussed Klein’s idea of excitation beginning in a primary region of imbalance (PRI) and leading to a train of thought conceived of as arising from this area and returning to inhibit the excitatory process at such a hypo- thetical region. Discharge is conceived of as inhibition of this excitatory process, in other words, a “switch-off’ device. “Klein ch6oses to emphasize other statements of Freud indicating that the attainment of pleasure is sec- ondarily quantitative, but predominantly a qualitative matter, involving the coming into relation with objects that sefve to effect a terminal stimulation or switch-off by inhibitory excitation at the primary region of imbalance.” Klein also emphasized that Freud’s ftmnulation of a wish “involved not only an

economic notion

the previous experience of satisfaction, but the disposition to achieve a con-

dition of perceptual identity.” Intensities of motivation develop when these sensory experiences whicli serve the purpose of switch-off are aborted, inhi- bited or counteracted, especially in situations of conflict or when unpleasant affect, anxiety or guilt are aroused in addition to the wish. Under these

circumstances “of aborted feedback, the arousal of negative affect,

facilitations at the primary region of imbalance continue and lead to sub- stitute and displacement activity in the form of symptoms or other pathologi-

cal sequences.” Fisher concluded by questioning what he thought was Dahl’s assumption that the hypothalamic drive centers provide the “outputs making the de-

seem to be motivated by exclusively “hedonistic

the cathexis of a memory trace of a missing object in


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mands for work on the psychic apparatus, e.g., provide the facilitations at the

from their role in consummatory drive behaviors we know


little about the neurochemical activities of these centers and the kind of facilitations in terms of energy that they might introduce to the primary re-

gion of imbalance.”

Peter H. IVolff then discussed two topics. The first was the problem with what he called the “relaxation-osullator model” and the second was the question of the relevance of data from infant obsenation to the instinctual drive theory in general and to the oscillator model in particular. He doubted the usefulness of the hunger model-a specific formulation of the more general relaxation-oscillator modcl in which the basic cycle is the repeated slow accumulation of tension followed by discharge. \VolE suggested that this model and probably that of the other physiological drives does not have thc heuristic power of the psychoanalytic instinctual drive concept which allows for conceptualization of “capacity for delay or no delay. capacity for detour or no dctour, and the capacity for displacement onto symbolic forms.” To demonstrate the nature of the problem he said, “If there are any behavioral


represcntations of the partial oral drive, in the early months of life,

probably sucking should be one of them. In the observations wc have made

with nonnutritive sucking

a salient point for this discussion is that non-

nutritive sucking seems to be inexhaustible. If the relaxation-oscillator model

should see some kind of evidence for a difference before

and after the baby has sucked on a pacifier.” He wondered whether one really creates a state of satiety by nonnutritive sucking. Aforeover, in babies with severe neurological damage, “there is almost a continuous stream of

endless sucking which suggests a kind of disinhibition.” He pointed to a similar “release phenomenon,” namely, the prolonged or continuous priapism in some infants with severe neurological damage, suggesting that this also seemed to bc a disinhibition process rather than discharge of an amount of anything. Penile erections of infants seem to substitute for the spontaneous mouthings during sleep and vice versa. He proposed that a proccss of recipro- cal mutual inhibition seems to occur; and he questioned. whether the prcs- ence of erections during REhf periods in infants really supported the idea that thcy reflect instinctual drive activity. “When we finally consider [P.D.] hfacLean’s monkeys who, two days after birth, when they greet each other,

have erections, we get a totally different picture of the potential function of the erections. hfy point is simply that in some instances erections may be

but one cannot there-

fore equate the two.” He thought that what seemed to be missing from the formulation was a consideration of “form-function relationship,” that is, of the notion that the context in which behavior occurs is relevant to the inter- pretation of its meaning. WolfE then examined the inadequacies of the relaxation-oscillator model for understanding sexual excitation. He proposed that it is comparable to

is rclevant,


representations of some internal sexual excitations

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the U.S. hfarine’s view of the necessity to have his “ashes hauled periodically.” With prolonged abstinence, is there really an increase in sexual excitation) In fact, he thought, one might be able to show that the more sexually active an individual is, the more sexually excited he becomes. And, on the con- trary. the more he abstains, the less excited he typically is. The studies of sexual interest of women during their lifetime support this view, despite the

obvious influences of the oestrous cycles over short periods of

time. He pointed

to a similar problem with aggression, saying, “there is the folklore, which is

used clinically, that it is good for you to discharge your aggressions and it’s

bad to keep them in

But if one looks at the difference between people who are engaged in ag-

gressive activity as opposed to those who shy away from it, I think one can

see again

for further aggression

absence of aggression seems to make it possible to remain unaggressive.” Indeed, Wolff suggested that the same phenomenon, which seems to run contrary to the simple relaxation-oscillator model, can even be seen in pro- longed periods of abstinence from eating. Up to a certain point, “the longer you go without eating, the hungrier you get,” but after some point people who have not eaten for a long time become progressively less hungry, whereas “those who eat a great deal can become increasingly hungry.” Therefore we

need to consider both “short-term cycling and long-term cycling as two op-

One could profit by looking at the relationship be-


tween the activity already engaged in and the motivation for further activity in that same direction.” In a motivational sense he proposed something similar to Piaget’s view that “the more you are exposed to novelty, the more you are motivated to act on that novelty.” This leads to a “different tem- poral relationship than the original oscillator model.” AIoreover, he saw a point of contact between this view of two opposing cycles and Holt’s later cmphasis on how much seemingly instinctual drive activation “may be at least in part determined by contact with the environment, rather than from inside.” \Wenstein. after expressing disappointment that IVolff had led us to believe that the infant observation would not be of much help in our en- terprise, brought up the classical clinical situation of a young man in analysis complaining that his compulsive and promiscuous sexual behavior was caused by being surrounded by pretty girls who gave him no peace-that he

stimulates further aggressive activity, whereas the

as if there were a buildup and a need for release.


aggression (discharged) rather than leading to lessened need

was motivated entirely from outside himself. A similar question arises when one thinks of “aggression feeding on aggression.” Does aggression arise from external sources or is it, “as the psychoanalyst traditionally thinks of it, an innate need for aggression” interacting with the outside disturbancc? hfax Scliur, who substituted on the panel for Fisher, underscored the importance of several of Fisher’s ideas. First he emphasized that what is learned from other disciplines about motivation gives us information about



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but does not tell us what motivation really is. Similarly, “what we know about the function of dreaming does not tell us really about dreams as such.” Secondly, he agreed with Fisher’s emphasis on the idea that instinctual

drives “are meant to originate not outside the organism

organism.” He discussed this at greater length when responding to Holt. Thirdly, hc stressed Fisher’s point that the hypothalamic centers are influ- enced not only by hormonal and sensory input, but are also under the infiuence of higher centers, particularly the cortex. The implicntion of this lies in the possibility that mental representations would therefore be in a position to infiuencc the functioning of the hypothalamic centers. Schur SUP gested that a comparable control of pcrccptual processes followed from Ragnar Granit’s dcmonstration that perceptual proccsses are not simply passive, but arc regulated by centrifugal fibers from liiglier centers. He continued, “Fisher then statcd that the same physical energy is always set free in the hypothalamus and tlie limbic areas in the form of clectrical and chemical changes. Drive is specific only in thc sense that there is evoked a specific stimulation in relation to pathways.” But the study of the content of drive derivatives and the content of affects is a question of cogni- tive structures. By extension, the different manifestations of aggressive and libidinal drives, although they can bc elicited by chcmical stimulations in the same centers, are highly influenced by cognitive structures and othcr unknown factors. Schur recalled Rapaport‘s idea that “biochemical energy changes may cvcntually be discovered which correspond to the exchanges of psychological energy inferred by psychoanalysts.” To show how closely this hope has been approached, Schur quoted at some length from John Eccles. Eccles outlined the characteristics of nerve impulse transmissions, including tlie release of speufic chemical transmitter substances at the synaptic barriers, causing elec- trical changes in postsynaptic membranes. Hc described two types of synapscs:

excitatory and inhibitory. Excitatory action “tends to remove thc electrical charge from the surface of the nene cell, and 50 to increase thc excitability of the cell. If there is a sufficient summation of this synaptic excitatory action, that is, if it is bombarded at many synapscs in quick succession, the charge on the nerve cell will be so reduced that it will generate a discharge of an impulrc down its axon.” In contrast, thcrc is the inhibitory synaptic action in which the charge on the cell membrane is increased, thereby rcducing the probability of firing and “holding down thc spread of cxcitation from cell to cell along the excitatory pathways.” Ecdes said that we are on the threshold of understanding “the basic principles responsible for the laying down of memory traces, which we may envisage as being due to an enduring enhance- ment of synaptic efficacy with usage.” Scliur stressed the significance of “such findings for what we call mental representations, for inhibition, for resistances, and for the differences of the interaction betwcen activating and inhi- bitory functions.” He concluded by referring to Klcin’s formulations in “Peremptory Ideation.” He thought these were quite appcaling; his only

but within the

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reservation was that there might be “a little too much emphasis on the

question of feedback

feedback from other parts of the mental apparatus.” Valenstein was reminded by Schur’s quotation from Ecdes of Freud’s “Project for a Saentific Psychology,’! in which spe+ groups,of cells were

assumed to be modificd by their excitations in order to store memories. Valenstein emphasized “that the memories may take the place of external

objects which have stimulating or evocative ability

even] the fairly gross quality of behavior that we think of as drive motivated.”

There is a widespread tendency to point to external sources of motivation and to “blame it on the environment.” The analyst is repeatedly confronted with this as a form of resistance. Samuel Ritvo. pointing out the tendency to equate “energy concepts with quantitative aspects,” thought that our quantitative ideas are “probably extremely crude and in nccd of revision.” Nonetheless, if one has a dynamic system, one has to consider the logical requirements of such a system, i.e., energy requirements. According to Kurt Lewin, energy concepts are funda- mental to the conceptual handling of any dynamic system. Ritvo also com- mented on hfendelson’s interesting experiment. He was impressed by the similarity of the rat’s behavior to such clinical behavior as compulsive mas- turbation, Returning again to the question of the relationship between internal drives and external stimulation. Valenstein summarized Karl H. Pribram’s

report of a woman who had undergone bilateral removal of anterior parts of the frontal lobes. She was not aware of feeling hungry, nor did she feel at all driven to think about food. Nonetheless, she had gained 100 pounds fol- lowing the operation. One day he happened to observe her accidental en- counter with a cart laden with food. She stuffed herself with the food until she was forcibly taken away from it. Even then she was not aware of any change in her appetite; and when she was given a chocolate bar she felt no particular delight with it. She reached to take it when she saw it and, when it was withdrawn, left it alone. Valenstein felt that this behavior mirrored that of Mendelson’s rats. Schur thought that ”this woman had no mental representation and there- fore she could not act under the influence of instinctual drives, but was exdu- sively under the influence of peripheral stimulation. She was stimulus-bound.’’ In this way she resembled the infant’s behavior, which is much “closer to the stimulus-bound behavior of lower animals” until the infant gradually develops mental representations. Although Freud had originally proposed the “very imaginative formulation of hallucinatory wish fulfillment,” he did not ap parently have any time element in mind; he did not specifically offer a time- table for this “progressive change from relative dependence on external

stimulation to what we and others conceptualized as internalization

to a gradual development of wishes which are, x, to say, the unit of the in- stinctual drive.”

from sensory input and not enongh emphasis on

[and thus influence


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George Klein thought Ritvo had implied “that we could never get away from energy concepts,” and had suggested that, while the energy concepts in psychoanalysis were crude, tlicy could, with more sophisticated efforts di- rected at making them more precise, descriptive and explanatory concepts, do better than they do now. Glein asserted that the proble~qwas more serious than this, saying, “Energy concepts may be irrelevant, because in my view the problcm of motivation is cssentially a problem of aim, and I would add affect-these are qualitative issues, structural issues, cxperiential The essential nature of affect is a quality of experience and this the energy concepts are helpless to deal with.” There are two models of pleasure: one is Rapaport’s and the other is exemplified by Erik Erikson’s model. The first states “that there is a quantitative increment of a hypothetical energy which encounters a barrier, creating a state of hypothetical tension, the reduction

of which with an appropriate object is experienced as pleasure. This is one modcl of the affect of pleasure.” Klein felt there is a problem involved in it because it does not deal with the nature of the pleasure, the quality of it. To him, this is the essentially knotty problem in Rapaport’s model and, in a sense, this model represented a rcgression from Freud‘s attempt to deal with the problem of quality by describing a special quality of energy called the libido. But there are problems with that notion too beaux it is difficult to conccivc of energy having a quality. On the other hand, the En’kson type of model says “that a zone is capable of arousing when appropriately stimulated” and that the stimulation has to be “qualitatively appropriate.” Sensual pleas- ure resulting from this arousal acquires all kinds of cognitive meanings. Klcin said, “In this model, when we respond sensually. we are not responding in terms of a discharge of energic quantity. IVe are responding instead to the

meaning of an experience

of a distinctive kind. Of course, there’is still a

pliysiological question of how this experience is

problem made explicit by the nature of the model, which the libido drive theory I think ignores.”

IVolff emphasized the importance of meaning, but for different reasons. He agreed with Sdiur that the infant having no mental representation does not havc an instinctual drive in a psychoanalytic sense; there can be no wishes without sucli representation. In this sensc the infant is physiologically driven and stimulus-bound. Therefore, data about the bchavior of infants under these circumstances are irrelevant to tlii psychoanalytic model. Wolff

felt “one can’t have it both ways. You discuss



of ccrtain physiological processes

you discuss it at the level of energies

But this is a

the symbolic transformation

To discuss behavioral observations which are based on

[a physiological] level. which don’t deal with the problem of symbolic trans-

formation, one is really not tackling the problcm

Why is it of relevance to discuss the physiological aspects while the question of meaning and symbolic transformation?”

of instinctual drives.

we avoid

Schur replied, “At no level is any piece of behavior not also under the

influence of the environment, of external stimulation. The question is

, to

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this been internalized, but never is external stimulation

excluded.” IVolff felt that he had not made himself clear. “What I meant to say was that the critical discussion is in the realm of experience or symbolic func- tion and not in the realm of quantification of behavior.”

Hartvig Dahl was troubled by the either-or im’plications of Wolff‘s and Klein’s positions. He quoted from a 1938 paper by Lorenz and Tinbergen. IVhile discussing instinctive actions in animals, they nonetheless emphasized that these actions were accompanied by subjective phenomena. They did not regard experience “as a fortuitous side effect or an epiphenomenon of physio- logical processes. IVithout the sensual pleasure represented by the subjective aspect of probably all instinctive acts, they would be discharged only when the organism happened by mere accident upon the releasing stimulus situa- tion. IVhat makes an instinctive activity a goal to be craved is undoubtedly the subjective experience that goes along with it.” Dahl thought it is relevant to talk about physiological processes even when one is talking about the in- stinctual representation, that is, the wish. To him the question was not, which is important, but how they are related. :

Robert R. Holt agreed “that there is something going on inside that is of relevance, but the question is what is it.” If one speaks of the drive as a mental representation of a somatic process, then presumably there would be no mental representation without a somatic process. In Holt’s view, the question is, “What is the nature of the somatic process?” After emphasizing that one must not take a narrow view of the possibilities, that one must con- sider the role of such things as “external releasers” but that one must see the difficulties in trying to handle aggression (for example) as a “sort of spontaneously upwelling drive,” he suggested that there is a better way to conceptualize the inner contribution than in terms of an accumulation of energy which must be discharged. What he proposed was that one start from the pleasure principle, that is, that one say that the important thing which motivates organisms is seeking pleasure and avoiding unpleasure or pain. These arc treated then as “phenomenological concepts.” He felt that Rapaport “got us off on the wrong foot when he consistently emphasized that pleasure means only energy or tension-reduction.” However, as Freud wrote in the Project, “the experience of gratification then teaches us that going through a certain action pattern leads to gratification.” This is the model both in the Project and Chapter VII; it “does not have an instinct theory and can do very well without one.” Holt felt that the anticipation of pleasure, which accounts for the hfendelson rat behavior, “works a great deal better than the notion of an accumulation of some quantity that has to be discharged.” Several members of the audience then spoke. William Lewis made three points. First he referred to Wolff‘s comments on sucking and said that Lorna Benjamin had demonstrated that there is a certain critical period when babies are very active in searching for the nipple. If they arc prevented from finding their thumbs at that time, they do not become thumb suckers. Next

what extent has


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he said that he had recorded (on film) coital reflex behavior appearing in infants up to the age of eight months. The same patterns appear in baby monkeys unless they have been raised in isolation. Then he reported another potentially important finding-the dixovery by a neurochemist, Mabel Hoken, that, if certain cells, which have some similarity, to neurons (in this case, pancreatic cells), are stimulated, the cells Seem to remember the stimu- lation and. when subscquently stimulated, emit more enzyme than before. What makes this interesting is that it is comparable to being able to show a change in the subsequent response of a neuron which has been stimulated by neural transmitters. Ernest Rappaport referred to Wolffs relaxation-oscillator model and to the “paradox of persisting hunger in the state of satiation.” In fact, he sug- gested, there usually is not a paradox at all; typically in the case of the obese person who eats excessively, it is a response to some underlying de- pression. Or in the cace of the person who appears “to be oversexed” it is usually an indication of “making il show” because of some other felt lack. Similarly, a woman who had been addicted to pregnancy was trying to replace her entire family which had been wiped out in Auschwitz. Peter H. Knapp applauded Klein’s insistence “that we get rid of this spurious energy model.” But he thought that Klein had confused “the notion of energy and quantity.” particularly with respect to affect. One cannot com-

prehend affect exclusively in terms of quality. He saw no reason for having to “get rid of all quantitative conceptions in understanding behavior.” He also referred to a quantitative matter which had not been mentioned by anyone in the panel; this was the “concept of arousal, because we are not only

but we are also dealing

with activating systems, with various levels of arousal, which spill over into

the neurocndocrine system.” Ritvo pointed out that Klein’s concept of a region of imbalance is not free of energic ideas. hloreover, he was puzzled by the suggestion of an op- position between structures and energic concepts. “Structure is so much re-

lated to

relates to forces in balance-forces aligned in a

particular way.” He felt there was not any essential difference between a model which speaks, “perhaps too crudely, of tension reduction or discharge

and a model which speaks of imbalance related to phenomena or notions

dealing with the hypothalamus and limbic system


like density, and then relies on a change in the system

in structure

concept of a

primary region of imbalance relied for its dynamic quality on differences in energy level. Although “it is a much more flexible model and a cleaner machine and it operates with different quantitative notions, the idea of feed-

back or switchdf is basically no different; it is an energic, dynamic notion.” IVolff disagreed. He thought there is a significant difference “whether a force activates a structure or whether the structure in imbalance defines the

and on facilitations,

priming, excitation


energic concepts involving changes

and all following from an imbalance.” He felt that this

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motive itself.” In other words, it makes a difference whether one has to add something to the structure from outside it, or whether the motivation is in- herent in the structure itself. Gerhart Piers agreed with Ritvo in finding it very difficult to dispense with the concept of energy in thinking clinically. But he wovld always try to be aware that he was speaking metaphorically. If’one asked a physiologist to pinpoint the energy, he would be rcminded that the quantities are very minimal and that thcy seem to serve as triggers to release functions and that in all probability they are “neutral, which is to say, thc same for all func- tions.’’ To him, the concept of structure “does not require even the undcr- lying concept of bound energy. It’s the path of the function.” Valenstein began the afternoon session by observing that the morning’s focus on Klein’s model implied “an extended structurrll point of view.” The drive concept implicit in this view would resemble “proto-structure,” some- thing like biological biases (predilections toward particular functions) inter- acting with environmental possibilities to “crystallize the structure potential” -a concept perhaps similar to that of the development of autonomous ego functions. Nonetheless, as Ritvo had pointed out, this structural view left unanswered many questions about quantities. Noting that the morning’s discussion had been heavily weighted in the direction of recent developments in neurophysiology, Rudolph I’d.Loewen- stein traced the development of the drive theory in psychoanalysis proper. The instinctual drive theory has bcen more fruitful perhaps than any other psychoanalytic theory because it permitted a general explanation of many apparently unconnected phenomena as well as the discovery of new data such as “the regular sequence of libidinal development, of its changing

sources, aims and objects

in childhood as well as in adult life.” Although the theory has undergone sdme modifications. no clinical investigations seem possible without using the

discoveries based upon this theory; for example, the discovery of the im- portant influence of childhood sexuality on human behavior throughout life.

Loewenstein continued, “The modifications of drive theory started with Freud’s writing on aggression and on the theory of the ego.‘So long as libido was considercd the only form of drive energy, the relation to biological or physiological drive sources may have appeared comparatively simple. Not so

and of the primary role of object relationships

when aggression

was recognized as an instinctual drive independent


the libidinal

Freud introduced the grandiose

biological theory of

a death instinct, which completcly changed the concept of instinctual drive. The death instinct and its counterpart, the life instinct, became merely

general trends of life processes.” Although the death instinct theory has gradually been abandoned by many analysts, “the concept of an indepcndcnt

aggressive drive

Since 1923, the trend has been away from trying to describe psychic phe- nomena only in terms of libido and aggression and toward adding three more

has proved of enormous clinical and theoretical value.”

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variables-those “subsumed under the ego, under the superego,’ and under external reality.” Freud, it should be remembered, had never thought that psychic phenomena could be described in terms of instinctual drives alone, conceiving of the ego as having been separated from the id under the impact of external reality. Since The Ego and file Id the mental apparatus has been conceptualized in terms of structures and functibns. After 1926, Freud emphasized that “the part of the ego which deals with reactions to danger” was largely independent of drives, an independence emphasized by Anna Freud in her description of defense mechanisms in 1936. Then Hartmann introduced the concept of conflict-free ego function and the development of primary and secondary autonomy of the ego.

Loewenstein noted that both autonomous functions and superego demands can lead indirectly to arousal of instinctual impulses. An example of the first can be observed in the result of the professional activities of analysts during which the ego may “trigger instinctual behavior to meet the necessities of outer reality.” hlany years ago he himself had described “a special form of self-punishment, which consists of stimulation of instinctual wishes that no

longer lead to gratification, but only to painful

cases] the stimulation of the drive originates in the superego; indeed the stimulation of the id impulses stands in the service of self-punishment.” He stressed the usefulness of the 1915 statement that drives represent a demand for work upon the psychic apparatus. “It is couched in terms which are general, yet precise enough to be eminently useful,” particularly in de- scribing what goes on in psychoanalytic treatment where one attempts to achieve changes in behavior. He did not see “how we can dispense with the hypothesis of a dynamic unconscious for the description and explanation of

what we observe.” He assumed that the concept of force was part of this conception. “Innumerable data of psychoanalytic observation can best be de- scribed by using comparative terms, such as greater or lesser priority, insis- tence, intensity, or quantity of something.” This economic approach may in- clude the concept of energy, which is “potential for action or work, while force is energy in action.” He then distinguished two groups of psychoanalytic propositions: the first included the inferred unconscious emotions, wishes. thoughts. memories, and so forth conccived of as h,omologous to their con- scious counterparts, and the second included the abstract propositions, such as ego, id, and superego, which remain heterologous to observable data. The concepts of energy and force, borrowed from physics as abstract explanatory concepts, are not derived from human sensations and remain heterologous to obervable data; these quantitative factors remain inferences which cannot usually be brought to thc patient’s awareness. Loewenstcin concluded with a final word about the energy concepts. Al- though ego functions such as thinking, perception, and memory may serve instinctual aims, it is assumed that they operate with neutralized energy.

But “the human being at birth

ably be traced to neutralization of instinctual drives.” Therefore, it was


[In these

presents behavior which cannot

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necessary to assume an early undifferentiated stage out of which id and ego developed. “If we hypothesize psychic forces and energy, we must further conclude that this energy is likewise undifferentiated early in life and be comes gradually differentiated concomitantly with the differentiation of the psychic structure.” Robert Holt began with “some rather brief and blunt formulations about Freud’s theory of instinctual drives” as he understood it, suggesting that any “undarity or uncertainty about just what the theory is” followed from the abundance of Freud’s theoretical ideas about motivation which at times were self-contradictory. As an example of such contradictions Holt referred to Freud’s “many explicit statements (especially in lW5) to the effect that the sources of libidinal drives were the peripheral erotogenic zones” and then to his 1915 statement that “the study of the sourccs of instinct lies outside the scope of psychology.’’ Out of “various contradictions and inconsistencies” Holt extracted two theories: One, “fairly explicit, coherent, but untenably mechanistic,” and the other, “a more implicit set of ideas that originated in Freud’s clinical observations and his attempts to tailor concepts to the shape of these facts.” Holt described the “important testable propositions of the first, the anach- ronistic theory. The basic model of the organism is the hypothetical reflex arc, Conceived of as stimuluwinternal processing+response. That is, all behavior originates in the intrusion of physical energies from either the ex- ternal world or from intrasomatic sources into the nervous system, conceived of as passive, without energy of its own, and functioning so as to rid itself

, basic pleasure-principle functioning . , .

isassumed. Only adaptive, realistic behavior with biologically adequate objects can reduce tension by removing the inner organic sources of input, hence the necessity of paying attention to the real world and acting in a sensible, pur- posive fashion.” From this complex formulation Holt deduced threc “testable” and, to him, incorrect propositions: (i) “the nervous system is passive and functions only when stimulated from outside itself“; (ii) “all stimulation is inherently originally noxious”; and (iii) “increases in intrapsychic tension are unpleasant, and pleasure may be obtained only from reducing tension.” Holt then presented a second general proposition of the model: “hfoti- vation differs from ordinary reflex action in that external stimuli act as singlc impacts, which may be removed or escaped, whereas internal drive stimuli act continuously and cannot be escaped.” He argued with the first part of this by saying that it was impossible for anyone to fully escape external stimulation and remain alive. And he argued with the second part of the statement by saying that consummatory behaviors in fact show satia- tion as well as refractory phases after consummation. In any case he felt that the inner-outer distinction is not essential to the theory and turned instead to “the kind of drive theory proposed by Rapaport: ‘motives are appetitive internal forces,’ appetitive being defined


of the noxious input via action

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in terms of peremptoriness, cyclic character, selectiveness, and displace- ability.” He asked what evidence Rapaport had presented for the existence of such “internal forces” and answered, none. “Now it is surely a fact of observation that some impulses and desires are relatively weak and easily

managed by voluntary or ego activity, while other impulses seem to erupt from ego-alien sources, take over the organism, and drive it to an inexorable conclusion. But this is a kind of data to be explained, not in itself conclusive evidence for any theory.” He proposed analogies to a nonself-regulating ma- chine. like an automobile with its throttle stuck and no one at the wheel, or to an animal with a certain brain injury, who walks straight ahead, ”remorsc- lessly and undeterred by any barriers until it literally knocks itselt out or collapses from exhaustion.” To him, “these examples suggest the possibility that the peremptoriness of some kinds of motivated behavior is at least

as by

a theory of elusive psychic

Indeed, as [B.B.] Rubinstein has dem-

as well explained in terms of defects in the controlling mechanism

onstrated, the existing doctrine of psychic cnergy lacks any explanatory power and is merely a set of descriptive metaphors.”

Holt said that for forty years experimental psychology had been domi- nated by a concept of drive as “a state of unpleasant internal stimulation arising out of the physiological deficits induced by [physiological] deprivation and goading the organism into action. It was assumed that consummatory action with a need-satisfying object led to objective satisfaction of the tissue

Since this concept of

drive seemed so fruitful as an explanation of hunger and thirst, it was extended to all the so-called physiological needs, including sex.” Early find- ings suggesting the importance of androgen and estrogen levels had to be modified because ”circulating androgens and estrogens were, if anything, only necessary and never sufficient conditions for sexual excitation and tumescence, and an impressive body of observations on many species including man indi-

needs so that noxious drive-stimuli were

cated that libido, the physiological capacity to engage in intercourse, and even orgasm (if not ejaculation) could persist for as long as thirty years after the removal of the gonads, and thus with extremely low titres of the pre-

What was worse, sexual behavior in no

sumably necessary

infrahuman species showed the expected buildup with increased deprivation.

Leaving aside the phenomenon of oestrous in many mammalian females

determiner of subsequent sexual cxcitc-

mcnt and activity was the presence of a more or less suitable partner.” Holt quoted Frank Beach to the effect that sexual tendencies depend upon external stimuli for arousal and that it is “‘unlikely that in the absence of erotic stimuli a male animal cxists in a constant state of undischarged

sexual tensions. This would be equally true for the human male, were it not for the potent effects of symbolic stimuli which he tends to carry with him

wherever he goes.’ I’ To Holt, this meant that “the fact that human beings do

can be under-

act as if they had such accumulations of drive tension,

the overwhelmingly important

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stood as self-stimulation mediated by imagery, fantasy and internal language.” He mentioned Kurt Goldstein’s description of a severely braindamaged patient who could only be sexually aroused when his wife directly touched his genitals. following which he was potent. “There is no evidence that any physiologically measurable ‘tensions’ build up in or. near the genitals with deprivation; indeed, when the whole genital area has been denervated. male animals of several species still become excited by receptive females and suc- cessfully copulate with them. “What seems to be critical in sexual arousal is sensory awareness of the partner,” and there have been repeated observations of male animals who had copulated to the point of exhaustion being rearoused when offered a new mate. Nonetheless, “even in the rat sexual excitement may be achieved in

some degree from memory of previous cxperiences of

very difficult to account for these fa& by means of a conception of sex as a drive arising out of an inner buildup of tension that must be discharged.” He added, “Incidentally. in both males and females, much evidence supports

Beach’s suggestion that two separate mechanisms are involved in genital sexuality: one governing sexual arousal, the other governing ejaculation and orgasm. Thus, there are two separate thresholds: one for the onset of sexual excitement and tumescence, which in nonhuman animals is determined largely by external stimuli, supplemented increasingly up the evolutionary series by subjective or symbolic self-stimulation; and a threshold for orgasm, which is determined by sensory feedback primarily from penis and clitoris.” Holt then turned to the evidence on aggression and concluded that there has never been evidence that the need for aggression builds up after an animal has been deprived of it. “The bulk of the systematic experimental and ob- servational work in man as well as animals supports the conception that aggression is an innately determined (though extensively modifiable) reaction to certain claws of provocations, chiefly frustration and assault.” He con- sidered hunger and thirst, pointing out that “the whole business turns out to be astonishingly complex.” He cited many studies pointing to the many complicated factors controlling food and drinking behavior: hypothalamic thermostats and glucostats, sensations from the stomach, as well as visual, olfactory, and gustatory and other oral sensations. In human subjects “eating is controlled by symbolic means and by external stimuli.” After many experi- ments Stanley Schachter decided that the “hunger and eating of obese persons depends on external circumstances.” All things considered, Holt concluded that hunger and thirst also do not fit the tension-reduction model of drive. For Holt what remains are “Freud‘s observations about human motiva-


It is

which must be incorporated into any broadly useful theory: human

beings are impelled to a large extent by unconscious motives; we havc a basic tendency to seek pleasure and avoid unpleasure, but are able to delay the wish for immediate gratification when we learn that greater pleasure may be obtained by respecting reality, [even though] our goal-seeking behavior is enormously complicated by the operations of defenses against anxiety and

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facts of peremptory drivenness can be quite adequately concep-

tualized by means of a cybernetic model like that of Klein, in which anticipa- tions of pleasure or pain supply the urgency which seemingly ‘energizes’ some behavior.” Schur began the discussion of Holt’s paper by no‘ting Holt’s intention to challenge the theory of instinctual drives; whereas Schur would try to show that in fact Holt’s statements supported Freud’s motivational concepts. First he pointed out that Holt ”did not direct his criticisms of Freud’s instinc- tual drive to his later and most pertinent definition, which is the point of departure of thc panel.” Schur then requoted the aim of the panel as it was given in the program (referring to the 1915 definition) and continued: “Tak- ing this definition as a point of departure, Rapaport, myself, and many others conceptualized this as a psychological and not as a physiological concept, as Holt has stated in his discussion.” He was puzzled why Holt had not used this definition because certainly no one knew better than Holt himself that it indicated a psychological concept. Nonetheless, Schur felt that in Holt’s attempt to prove that Freud’s concepts were “anachronistic, outmoded, empty, etc,” he had unwittingly reinforced the importance of the 1915 concept. Schur called attention to Freud‘s formulation about the reflex model, and quoted at some length from “Instincts and Their Visissitudes,” in order to clarify the matter. Freud wrote:


In order to guide us in dealing with the field of psychological phe- nomena, we do not merely apply certain conventions to our empirical material as basic concepfs; we also make use of a number of complicated

assign to the nervous system the task-speaking in

general terms-of masferingstimuli. IVe then see how greatly the simple pattern of the physiological reflex is complicated by the introduction of

instincts. External stimuli impose only the single task of withdrawing from them; this is accomplished by muscular movements, one of which

postulates. IVe


a hereditary disposition. Instinctual stimuli, which originate

from within the organism, cannot be dealt with by this mechanism. Thus they make far higher demands on the nervous system and cause it to undertake involved and interconnected activities by which the external world is so changed as to afford satisfaction to the internal source of We may therefore well condude that instincts and not external stimuli are the true motive forces behind the advances that have led the nervous system, with its unlimited capacities, to its present high level of development. There is naturally nothing to prevent our supposing that the instincts themselves are, at least in part, precipi- tates of the effects of external stimulation, which in the course of

phylogenesis have brought about modifications in the living substance.1

1Standard Edifion, 14:119-120.

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TOSchur, this is a crucial statement of the “transition from a biological to a biopsychological animal [and of] the development of the concept of internalization, which plays such a tremendous role both in evolution and individual development.” One of Holt’s main criticisms addressed itself, not to this formulation, but to that of the “tension-reduction model,” which

linked the concept of instinctual drive with the unpleasure-pleasure principle -more specifically, the constancy principle. Schur considered it “as a logical shortcut” if Holt assumed that, if we agree with this criticism, then that disproves the concept of internalization and the concept of instinctual drive which results. There are two quite different models. The first one, the un- pleasure principle, is a regulatory principle based upon the necessity of with- drawing from stimulation, and of achieving some kind of equilibrium; this is what Holt had attacked. The second model, however, has to do with the model of the wish, which is “the unit of psychic functioning, the unit of instinctual drives, and the unit of the functional aspect of the id. The wish [deals] with the tendency and the need to refind the perception of gatifica- tion.” There is not only die tendency to avoid tension, to avoid danger, “but there is also a tendency to seek such stimuli as will eventually arrive at gratification.” A criticism of the first model does not diminish the usefulness

of the second, which assumes that there is a development

tion of certain basic somatic needs to an ever-enlarging area of wishes which involve such things as values and other ego activities. The concept of instinc-

tual drive is the broader one, and it has been extended even further by Hartmann.

Schur felt that Holt had in fact actually presented examples that support the second model, and he was distressed that Holt should have found it necessary to quote Beach who stressed the role of self-stimulation in men. “Now what is self-stimulation? The internalized unconscious memory traces

these are the forces we are speaking aboutl” Holt’s example of

the severely brain-damaged man who was sexually aroused only by genital stimulation merely emphasizes the distinction between a motivation from internalized memory tfaces of experiences of gratification on the one hand, and being stimulus-bound on the other. Holt’s conclusion that Freud’s ob- servations about human nature remain permanent contributions, that people are impelled by unconscious motives to seek pleasure and avoid unpleasure. struck Schur as the return of “the ghost of Rapaport.” He quoted hiephisto- pheles who, when Faust asked him who he really was, replied: “I am a part of a force which always wants the bad, but always ends up creating the good.” Valenstein then quoted from Holt’s prepared paper a paragraph which Holt had not read aIoud. It said, ”It would surprise me, for example, if :here were no one here today who did not react to some of the data I want to present by saying that that is perfectly compatible with Freud’s drive theory, even though it is presented as challenging the theory.” Holt replied: “Schur seems to be taking me to task for attacking Freud hip and thigh, whereas I explicitly start with the supposition that Freud at-


from simple gratifica-

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tacked himself. There are two Freuds here, as Schur himself points out. And

I am taking sides with one of them against the

side of the clinical Freud.” On the whole, Holt felt that he was in agrecment with the arguments that Schur had presented. After suggesting that the previous presentations were good examples of die human tendency to defend “conceptual territorial space,’’ Dahl quoted Freud (1926) in support of the effort to look to other disciplines for help. Freud wrote, “There is no more urgent need in psychology than for a se- curely founded theory of the instincts on which it might then be possible to build further. Nothing of the sort exists, however, and psychoanalysis is driven to making tentative efforts towards some such theory.” Freud wrote that his attempts to formulate an instinct theory in the metapsychological papers “remained no more than a torso,” clearly indicating his dissatisfaction with all his previous efforts to classify and define instincts-first into ego and libidinal instincts. secondly into narcissistic versus object libido, and finally into life and death instincts. Bemuse many of his subsequent comments would be on physiological data. Dahl stressed that he agreed with Schur and others that the fundamental idca in the psychoanalytic motivation theory of instinctual drive is the wish, that is, the mental representation of an experience of satisfaction. It must be taken for granted that the memory configurations which have consequence for the future for each individual represent the consolidations of early experiences of satisfaction.” But we look at motivation from two points of view: (i) its sources in physiology insofar as these exist in physiology, and (ii) in the experiences of satisfaction and their recollection.’These approaches sccm complementary rather than contradictory. Dahl then gave a rather detailed account of the behavior of rats who had had ablations of portions of the lateral hypothalamic stat centers involved in eating and drinking behavior. Ablation of these drive ccnters in rats leads to severe aphagia and adipsia. The animals find food and water aversive and react to them with behavior which normally accompanies actively reject- ing some unpleasant taste such as that of quinine. However, over a period of wccks, the animals may recover and, when they do so, they behave as though the stat center had been rcset at a different level. In an exactly analogous way, ablation of the medial satiation -centers leads rats to increase their nte of eatingunti1 they reach a plateau and continue eating at a higher level .than previously. Although he concluded from such studies that it is reasonable to talk about different amounts of physiological excitation or inhibition, Dahl did not know how to translate these quantitative ideas into a notion of general energies. In reply to Holt’s position that there is no one-to-one relationship bc- tween the amount of xxual behavior and levels of sexual hormones, he

reported a study by A. R. Caggiula which suggested a direct relationship. Caggiula implanted electrodes in rats’ hypothalamic centers having to do with mounting behavior and cjaculations and taught the rats to press a bar to give

I end up on the

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themselves electrical stimulation in the area. The rate of bar pressing varied positively with the androgen levels, contrary to anticipations based on a threshold model. Dahl returned to the 1915 definition of instincts-in particular to the concept of instinctual drive as a demand for work oq the psychic apparatus by virtue of its connection with the body. He felt it was not neccss~ryto to think of the apparatus being operated by a hypothetical psychic energy in order to use such a construct. In fact, he joined Holt and Schur in cxpress- ing doubts about the Nirvana principle. Nonetheless, criticisms of the par- ticular energy notions which Freud had used did not negate the usefulness of the concept of drive as a demand for work. He then focused on Klein's idea of the primary regions of imbalance and suggested that some of the possible sources of disturbance in sudi regions could best be studied physio- logically, in the sense that certain sources, such as hypothalamic drive centers, could make a demand; the work would lie in the apparatus finding the appropriate signals, sensory inputs, symbols, memories or whatever, which match both the requirements of the previous experience of satisfaction as well as the biochemical needs of the system. He agreed with Klein in think- ing of discharge, not as dissipation or getting rid of energies, but rather as turning off by inhibition or reduction of sensitivity at the source of the demand. It seemed to him that what had been learned about the hypothalamic centers fits this 'model quite nicely. On the one hand, there are excitatory output nuclei which, when acti- vated, result in some response on the part of the rest of the system. On the other hand, there are different nuclei which seem to be activated by the feed- back from the system's response to the original output activation (demand); these are the so-called satiation centers. These schemes are best understood for hunger and thirst behavior, but are also compatible with what is known so far about the centers involved in sexual activity. The particular nature of the activity which follows the output of these centers is, of course. governed by the history of the system activated-a history laid down in particular memory configurations. What is of interest to the psychoanalyst are the details of the failure of the psychic organization successfully to terminate drive demand-that is, a situation where there is merely inhibition to drive output without a successful activating of the inhibitory (satiation) centers. Holt had focused mainly on data which suggest instinctual arousal by chance encounters with objects in the environment. Dahl felt, however, that much experimental work remains to be done to show the correlations between the resulting behaviors and the actual somatic states. He thought it was premature to say that no demonstrable, correlated chemical changes were to be found. He concluded by pointing out that the concept of an amount of energy accumulating and needing to be discharged is a very recurrent idea-one shared by ethologists and psychoanalysts alike. Wolff, in describing the be- havior of the neonate, had used just such a notion when he wrote about B limited quantity of neural energy to explain the reciprocal occurrence of

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startle reactions and startle reaction substitutes, such as mouthings and erections. Dahl thought that the prevalence of this kind of tension-reduction model may not have much to do with its properties as an abstract concept, but may rather be derived from the human experience of tension and its reduction. In view of psychoanalysts’ day-today confrontations with feelings of tension and their consequences, they are likely, he thought, to continue to think in such terms.

Wolff was troubled by an implication that he felt w3s in the air, namcly, that “all the so-called hard information is in the realm of neurophysiological data, and, as Dahl mentioned quite recently, that hunger is something we know a great deal about.” He went on to say that this reminded him of the drunk looking for his key under the streetlight. simply because that’s where thc light was. He wondered, “If it is true that the fundamental phc-

nomena of psychoanalysis are the materials

is there something about going then to the laboratory and sticking electrodes into the heads, because it is easier, which avoids the greater

problem that Klein was talking about, namely

which the theory grows-the clinical phenomena?” He asked why one should accept neurophysiological evidence when it is “useful or compatible,” and when it is not compatible, say that is not what onc is talking about. He felt one could not have it both ways. If one starts with a reflex arc model,

it has certain consequences. He then acknowledged that he had indeed used the term “limited quantity of neural energy.” However, he now thought that he could just as well havc used some alternative conception such as

reciprocal activation. In any case he felt that it w3s not possible to use these observations to support the conccpt of instinctual drive energy as it is used in psychoanalysis. Neural energy is beside the point, because the psycho- analytic conccpt deals with symbols and wishes. “Onc can only begin to talk about these concepts in terms of an organism that is capable of symbolization.’’ Ritvo replied to both Holt and Wolff. He emphasized that therc has never been any question that external stimuli play an important part in sexual bchavior, but that this in no way contradicts the concept of instinctual drive. “With any sexual behavior there are determinants from the external

and there arc elements stemming from self-stimulation

through fantasy and imagcry which, once they have reached consciousness.

of a clinical psychoanalysis,

the phenomena from


act upon the cgo in the same fashion as external

usefulness of the concept of instinctual drive defined by its characteristics of

aim, source, and object

behavior which may be widely diverse on the surface [and get be understood] by dynamic unconscious fantasies and strivings inferred from observable behavior.” Holt’s reference to obese patients whose eating serves other aims than satisfaction of hunger supports the psychoanalytic view. Ritvo’s views about tension reduction were almost identical to Dahl’s. Locwenstein stressed that, although subjective experience must indeed play a role, a scientific approach to psychological phenomena requires an

the commonalities can be found in

The special

is that

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abstract concept.’ Holt had said that Rubinstein had demonstrated that the concept of psychic energy was not explanatory but descriptive. Loewenstein did not know how one could demonstrate or not demonstrate that. It is really a question of how one uses the term, since the difference between explanatory and desm-ptive discourse in psychology is a difficu1t matter. He referred to Holt’s criticisms of mechanistic approades, but felt that it was difficult to get away from models with mechanistic properties. For example, even Klein’s “beautiful desaiption of the area of imbalance is a mechanistic concept.” Whether concepts are valid or not is another question, “but one cannot simply reproach them for being mechanistic unless they are used naively and that is the case neither of Freud nor of Klein.” Moreover, he was of the impression that Holt had described experiments mostly in one direction and had not emphasized experiments indicating the existence of inner drives of a physiological sort. But he did not pretend to be an expert in these areas and returned to what he knows best, what is observed in patients. There it is dear that motivations “are not always necessarily instinc- tual-far from it. They can stem from the ego as well as sometimes from the superego.” He felt that Freud had never been so naive as to think that any single concept could encompass all behavior. Loewenstein concluded by quot- ing a definition of work and energy by the physicist, n.faxwel1: “Work is the act of producing a change of configuration in a system in opposition to a force that resists that change. Energy is the capacity of doing work. Work is the transformation of energy from one system to another.” He thought that this would fit perfectly well with what analysts are up to. Holt responded, starting with the concepts of work and energy. His central objection to the use of these concepts was that they are quantitative

and yet, in the field of psychoanalytic observation, incapable of measure- ment. This is a difficulty which must not lightly be cast aside. In contrast, the concept of work as used in physics has a precise, measurable meaning by virtue of the fact that physics operates with dimensional quantifications, which are what is absent from psychoanalysis. Holt wondered how one would compare (i) the work of solving a double-crostic, (ii) the work of inventing a new machine which might have tremendous labor-saving consequences, and (iii) some “routine simple drudgery which nevertheless serves the pur-

of restraining drive preoccupations.” There is no way to settle

such questions, he felt. nloreover, he did not see why such questions should


ever be raised by psychoanalysts, and was astonished th3t members of the panel found this a useful formulation, since “psychoanalysts never talk

about work

unhappy to use the word as a descriptive concept, but no more than that. He felt he may have stretched the point a bit when he said that Rubinstein had demonstrated that energy is a descriptive and not an explanatory term. However, he thought that a strong and cogent case had been made for this idea. He went on to distinguish between the mechanistic and cybernetic prin- ciples, preferring to use the term mechanistic to apply to machines which

except in a metaphorical way.” He himself would not be

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are not self-regulating and to use the term cybernetic for those that are. Next, he addressed himself to the “evidence that deals with the internal aspect of sex.” He felt that the evidence has not supplied us with something like a measurable hormone to replace the unmeasurable energy. He agreed that “sexual excitatory mechanisms depend on an adequate level of the

relevant hormone, but

the role of being the substitute of the hypothetical

vesicle.” He felt that experiments of the kind cited did not “provide the data that would be needed for those who want to maintain that conception of drive.” Instead he thought that the central necessary concept is a “pure pleasure-principle factor.” Hunger is very much controlled by anticipations of pleasurable gratification, and, all things considered, the male rat’s sexual behavior is “controlled primarily by certain propcrties of the female fat stimulus.”

Hc continued by saying that people were not rats and we are interested in people. Of Freud‘s many theories some have been neglected while others have been seized upon and hypertrophied. “The ones that have been the

favorites of many theoreticians are unfortunately the 19th century hangovers

of Freud’s mechanistic

[like] cathexis and countercathexis that it is hard to see how people could

think without them

patients rather directly, using the patient’s own

closer to concepts like wish and don’t necessarily go into considerations of energy and cathexis and psychic structure and all the rest of these arid and dessicated terms.” He made a plea for sticking closer to clinical language and clinical considerations when talking about motivational problems. He believed that the kind of alternative theory that Klein has presented will handle the data of psychoanalysis without making untenable assumptions. He disagreed with the 1915 definition on another ground, namely, that it represented Freud‘s thinking dualistically, that is, of a mental realm and a

physical realm

This passage is better simply forgotten than really dwelt upon.” Valenstein said that Holt apparently misunderstood how psychoanalysts function. They do talk the patients’ language. the language of expcrience, and do not talk with patients in metapsychological terns. He was curious about Holt’s use of the metaphor of the driver and the car and wondered what would have happened if Freud had used that instead of the rider on the horse. “The horse, after all, has some passions of his own.” Herman Serota commented on the issue of quantification, pointing out that it was very congenial for him to make statements suggesting quantitative estimates of the degree of a patient’s anxiety or the amount of some other behavior. He also referred to a neurophysiological correlative of aggression. Thirty years ago, while measuring temperatures in the hypothalamus and other areas of the brain of a cat, he had found that when a dog was brought into the room, the temperature in the hypothalamus increased; then, after

[the hormone] cirtainly does not seem to play

distended seminal

It’s true that we are so used to


but other people are used to

talking to their They stick

a very

clear position of classical interactionalist dualism.

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several minutes, for reasons that were not dear, the temperature returned to its baseline. Howard Shemen spoke to statements made by both IVolff and Holt to the effect that, in the absence of an appropriate stimulus, there is no evi- dencc to show that drive increases. On the contrary, as Fisherbad pointed out in his paper, evidence from dream deprivation {tudies shows that there are indeed psychological consequences of deprivation and that there is a recovery phenomenon-pressure, so to speak, which builds up and is “re- leased once the opportunity for dreaming or sleep is given.” He also com- mented on what seemed to be “a remarkable hiatus between the need (un- derstood as a tissue deprivation), as a physiological concept, and the instinc- tual drive (as Schur described it), as a purely psychological concept, as if the organism at the start of life was a purely physiological being.” He found it hard to know from the description of the neonate whether IVolff was dcscrib- ing psychologiul or physiological phenomena. In particular, Shevrin ques- tioned “the implied definition that only symbolic activity is psychological ideational activity,” calling attention to the ability of neonates to make perccptual discriminations, which do not seem to be symbolic, but certainly seem to be psychological. Wolff said he had not talked about drives; he had talked, instead, of two opposing tendencies-one an increase of need with deprivation and the other a decrease over the long term. Moreover, he was not at all convinced that it was useful to talk about hunger, sex, and thirst “as though they all had common properties.” Finally, he was perfectly willing to grant that not only neonates, but also animals, are capable of psychological phenomena. Nonetheless, the psychoanalytic theory of instinctual drive is indeed best understood in terms of symbolic representations. James Naiman stated that he felt Holt’s evidence emphasizing the role of external stimulation was somewhat one-sided. He referred to Neal Miller, who studied animals that were allowed to eat or drink as much as they wished. and whose brains were then suffused with a chemical transmitter, whereupon they either ate or drank more, depending on the particular chemical. This is evidence for the importance of “what goes on inside the organism.” Dahl called attention to an issuc which was perhaps the most important issue of all-one which thc panel had not grappled with, probably because there is not much more to say about it. He was refemng to our lack of knowl- edge about the physiology of the subjective experience of pleasure. hewenstein concluded the afternoon’s discussion by saying that Holt was mistaken in his view that psychoanalysts do not use the concept of work in analysis. The fact is that they repeatedly focus on the manifestations of a patient’s resistance and on the work which has to be done to overcome it.

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