Selfhood and Consciousness: A Non-Philosopher's Guide to Epistemology, Noemics, and Semiotics (and Other Important Things Besides) [Entries Beginning with "D/E/F"]


Copyright Notice: This material was written and published in Wales by Derek J. Smith (Chartered Engineer). It forms part of a multifile e-learning resource, and subject only to acknowledging Derek J. Smith's rights under international copyright law to be identified as author may be freely downloaded and printed off in single complete copies solely for the purposes of private study and/or review. Commercial exploitation rights are reserved. The remote hyperlinks have been selected for the academic appropriacy of their contents; they were free of offensive and litigious content when selected, and will be periodically checked to have remained so. Copyright © 2006-2018, Derek J. Smith.



First instalment [v1.0] published 13:00 GMT 28th February 2006; this version [2.0 - copyright] 09:00 BST 6th July 2018





G.3 - The Glossary Proper (Entries D to F)



Daemon: [(Pl. Daemones) <δαιμων(ης)> Greek = "divine being, (lesser) deity, guardian spirit; evil spirit, demon, devil" (O.C.G.D.); "supernatural presence or entity, somewhere between a god (theos) and a hero" (Peters).] Notions of the supernatural, be they in the form of "divine somethings" or "guardian angels" were central to Greek life (Peters, p33), and for the purposes of the present glossary we may safely regard daemon as just one example amongst many of the ways in which our inherent animism shapes not just individual minds but entire cultures and belief systems.



Dale, (Sir) Henry Hallett: [British neurophysiologist (1875-1968); Knighted 1932; Nobel Laureate 1936.] [Click for external biography] Dale is noteworthy in the context of the present glossary for his pioneering work on the physiology of neurotransmission. [See next Dale's principle.]



Dale's Principle: [Alternatively, Dale's Law.] This is Sir Henry Dale's (various 1929 to 1936) theoretical assertion that while there are many different neurotransmitters to choose from, each individual neuron relies on only one (implying, of course, that all synapses from a given neuron use the same neurotransmitter). There are nowadays a number of known exceptions to this principle, where there is a "co-release" either of two neurotransmitters [GABA with glycine, acetylcholine with glutamate, or dopamine with glutamate], or of a neurotransmitter and a "signalling peptide hormone". The functional significance of these co-release systems is still being evaluated. 



Daneman and Carpenter (1983) Sentence Span Technique: This cognitive psychological research technique involves presenting subjects with sequences of two to six sentences, each of 13 to 16 words. Subjects have to read the sentences out loud, and attempt to remember the last word of each. They are then asked to recall as many last words as possible (in any order). The sentence span is the mean number of sentences which can be coped with at 60% accuracy or better. [For a specimen clinical application of this method, see Van der Linden, Coyette, and Seron (1992).]



Daneman and Tardiff (1987) Technique: This cognitive psychological research technique was developed to assess the processing and storage aspects of the central executive separately. In this paradigm, four words are presented which can be combined to make longer words. Thus (for example) MUSE, AU, VENT, and BERGE, can be combined to make MUSEAU, AUVENT, and AUBERGE. These combinations can be at, or not at, one of the syllable boundaries of the derived word. The task is for the patient to find the new word which does not contain one of these syllable boundaries, and the necessary trials are carried out with or without a memory load (i.e. the patient does not always have to recall the individual words as well use them to select one of the target derived word.) The number of correct selections is therefore held to be a measure of processing, while the number of correct recalls is a measure of memory. [For a specimen clinical application of this method, see Van der Linden, Coyette, and Seron (1992).]



Darstellungsfunktion: [German Darstellung = "representation, depiction, portrayal" (C.G.D.) + Funktion = "function" (C.G.D.).] [See firstly consciousness, Cassirer's theory of.] This is the second-most primordial of the three types of symbolic meaning proposed by Cassirer (1929/1957) (the other two being Ausdrucksfunktion and Bedeutungsfunktion). It is the level of relatively straightforward representation, intermediate between the more primordial Ausdrucksfunktion and the still more abstract Bedeutungsfunktion, thus .....


"If we wish to go forward from the primary form of consciousness contained in the pure experience of expression to richer and higher forms of experience, we can find the clue once again only in the objective configurations of cultural life. [.....] We have found that the meaning and basic trend of the pure expressive function could be apprehended most clearly and surely if we took the world of myth as our point of departure" (p107). "I use the term 'representative function' (Darstellungsfunktion) in the same sense as Karl Bühler" (Cassirer, 1929/1957, p110 footnote).



DAS: See Dysfunctional Attitudes Scale.



Dasein: [German = "presence, existence, life, being" (C.G.D.); "individual particular being" (Cassirer, 1995/1996, p204).] Dasein is probably the most puzzled-over term in the whole of German mental philosophy. It was coined in a small way in Critique of Pure Reason, where Kant uses it as one of several alternative words for "existence" or "existent" (e.g., p267), his conceptualisation of which was as follows .....


"A thing's character of existence [seines Daseins] can never be found in the thing's mere concept. [.....] For if the concept precedes the perception, this signifies the concept's mere possibility. The sole character of actuality is, rather, the perception that provides the material for the concept. But the existence of things can be cognized even prior to the thing's perception, and hence comparatively a priori [.....]. Thus the existence of a magnetic matter permeating all bodies is cognized by us from the perception of the attracted iron filings, even though direct perception of this material is impossible for us in view of the character of our organs" (Kant, Critique, pp287-288).


The term then resurfaced in Husserl's (1913/1931) Ideas (e.g., p52), before being moved to the very centre of the philosophical stage in Heidegger's Being and Time (Heidegger, 1927). We have done our best to represent Heidegger's use of Dasein in the five progressively developing definitions thereof set out in consciousness, Heidegger's theory of. [Compare now entity, Existenz, and Wesen.]



Dasein, Artificial: [See firstly consciousness, Heidegger's theory of in general and both Dasein and Turing Test in particular.]  The 1990s witnessed a fascinating application of Heidegger's notion of Being to the world of artificial intelligence. The issue was first raised by Berkeley's Hubert Dreyfus in "What Computers Can't Do" (Dreyfus, 1972, 1979) and "Being-in-the-World" (Dreyfus, 1991), and the principle at stake was whether what went for biological architectures like the human cognitive system went also for machine cognition. Not surprisingly (since this is effectively the mind-brain debate in a long cloak), cognitive scientists were immediately polarised. On the side of the sceptics, Dreyfus compared and contrasted the role of Dasein in human and machine, and concluded that the quality which would be most critically lacking would be that of "embodiment" [see separate entry]. Okrent (1996 online), however, was more sympathetic to the proposal. He begins by acknowledging as follows .....


"We owe a debt to Hubert Dreyfus for pointing out this potential relevance of Heidegger to cognitive science. In a long series of publications beginning with What Computers Can't Do, Dreyfus has insisted that Heidegger's work has profound implications for cognitive science in general and for the pursuit of artificial intelligence in particular. According to Dreyfus, these implications begin with the requirements that any thinking entity must "be-in-the-world," that "the world" in which we are is the context in which significant action can take place, rather than a set of decontextualised objects, and that our primary way of being-in-the-world is through skilfully coping with it in accordance with a variety of social practices" (Okrent, op. cit., ¶4).


Okrent then develops the counterargument that it all depends on what you mean by thinking, and that, rightly defined, there is actually nothing in Heidegger which definitively excludes the possibility that computers may one day develop enough thinking to acquire being into the bargain. He sees two basic issues, namely (a) "What is it to be a thinker?" (op. cit., ¶7), and (b) "Which actual entities might count as thinkers?" (ibid.). He then reviews how Heidegger treated the related notions of intentionality and being-in-the-world [see separate entries] in his writings, looking for a critical difference between Heidegger-according-to-Heidegger and Heidegger-according-to-Dreyfus, and he finds this critical difference, he believes, in a close scrutiny of what intentionality requires of a truly intentional system. This is how he puts it .....


"Precisely insofar as the two descriptions, "acting purposefully as one should given a set of social practices" and "acting in accordance with a set of rules for manipulating formal symbols," are logically independent of one another, the behavior of some agent might satisfy both descriptions. The only way we could ever find out whether we could build such an entity (or, maybe, even be one) is to try to build one and see [.....]. Now, given the character of the necessary conditions which Heidegger places on intentionality, with the emphasis on social normativity and goal directedness, it may seem to one that it is unlikely that any entity could both be a digital computer and a Dasein. But a Heideggerean can't legitimately go further in her response to the ontic question. Even if what qualifies a thinker as a thinker is not that it behaves as some computer would, it does not follow that some computer could not also be a thinker. This result, however, is entirely in accord with the spirit of Heidegger's work. From a Heideggerean perspective, the important issues are all ontological. The only ontological question in this area is the question of the being of the intentional. And Heidegger's answer to this question is incompatible with the hypothesis that the mind is a computer in the sense that what it is to be a mind could be expressed in some program. This is the important result. Whether or not some computer could also count as thinking is, it seems to me, a much less interesting question" (Okrent, op. cit., ¶71-¶73).


Barua (2003 online) takes up the issue of coping, thus .....


"My initial question was: Beginning with this outline of Heidegger's Dasein, could one ascribe Dasein like character to a cyber being? For Dreyfus, [a computer] would never be able to act intentionally since it acts only in a programmed way. [However,] with the advances made in technology and also in the field of AI, a robot of the most sophisticated construction could be programmed to display better coping abilities than humans. [.....] That a machine could attain a Dasein like character is now no longer an issue for me. What I am interested in finding is what is that which is distinctively human [.....]. My question now is, 'What makes our coping abilities distinctively human?'" (Barua, op. cit., p6).


Frey, too, has addressed the coping process in a paper cleverly entitled "Cyber-being and time" (Frey, 1999/2006 online). He judges as follows .....


"The proving ground for Dasein is nothing less than the world itself, more specifically, coping with this world, or being-in-the-world. [.....] A Dasein sees the world and attempts to operate in it, to make it intelligible. Obviously we can program a computer to recognize a chair. See it as an object outside itself, separate from its purposeful physical corporeal body. We can also program the chair’s usage. A chair is something to sit on, to paint, to throw through a window. It becomes more complicated when we try to have it recognize other chairs. The bean bag chair has caused many a human Dasein trouble, let alone a Cyber-Dasein. This again, however, can be accounted for with foresight and good programming. What of the Soho boutique that, a week after I create my Frankenstein machine, comes out with a new chair that looks like a beached whale? Problems yes, but not impossible to overcome. [.....] Sure, both I and AI can figure it is a chair, AI probably much quicker, but it is this how we figure it out, how we cope with the chair, this world, that is the essential aspect of our Dasein. A computer will go through a table of questions to see if this thing satisfies the definition of chair. We have no table of quandaries in our mind we figure it out through holistic context made up of relevant time and space. Heidegger thought that, since it would be impossible to program all the variables of context, a computer would never be able to cope with the world. I am allowing that belief to be challenged by the fact that computers may be able to cope with the world based on technological advances [.....], but their style of coping is still different from that which Heidegger understood and spoke of in his definition of Dasein. This is what makes our being distinct, this specific style of coping. It is a style consisting of unknowns and knowns, of past and future, of stumbling not gliding" (Frey, op. cit.).



Data: The word "data" derives from the Latin verb dare, "to give", being the plural of the referential accusative datum, "that which is given" (O.E.D.), the word meaning literally "things which are given". Data are (in the plural, note) things which are "known or assumed as fact, and made the basis of reasoning or calculation" (ibid.). The word started to acquire a technical usage in the 17th Century (O.E.D.), but the practice of recording numbers with scratches and lines goes back at least to the Cro-Magnon cave paintings. The O.E.D. instance a usage of "data" in the modern scientific sense in 1646, although the data processing industry did not emerge until the late 19th century [check it out] and the phrase "data processing" did not become commonplace until the 1950s.



Data Analysis and Normalisation: [See firstly entity type and entity occurrence.] Between 1961 and 1964, the General Electric Corporation developed the IDS DBMS, a system which was based on the principles (a) that individual fragments of data could be stored and retrieved on a "direct access" basis, but only when (b) their "data structure" had been fully established by painstaking "data analysis" beforehand. This process took time, and the emerging data structure invariably needed to be "normalised", that is to say, revisited a number of times in order to rationalize the content and its indexing, remove duplications, and otherwise generally tidy up loose ends.  The results were then set down formally as the "data model" for said system, and documented with the aid of Bachman diagrams. The fact that derivatives of the IDS product still support much of the heavy end of the world's on-line transaction processing industry is as much tribute to the developers' data analysis and normalisation philosophy as it is to the direct access design itself. [For some initial thoughts on what shape a data model of biological cognition might one day take, see self, Bachman diagram of.]



Database: "A database is a collection of records stored in a computer in a systematic way, such that a computer program can consult it to answer questions. For better retrieval and sorting, each record is usually organized as a set of data elements (facts). The items retrieved in answer to queries become information that can be used to make decisions. The computer program used to manage and query a database is known as a database management system (DBMS). The properties and design of database systems are included in the study of information science. The central concept of a database is that of a collection of records, or pieces of knowledge" (Wikipedia). [Compare network database and flat file database.] [For some initial thoughts on what shape a data model of biological cognition might one day take, see self, Bachman diagram of.]



Database Administrator: In commercial data processing, this is the name given to the person/team responsible for the day-to-day management of the database as valuable corporate asset, that is to say, dealing with its confidentiality, availability, and integrity.



Database Corruption: In the context of set-structured network databases, a "corruption" is said to exist every time there is a mismatch between a database pointer and the record occurrence to which it ought by rights to be pointing (it being immediately noted that the error can be at either the pointed-from or pointed-to side of the equation). DBMS "utility" programmes allow most physical corruptions to be detected during system housekeeping and reset manually if necessary, although this can be an extremely expensive process for the DBA team responsible. The "integrity" of a database is a measure of how few corruptions  it contains.



Database Integrity: See database corruption.



Data Base Task Group (DBTG): The DBTG was a committee of database experts convened in 1967 under the umbrella of the CODASYL committee to oversee the upgrading of the COBOL computer language to cope with database file handling (as opposed to the more straightforward but less flexible file types it had previously been used to). [For a fuller history of the DBTG, see Section 4 of our e-resource on "Data Modelling".]



Database Currency: Database currencies are a network database systems programming device which, after a record has once been identified, allow direct access to it using its database key. The essence of the currency concept is that the DBMS can instantly relocate the "current" record - that is to say, the record last accessed in a given set or of a given type. It does this by maintaining what is known as a "run time currency indicator" for every set and record type that it knows about, and every time it accesses a record it copies that record's database key into the appropriate "current of set" and "current of record type" currency indicator(s). The device comes as standard with what are known as "CODASYL" (or "DBTG") databases such as Computer Associates' Integrated Database Management System (IDMS), and is actually nothing more than a small address table held in memory and constantly updated.


ASIDE: "Right brained" readers may note a certain similarity between a table of referentially coherent memory addresses in a computer database, and  the sort of "marginal 'co-data' of an accessory kind" described in consciousness, Husserl's theory of.



Database Design: See separately logical database design and physical database design. [For some initial thoughts on what shape a data model of biological cognition might one day take, see self, Bachman diagram of.]



Database Dump (File): [See firstly database file.] A functionally highly specified (but structurally less so) computer file, designed expressly to store a back-up copy of one or more of the database files making up a database. In that they will never per se be accessed by the DBMS in question, dump files can use a more rudimentary file type than the files they are backing up (tape, say, instead of disc, or unindexed, or compressed). The more "volatile" (i.e. regularly updated) the database, the more frequently it will need dumping to protect against accidental loss or corruption of the primary data.



Database File: [See firstly file.] A functionally and structurally highly specified computer file, designed expressly to present a body of predefined data in precisely the format required by a given DBMS. A physical instantiation of a data model, or subset thereof [For more on the processes of predefining the data, see data analysis and normalisation].



Database Key: This is the unique filestore address of a particular record in a particular physical network database implementation of a particular logical database.



Database Management System (DBMS): A Database Management System, or "DBMS", is a complex software product designed to manage large pooled stocks of data for you, and especially to allow that data to be accessed by lesser software products called "application programs" [tutorial]. Databases are thus the computer equivalent of the Dickensian card index system, but with the advantage of very rapid search times. (Haigh, 2004/2004 online) argues that we should view the DBMS as a coming together of three originally separate earlier trends, namely (a) the idea of a common pool of data, (b) the development of "file management" software, and (c) the growing sophistication of "report generator" software. Bachman claims that GE's 1957 "Report Generator System" "was the first production data base management system" (Bachman, 1980, p7), and was himself responsible for building a similar product at the Dow Chemical Company in 1958. DBMS products now power the modern world, although, curiously, "very little research addresses the history of this vital technology, or that of the ideas behind it. We know little about its technical evolution, and still less about its usage" (Haigh, 2004.) [For some initial thoughts on what shape a data model of biological cognition might one day take, see self, Bachman diagram of.]



Database Pointer: See chain pointer.



Database Schema: [See firstly physical database design.] The first step in the physical implementation of a database from its logical design is to convert the data model into a physically equivalent set of declarations and descriptions known collectively as a "database schema". This provides a more technical view of the data than hitherto, and constitutes the first major step in bridging the gap between the data as the user knows it and the hardware on which it is eventually to be stored. [For some initial thoughts on what shape a data model of biological cognition might one day take, see self, Bachman diagram of.]



Database Storage Schema: [See firstly physical database design.] The third and final step in the physical implementation of a database from its logical design is to create a "machine level" view of the data. This is achieved by declaring what is known as a "storage schema" to the DBMS, which the DBMS then uses to translate every user-initiated store and retrieve instruction into a set of equivalent physical store and retrieve instructions.



Database Subschema: [See firstly physical database design.] The second step in the physical implementation of a database from its logical design is to create a "departmental" view of the data. This is another technical view, and reflects the fact that no single application program will ever need access to all the available data. This, of course, is where the sharing of the common pool of data is enabled. Each individual end-user - and that includes even the most senior executives - only needs access to a fraction of the total available data, and for him/her to be shown too much is at best inefficient, and at worst a breach of system security punishable by civil or criminal law (or both). This "need to know" facility is provided by subsets of the schema known as "subschemas", each one allowing an individual application program to access only the data it is legitimately concerned with.



Database Traversal: A database traversal is the argument structure by which a network database is interrogated during the storing or retrieval of data. It is the method by which a number of distributed data elements are brought together to form a coherent display. This reflects the fact that most applications need to access far more than one record before they can achieve whatever is expected of them, that is to say, their final output displays - be they to screen or printer - are composites of fragments of data gleaned from hundreds of points within the network.


BREAKING RESEARCH: For more on the potential role of "abnormal connectivity" in preventing or degrading the maximal integration of multi-modular cognitive processing, see functional connectivity and its onward links.



Dataflow Diagram (DFD): The dataflow diagram (or DFD) is a powerful tool for describing the internal organisation of complex systems in terms of the flow of information between component modules, and, where appropriate, the specific memory stores therein. It is reasonably non-technical, has high graphical impact, and - compared to conveying the equivalent message in text - is compact and unambiguous. It is also flexible and easily upgraded should your understanding of a system alter or develop over time. The diagrams themselves consist of one or more circles or rectangles, each representing a processing stage or memory store, linked by arrows to represent the flow of information. Such "box-and-arrow diagrams" or "bubble charts" have been commonplace in psychology since the second half of the nineteenth century [see Kussmaul (1878) for a good early one and Sperling (1963) for a more recent one], although demand for them died away for a while during the Behaviourist Period. [Note the role played by the process of functional decomposition in working from a context diagram to the level of analytical detail required. For an e-tutorial on how to draw DFDs as cognitive models, see "How to Draw Cognitive Diagrams".]



Data Model: [See firstly data analysis and normalization.] Data models purport to set down all you will ever need to know about the data in your world - how its elements must necessarily be clustered together and interrelated in order to become meaningful, and how you are then likely to have to store and/or retrieve them, and it does this, moreover, in the abstract, and without reference to the hardware you are going to end up using. It follows (a) that data models of this sort could have been drawn up before the computer had been invented and would have looked just the same, and (b) that data modelling is as much a branch of Associationist philosophy as it is an IT skill. It also follows that there is an element of "optionality" about the final choice of physical system, at both the software and hardware architecture level. Data models are vital early products (or should be, at least) in all commercial database design projects, as well as in the design of artificial intelligence simulations such as propositional networks. [For some initial thoughts on what shape a data model of biological cognition might one day take, see self, Bachman diagram of.]



Data Structure: [See firstly data analysis and normalisation.] This is the computer industry's standard term for the abstract and existential qualities of the data characterising a particular application area (in precisely the same way that Platonic forms are ideals of the real world objects available to the biological mind). Data structures are discovered and agreed only by sustained analysis and investigation, and the resulting metadata relating to data fields, field sizes, entity types, records, and relationships need to be carefully recorded in the host system's documentation. The most important of these reference documents will be the data model for said system.



DBA: See Database Administration.



DBMS: See database management system.



DBT: See dialectical behaviour therapy.



DBTG: See database task group.



DDA: See Disability Discrimination Act, 1995.



Death Wish: See aggression, psychodynamic theory and.



Decay: This is the doctrine (originally from Ebbinghaus, 1885) that forgetting can be caused by the gradual disappearance of a memory trace over time. That is to say, you forget because your engrams spontaneously become fainter and fainter over time, unless you revisit them occasionally to refresh them. [Compare interference.]



Declarative Memory: Same as propositional memory.



Decremental Propagation: Small local changes in potential across the cell membrane are easy to induce both electrically and chemically, but if they do not reach the action potential threshold, will simply die away like ripples in a pond. No action potential develops. Until they die away, however, there is a potential gradient spreading outwards from the point of stimulation by "decremental" - that is to say, ever decreasing - propagation.



Deep Learning: [See firstly Bloom's six levels of knowledge.] Term coined by Marton and Saljo (1976a,b) to characterise the learning of issues and principles. [Contrast surface learning.]



Defense Levels and Types: [See firstly defense mechanisms.] Defense levels are George Vaillant's (1977) notion that the full repertoire of defense mechanisms can be divided "conceptually and empirically into related groups" (DSM-IV-TR, 2000, p807). Vaillant's original taxonomy posits four defense levels, as follows [least pathological at the top] .....


"Level 4" - defenses, mature (5 defenses)

"Level 3" - defenses, neurotic (4 defenses)

"Level 2" - defenses, immature (6 defenses)

"Level 1" - defenses, psychotic (3 defenses) [the term "primitive" is also often seen)


The DSM-IV has improved this taxonomy somewhat under seven "type" headers, as follows [least pathological at the top] .....


defenses, high adaptive type (8 defenses)

defenses, compromise formation type (7 defenses)

defenses, minor image-distorting type (3 defenses)

defenses, disavowal type (3 defenses)

defenses, major image-distorting type (3 defenses)

defenses, action type (4 defenses)

defenses, defensive dysregulation type (3 defenses)


Defenses thus acquire an immediate diagnostic value. If you display high adaptive defenses, for example, then you expect less mental health problems than if you display disavowal defenses, and you will be more seriously at risk if you demonstrate action and defensive dysregulation than if you display compromise formation. Indeed, the dysregulatory defenses indicate "failure of defensive regulation to contain the individual's reaction to stressors, leading to a pronounced break with reality" (DSM-IV-TR, 2000, p809).



Defense Mechanisms: [See firstly Freud (1933) on the relative location of ego, superego, id, in the mind.] To borrow a term from modern psycholinguistics, defense mechanisms are the mind's "editing" mechanisms (Hockett, 1967). They sit astride the road upwards out of the unconscious, and censor anything that is likely to "rock the mental boat" in any way. They are thus ways of organising the flow of information from the unconscious back into consciousness, such that hurtful memories are prevented from inflicting their hurt anew. The idea first emerged in the early 19th century, particularly in the writings of Herbart and Schopenhauer, as follows .....


"The easily conceivable metaphysical reason why opposed concepts resist one another is the unity of the soul, of which they are the self-preservations. This reason explains without difficulty the combination of our concepts (which combination is known to exist). [.....] Concepts that are on the threshold of consciousness can not enter into combination with others, as they are completely transformed into effort directed against other definite concepts, and are thereby, as it were, isolated" (Herbert, 1816, ¶22; per Watson, 1979, p93).


Defense mechanisms were then made a cornerstone of Freudian theory in Freud's Project (Freud, 1895). Pribram (1969) explains Freud's specific physiological proposals as follows .....


"Prolonged and intense excitation can be initiated by an affect, i.e. by awareness of a memory of pain and strain [.....]. Such remembrances can stimulate the neurosecretory cells of the nuclear system - and thus start accruing strain anew. The normal organism is not continually strained. Freud postulates, therefore, that the individual develops a defense against this release of neurosecretions. The defense mechanism is conceived as a lateral distribution of excitation in the neural network of the nuclear system, i.e. a distribution in a direction other than the transmission of excitation to the neurosecretory and cortical cells. The defense consists therefore of a diffusion of excitation [..... to] prevent the build-up and maintenance of excessive strain" (Pribram, 1969, pp409-410; emphasis added).


One of the basic Freudian assertions is that there is a biological invariance in the way life experiences progressively organise our available physiology. No matter who you are or where you live, the innate and only-slowly-developing id soon comes to host the self-referenced experiences of the infant in its world. These experiences are added to daily, and what we end up with are the structures of the Freudian mental architecture, that is to say, the id, the ego, and the superego. It follows that the ego can be threatened in three causally distinct ways, namely (a) it gets caught in the crossfire whenever the id decides it wants something which the superego will not allow it to have on the grounds that it is "wrong" in some abstract way, (b) it has to help itself make up its mind whenever the id (which does not operate to the reality principle, remember) decides it wants two things which are physically incompatible, and (c) it has to do the suffering whenever a substantive external threat arises (such as being rejected in a relationship) [note that while the ego may well work to the reality principle there are strict limits to how much reality it can actually cope with]. What defense mechanisms have in common, therefore, is that they help us fool ourselves in order to feel better, and, like so many things in life, you only know how much you need them when they start to fail. Freud's own list of mechanisms was extended by Anna Freud's "The Ego and the Mechanisms of Defense" (Freud, 1937), who explained things thus .....


"Ultimately all such measures are designed to secure the ego and to save it from experiencing unpleasure. However, the ego does not defend itself only against the unpleasure arising from within. In the same early period in which it becomes acquainted with dangerous instinctual stimuli it also experiences unpleasure which has its source in the outside world. The ego is in close contact with that world [..... and t]he greater the importance of the outside world as a source of pleasure and interest, the more opportunity is there to experience unpleasure from that quarter. A little child's ego still lives in accordance with the pleasure principle; it is a long time before it is trained to bear unpleasure. [.....] In this period of immaturity and dependence the ego, besides making efforts to master instinctual stimuli, endeavours in all kinds of ways to defend itself against the objective unpleasure and dangers which menace it" (Freud, 1937/1966, p70).


Modern research tends to concentrate on what combinations of defense mechanisms are viable, and how these combinations relate (a) to other dimensions of personality, and (b) to mental health prognosis. The defense mechanisms accepted by the DSM-IV (2000 edition, p811) are ...


acting out; affiliation; altruism; anticipation; autistic fantasy; denial; devaluation; displacement; dissociation; help-rejecting complaining; humour; idealisation; intellectualisation; isolation of affect; omnipotence; passive aggression; projection; projective identification; rationalisation; reaction formation; repression; self-assertion; self-observation; splitting; sublimation; suppression; undoing.


..... but they are also still regularly referred to according to the earlier Vaillant (1977), DSM-III, and DSM-IV taxonomies [see under defense levels and types].  One's personal selection from the defense repertoire (whichever taxonomy you adopt) defines our "defense style", predicts what mental health problems we are likely to suffer from and how disastrously they are going to affect our lives, and may be assessed using psychometric instruments such as the Defense Style Questionnaire.


TEST YOURSELF NOW: Glance up at the list of defenses above, and note which, if any, fit your conscious understanding of what "makes you tick". Treat this as a minor entertainment, however, because the point about defenses is that they operate at a largely unconscious level, and require the professional skill of a psychotherapist to identify with any certainty.


BREAKING RESEARCH: Kreitler and Kreitler (2004) have recently observed that surprisingly little is known about the acquisition, selection, and "cognitive roots" (p185) of defense mechanisms, nor about their impact on overt behaviour, nor their relation to personality traits. They present a body of theory based around a construct named cognitive orientation, which they believe addresses many of these weaknesses [we particularly like their characterisation of defense mechanisms as special-purpose action schemas], and they present empirical data in support of this approach.



Defense Style: [See firstly defense levels and types.] A defense style [properly, an "ego defense style"] is an individually characteristic pattern in the selection of defense mechanisms when faced with a threat. The term was coined by Bond et al (1983) in a factor analytic study which identified four main clusters of defense types. Defense styles may be differentiated from coping styles by the extent to which consciousness and the reality principle are involved in the decision making. Coping behaviours, for example, are generally presumed to be rationally and flexibly selected, whilst defense mechanisms are generally presumed to be unconsciously determined according to the secret dictates of the individual's psychosexual make-up, and accordingly largely inflexible (Haan, 1965). Coping behaviours are thus both available to introspection and consciously justifiable before, during, and after their execution, whilst defensive behaviours are not.  Some research groups have even reported that coping as a skill is correlated with IQ whilst defense is not. Others have reported strong correlations between a patient's acknowledgment of anxiety and depression and his/her position on the locus of control dimension (Lefcourt, 1976). Romans et al (1999/2006 online) have studied the "psychological defense styles" of 354 New Zealand women, 173 of whom had reported having been sexually abused as children. They suspected that the package of "adverse psychological and social effects" which such abuse can produce in adults was the result of an intervening immaturity of defense styles. They gathered data using the DSQ and the DES. Data from the DSQ confirmed not just that women who had been victims of childhood sexual abuse used less mature defenses, but also that "the more severe forms of childhood sexual abuse [were] associated with the least mature defensive styles". Date from the DES, on the other hand, indicated few differences between the study and control groups.



Defense Style Questionnaire (DSQ): [See firstly clinical psychometrics and defense styles.] The DSQ is a self-report psychometric assessment of how an individual habitually uses a particular combination of ego defenses when threatened. It appeared in prototype form in Bond and Vaillant (1986), and has since been upgraded in the light of further research, shortened, and translated. It adopts the distinction between "mature", "neurotic", and "immature" defense clusters. Questions take the form "Do you feel that people tend to mistreat you?" [thus probing the projection defense mechanism], and are scored on a 9-point Likert scale from "completely agree" to "completely disagree".



Defenses, Action Type: [See firstly defense levels and types.] The individual defense mechanisms listed as "action" by the DSM-IV classification are as follows [for definitions and examples, see the individual entries] .....


acting out; apathetic withdrawal; help-rejecting complaining; passive aggression



Defenses, Compromise Formation Type: [See firstly defense levels and types.] The individual defense mechanisms listed as "compromise formation" by the DSM-IV classification are as follows [for definitions and examples, see the individual entries] .....


displacement; dissociation; intellectualisation; isolation of affect; reaction formation; repression; undoing



Defenses, Defensive Dysregulation Type: [See firstly defense levels and types.] The individual defense mechanisms listed as "defensive dysregulation" by the DSM-IV classification are as follows [for definitions and examples, see the individual entries] .....


delusional projection; psychotic denial; psychotic distortion



Defenses, Disavowal Type: [See firstly defense levels and types.] The individual defense mechanisms listed as "disavowal" by the DSM-IV classification are as follows [for definitions and examples, see the individual entries] .....


denial; projection; rationalisation



Defenses, High Adaptive Type: [See firstly defense levels and types.] The individual defense mechanisms listed as "high adaptive" by the DSM-IV classification are as follows [for definitions and examples, see the individual entries] .....


anticipation; affiliation; altruism; humour; self-assertion; self-observation; sublimation; suppression



Defenses, Immature: [See firstly defense levels and types.] [Also known as "Level 2 defenses".] This is the third most pathological of the four levels of defense identified by Vaillant (1977), and consists of the following individual mechanisms [for definitions and examples, see the individual entries] .....


acting out; hypochondriasis; passive-aggressive behaviour; projection; schizoid fantasy


The deployment of immature defenses in one's life has been linked to poor adjustment and above average divorce rates.



Defenses, Mature: [See firstly defense levels and types.] [Also known as "Level 4 defenses".] This is the least pathological of the four levels of defense identified by Vaillant (1977), and consists of the following individual mechanisms [for definitions and examples, see the individual entries] .....


altruism; anticipation; humour; humour suppression; sublimation


All other things being equal, the deployment of mature defenses in one's life seems to be the key to happiness and fulfilment.



Defenses, Minor Image-Distorting Type: [See firstly defense levels and types.] The individual defense mechanisms listed as "minor image-distorting" by the DSM-IV classification are as follows [for definitions and examples, see the individual entries] .....


devaluation; idealisation; omnipotence



Defenses, Major Image-Distorting Type: [See firstly defense levels and types.] The individual defense mechanisms listed as "major image-distorting" by the DSM-IV classification are as follows [for definitions and examples, see the individual entries] .....


autistic fantasy; projective identification; splitting (of self-image or image of others)



Defenses, Neurotic: [See firstly defense levels and types.] [Also known as "Level 3 defenses".] This is the second most pathological of the four levels of defense identified by Vaillant (1977), and consists of the following individual mechanisms  [for definitions and examples, see the individual entries] .....


association; intellectualisation; reaction formation; repression



Defenses, Psychotic: [See firstly defense levels and types.] [Also known as "Level 1 defenses".]  This is the most pathological of the four levels of defense identified by Vaillant (1977), and consists of the following individual mechanisms  [for definitions and examples, see the individual entries] .....


delusional projection; projection; psychotic denial



Degeneracy: See consciousness, Edelman and Tononi's theory of.



Deixis: [Greek deiktikos = "able to show".] Deixis (adjectival form "deictic") refers to any use of language to point in some way at a referent. However, as that referent might have been mentioned many words beforehand, or even established without specific mention, it follows that the success of a given deictic intent will often depend upon context. Fillmore (1971/1997) dates the formal study of deixis as "deictics" to Frei (1944), and as "indexicals" to Bar-Hillel (1954). [For more of the technicalities of deixis, see the companion Psycholinguistics Glossary.]



Delusional Projection: [See firstly delusions and projection.] This is one of the defense mechanisms postulated by psychoanalytic theory. It is classified as a "psychotic" (or "primitive", or "level 1") defense by Vaillant (1977), and as a "defensive dysregulation" defense type by the DSM-IV. It is strictly speaking a subtype of projection, but one which has been complicated and intensified by a distorted evidence stream over and above the process of libidinal mis-attachment. Example: To be haunted by the false belief that person X wants to hurt you [false because in fact you want to hurt person X] is projection, but to delusively see evidence of X plotting against you would make it delusive projection.



Delusions: Delusions are a major element in differential diagnosis under DSM-IV, although they need to be more than just "unusual" before they can be taken into account. Here is the official definition: "[A delusion is a] false belief based on incorrect inference about external reality that is firmly sustained despite what almost everyone else believes and despite [.....] evidence to the contrary" (First, Frances, and Pincus, 1995, p41).



Democritus: [Greek Atomist philosopher and mathematician (floruit ca. 400BCE).] [Click for external biography] See Atomism.



Denial: This is one of the defense mechanisms postulated by psychoanalytic theory, and recognised by the DSM-IV as belonging to the "disavowal" defense level. It presents as a refusal to acknowledge a demonstrably factual truth. In that such refusals are part of the normal grieving process, denial is not necessarily pathological - someone who has just been told they have a fatal condition may rely for a time on denial in order to keep their fear and hopelessness at bay. Its particular function has been described by Garrett (2002/2006 online) as being to create a "private version of reality", one in which diametric opposites of the hurtful facts are stored. Garrett has analysed the role of denial of this sort in the defenses put up by addicted individuals .....


"Addiction constructs a self and a world that are congruent with its preservation and progress; and it renders difficult if not impossible the experience of a self and a world that are incongruent with its aims. The addictive process eventually transforms the worldview of the addicted individual and even realigns his sense of himself - his identity - so that they facilitate and do not obstruct the continued expression of the addiction. [.....] Just as a powerful river finds or creates channels around anything obstructing its flow, so does the addictive process defeat the rational and ethical resistances of the person within which it is active."



Dennett, Daniel C.: [American philosopher (1942-).] [Homepage] [Click for external biography] In this Glossary we mention Dennett's work under several headings, so for the full picture we suggest starting with consciousness, Dennett's theory of and following the onward pointers.



Depersonalisation: See under derealisation and depersonalisation and then see depersonalisation disorder.



Depersonalisation Disorder: This is one of the five DSM-IV disorder groups under the category header of dissociative disorders. It was first described by Dugas (1898), and is characterised by "prominent depersonalisation and often derealisation, without clinically notable memory or identity disturbances" (Berrios, Sierra, and Simeon, 2004) [online abstract] or as "persistent or recurrent experiences of feeling detached from, and as if one is an outside observer of, one's mental processes or body (e.g., feeling like one is in a dream)" (Mental Health Foundation). The point about the feelings of detachment from one's own body is that the patient knows those feelings to be illusory. Depersonalisation is the third most common psychiatric experience, after anxiety and depression, and often follows exposure to life-threatening danger (PsychNet).



Depressed Mood: "Depressed or dysphoric mood is one of the most common presenting symptoms in mental health settings and is a component of many psychiatric conditions" (First, Frances, and Pincus, 1995, p46). See now dysphoria.



Depressive Disorders: This is the DSM-IV header category for three specific disorder groups, namely depressive disorder not otherwise specified, dysthymic disorder, and major depressive disorder. Hook and Andrews (2006) have found that approximately one in five Britons suffer depression at some stage in their lives. Moreover, more than half those who had been treated for depression confessed to having been too ashamed to disclose all their symptoms, which resulted in poorer therapy outcome.



Derealisation: See derealisation and depersonalisation.



Derealisation and Depersonalisation: "Derealisation" (feelings of dream-like disconnection from the world) and "depersonalisation" (loss or distortion of self concept and/or body image) are clinical signs used in the differential diagnosis of psychiatric disorders, especially those such as borderline personality disorder, dissociative identity disorder, and the schizo-series of disorders, where the ability to relate internal and external reality is fundamentally impaired.



DES: See Dissociative Experiences Scale.



Descartes, René: [French archetypal Renaissance man (1596-1650).] [Click for external biography] From time to time lawyer, soldier, mathematician, essayist, physicist, and mental philosopher, Descartes is famous today for his "Cartesian coordinates" and his "Cartesian dualism". [See now consciousness, Descartes' theory of for the generalities, and the separate entries for automaton, dualism, ego cogito, and rationalism for the most important of the specifics.]



"Descartes' Myth": See consciousness, Ryle's theory of.



Desirable Difficulties: This is Bjork's (1994) term for deliberately challenging educational experiences, the point being that they make for deeper, and therefore more enduring learning.



Determinism: Determinism is "the philosophical doctrine that human action is not free but necessarily determined by motives, which are regarded as external forces acting upon the will" (O.E.D.). It is thus one of the two philosophical / religious systems which deny a role for free will in guiding human behaviour (the other being Fatalism).



Devaluation: This is one of the defense mechanisms postulated by psychoanalytic theory, and recognised by the DSM-IV as belonging to the "minor image-distorting" defense level. It presents as a systematic character assassination of the traumatising person or event, such as might be seen in rape victims who thereafter devalue virginity, or in rejected partners thereafter denigrating their ex-objects of affection. It is, in common language, a "didn't want it anyway" defense.



Developmental Dyscalculia: See learning disability and special educational need, the basics.



Developmental Dyslexia: See learning disability and special educational need, the basics.



Developmental Dyspraxia: See learning disability and special educational need, the basics.



DEX: See Behavioural Assessment of the Dysexecutive Syndrome Test.



DFD: See dataflow diagram.



Diagnostic Terminology, General: For an introduction to the subset of NHS medical diagnostic terminology and abbreviations likely to be encountered by Speech and Language Therapists, see the companion resource.



Diairesis: [Greek = "division; distribution; distinction" (O.C.G.D.).] This classical Greek term was adopted by Heidegger (1927/1962), to help explain how every affirmation (itself a synthesis of selected ideas) is, by virtue of the fact that it excludes all the de-selected ideas, also a denial, or diairesis, an argument which he puts so much better himself, as follows .....


"When considered philosophically, the Logos itself is an entity, and [.....] something present-at-hand. Words are proximally present-at-hand; that is to say, we come across them just as we come across Things; and this holds for any sequence of words, as that in which the Logos expresses itself. In this first search for the structure of the Logos as thus present-at-hand, what was found was the Being-present-at-hand-together of several words. What establishes the unity of this 'together'? As Plato knew, this unity lies in the fact that the L is always Logos tinos. In the Logos an entity is manifest, and with a view to this entity, the words are put together in one verbal whole. Aristotle saw this more radically: every Logos is both synthesis and diairesis, not just the one (call it 'affirmative judgment') or the other (call it 'negative judgment') [and] every assertion, whether it affirms or denies, whether it is true or false, is synthesis and diairesis equiprimordially. To exhibit anything is to take it together and take it apart" (Being and Time, p201).



Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT): [See firstly interventions.] This is a variant form of behaviour therapy devised by Linehan (1991). It is specifically designed for use with cases of borderline personality disorder and other conditions characterised by emotional lability. It is founded on the belief that many people react abnormally to emotional stimulation. Kiehn and Swales (1995/2006 online) explain it this way .....


"The term 'Invalidating Environment' refers essentially to a situation in which the personal experiences and responses of the growing child are disqualified or 'invalidated' by the significant others in her life. The child's personal communications are not accepted as an accurate indication of her true feelings and it is implied that, if they were accurate, then such feelings would not be a valid response to circumstances. Furthermore, an Invalidating Environment is characterised by a tendency to place a high value on self-control and self-reliance. Possible difficulties in these areas are not acknowledged and it is implied that problem solving should be easy given proper motivation. Any failure on the part of the child to perform to the expected standard is therefore ascribed to lack of motivation or some other negative characteristic of her character. [.....] Linehan suggests that an emotionally vulnerable child can be expected to experience particular problems in such an environment. She will neither have the opportunity accurately to label and understand her feelings nor will she learn to trust her own responses to events. Neither is she helped to cope with situations that she may find difficult or stressful, since such problems are not acknowledged. It may be expected then that she will look to other people for indications of how she should be feeling and to solve her problems for her. However, it is in the nature of such an environment that the demands that she is allowed to make on others will tend to be severely restricted. The child's behaviour may then oscillate between opposite poles of emotional inhibition in an attempt to gain acceptance and extreme displays of emotion in order to have her feelings acknowledged. [.....] Linehan suggests that a particular consequence of this state of affairs will be a failure to understand and control emotions; a failure to learn the skills required for 'emotion modulation'. Given the emotional vulnerability of these individuals this is postulated to result in a state of 'emotional dysregulation' which combines in a transactional manner with the Invalidating Environment to produce the typical symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder. Patients with BPD frequently describe a history of childhood sexual abuse and this is regarded within the model as representing a particularly extreme form of invalidation" (Kiehn and Swales, op. cit.; emphasis added).


The essence of the technique is that communication between therapist and patient should follow the thesis-antithesis-synthesis structure of the classical dialogues, thus preventing polarised beliefs. It is thus a gradual and progressive technique designed for the emotionally vulnerable, and one of the few commitments on the part of the patient is that s/he must commit to attend for a sufficient length of time (typically one year). [For a detailed briefing on the history and successes of DBT, see the CIGNA Healthcare Coverage Position thereon - click here to be transferred.]



Dianoia: [Greek = "thought, intellect, mind; opinion, intention" (O.C.G.D.); "understanding" (Peters); "thinking" (Beare).] Usages of the word dianoia are noted by Peters in Plato as  "a type of cognition between doxa and noesis" (p37), and in Aristotle as "a more general term for intellectual activity" (ibid.) with a three-way subdivision into episteme, techne, and phronesis.



Differential Diagnosis, Psychiatric: Differential diagnosis within the mental health professions is assisted by the DSM-IV or its European equivalents, and makes use of a wide variety of more or less objective clinical indicators, including those following .....


delusional projection; delusions; distractibility; dysphoria [see under depressed mood]; euphoria [see under elevated or irritable mood]; hallucinations; hypersomnia; impulsivity; irrational anxiety about appearance; insomnia; memory impairment; nymphomania; pain; panic attack; poor school performance; psychomotor retardation; self-mutilation; sexual dysfunction; stressor; suicidal ideation.



Dilthey, Wilhelm: [German social scientist  (1833-1911).] [Click for external biography] See experience, experiential.



Ding-an-Sich: [Philosophical German = "the noumenon, the thing-in-itself" (C.G.D.).] This is Kant's Germanisation of the Greek word noumenon, and indicates that element of the broader process of aesthesis which precedes the phenomenon [see both noumenon and consciousness, Kant's theory of]. [See now the criticism in consciousness, Ryle's theory of.]



Dinge Überhaupt: [German Dinge = "things" + Überhaupt = "in general".] In his Critique of Pure Reason, Kant introduced the notion of things "as such" (e.g., p89) or "themselves" (e.g., p99). But he did so rather gradually, and using the German nouns Dinge and Sache interchangeably.



Direct Access: [See firstly field, file, file types, and record.] [Optionally "random access"] This is computerese for the ability of a given computer architecture to go straight to a specific record of stored data upon demand, regardless of the number of other records contained in that file. There are a number of ways in which this facility can be achieved, but the end result is always that one or more fields on the record type in question act as a key, and their values (e.g., the name <SMITH>) are used to produce a unique storage address. Example: To see some impressive direct access technology at work, simply click on the following ISBN <1900666081> and reflect on what is going on as your system takes you possibly several thousand miles to your destination and gets you what you have asked it to get. And if you can work that out, try this one - how does your mind hear the question "What's a spanner for?" and come straight back with an answer!!



Direct Perception: See perception, direct.



Directed Attention: [See firstly consciousness, Heidegger's theory of, especially the third temporary definition of Dasein.] This is Heidegger's term for the cognitive system's ability to turn both distal and rostral elements of the perceptual system towards a selected subset of the external world (that is to say, everything from the physical orientation of the sensory systems themselves to the conceptual orientation of ongoing train of thought). This reflects a uniquely valuable aspect of Heidegger's theorising, namely its emphasis on the "closeness" or "being alongside" of things regardless of their physical proximity. It is thus the process which supports our "circumspective concern". Here is the basic rule .....


"What is ready-to-hand in our everyday dealings has the character of closeness. To be exact, this closeness of equipment has already been intimated in the term 'readiness-to-hand', which expresses the Being of equipment. Every entity that is 'to hand' has a different closeness, which is not to be ascertained by measuring distances. [.....] When this closeness of the equipment has been given directionality, this signifies not merely that the equipment has its position [Stelle] in space as present-at-hand somewhere, but also that as equipment it has been essentially fitted up and installed, set up, and put to rights. [.....] The regional orientation of the multiplicity of places belonging to the ready-to-hand goes to make up the aroundness - the 'round-about-us' [das Um-uns-herum] - of those entities which we encounter as closest environmentally" (Heidegger, Being and Time, pp135-136).



"Directedness" of the Ego: See ego, "directedness" of.



Disability: This is the superordinate classifier for the individual conditions described elsewhere as "disabilities", "impairments", "difficulties", and "disorders", both cognitive (learning, attention, and language) and physical (sensory and skeletomuscular). The substantive content is fragmented to individual entries, however, so where you go next depends on your personal line of investigation. Here are the main options: (1) If you are not sure what you are looking for, and would like a quick review of the various conditions and syndromes, see learning disability and special educational need, the basics. (2) If you are interested in the legislation, see learning disability, legal background to. (3) If you are interested in specific opportunities for remediation, see learning disability, cognitive science of.


WAS THIS A SENSITIVE TOPIC FOR YOU?: If for any reason you have been emotionally affected by any of the issues dealt with in this entry, you will find professionally prepared information packs and competent helpline staff at the contact points identified below or at a number of other websites readily accessible over the Internet. UK readers will probably find it best to start with the information on disability issues in general available at the Direct.Gov website. To explore disability rights issues, check out the Disability Rights Commission website. Non-UK Readers will need to refer to the healthcare, social, and educational services in the country concerned, although the UK-based websites will give a general indication of the issues. All Readers: Should a hyperlink no longer be active, please contact the author to have it reinstated.



Disability Discrimination Act, 1995: The UK Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1995 aimed to end the discrimination that many disabled people faced in the UK. It gave disabled people rights in the areas of employment, education, access to goods, facilities and services, and buying or renting land or property. The Act also allowed the government to set minimum standards so that disabled people could use public transport easily. [Full text online]



Disability Discrimination Act, 2005: The UK Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 2005 extended existing provisions in the DDA 1995, by, for example, making it unlawful for operators of transport vehicles to discriminate against disabled people, and ensuring that discrimination law covers all the activities of the public sector.



Disability Rights Commission (DRC): This UK governmental body was set up in 1999 to enforce the Disability Discrimination Act, 1995. As a quick visit to their official website will confirm [take me there], their functions include lobbying and information provision in the service of equal rights as citizens for disabled persons.



Disclosure: [See firstly consciousness, Heidegger's theory of.] This is the term used by Heidegger (1927/1962) to explain how a Being's Dasein comes to understand itself in the process of becoming an Existence. The initial definitions are not too taxing .....


"'Disclose' and 'disclosedness' will be used as technical terms in the passages that follow, and shall signify 'to lay open' and 'the character of having been laid open'. Thus 'to disclose' never means anything like 'to obtain indirectly by inference'" (Being and Time, p105; in their translation of Being and Time, Macquarrie and Robinson (1962) draw our attention to the fact that Heidegger's original German uses both aufschliessen and erschliessen apparently interchangeably to describe the process of disclosure. Both these words signify "laying open" (p105f)).


..... but the theoretical applications are then subtle, as follows (two long passages heavily abridged; look for the mentions of uncovering) .....


"Let us suppose that someone with his back turned to the wall makes the true assertion that 'the picture on the wall is hanging askew'. This assertion demonstrates itself when the man who makes it turns around and perceives the picture hanging askew on the wall. What gets demonstrated in this demonstration? [Discussion of options] Asserting is a way of Being toward the Thing itself that is. And what does one's perceiving of it demonstrate? Nothing else than that this Thing is the very entity which one has in mind in one's assertion. What comes up for confirmation is that this entity is pointed out by the Being in which the assertion is made - which is Being towards what is put forward in the assertion; thus what is to be confirmed is that such Being uncovers the entity towards which it is. What gets demonstrated is the Being-uncovering of the assertion" (pp260-261).


"Our earlier analysis of the worldhood of the world and of entities-within-the-world has shown, however, that the uncoveredness of entities within-the-world is grounded in the world's disclosedness. But disclosedness is that basic character of Dasein according to which it is its 'there'. Disclosedness is constituted by state-of-mind, understanding, and discourse, and pertains equiprimordially to the world, to Being-in, and to the self" (p263)


We need to persevere with this issue, however, because the concept of disclosure has recently been resurrected in the context of the artificial consciousness debate - see the entry for Dasein, artificial.



<DISCONNECT>: [See firstly <CONNECT>.] The "DISCONNECT" is the DBTG database instruction responsible for optionally removing a MEMBER from a SET, where membership of that set has been declared optional in the database schema.



Discourse: See this entry in the companion Psycholinguistics Glossary.



Discourse Analysis: See this entry in the companion Psycholinguistics Glossary.



Discrimination Errors: In the context of cognitive ergonomics, this is Rasmussen's (1982) term for a class of "mechanisms of human malfunction" (p327) characterised by a failure to select "the proper level of behaviour in an abnormal situation" (p318), thus .....


"These error mechanisms are consequences of the fact that data in the environment cannot be considered input information to a passive data processor. In the three levels of behaviour [Rasmussen is here referring to knowledge-, rule-, or skill-based- levels of cognition - Ed.], a man uses basically different information [depending] on an active choice, and error mechanisms are related to his bias or fixation for this choice. [Moreover, t]he level applied in a given situation depends strongly upon the degree of training of the operator, and it is seen that error data collected from routine task situations are not applicable in unfamiliar, infrequent situations (such as emergencies), irrespective of the effects of stress and similar factors" (Rasmussen, 1982, pp318-319).


Four subtypes of discrimination error were then identified, according to the following diagnostic sequence [we have re-rendered the relevant parts of Rasmussen's Figure 8, a logic flowchart, as pseudocode] .....



YES = exit this diagnostic; there may well be errors in executing the routine, but they will not be discrimination errors; NO = ask Q2



YES = ask Q3; NO = discrimination error; subtype stereotype fixation



YES = ask Q4; NO = the situation is "unique"; ask Q5



YES = ask Q6; NO= discrimination error; subtype familiar pattern not recognised



YES = exit this diagnostic; there may well be further errors, but they will not be discrimination errors; NO= if the operator fails to recognise that a situation is unique, then s/he may mistakenly invoke an inappropriate procedure, so ask Q9



YES = ask Q7; NO= if the operator realises that the anomaly is covered by an exception procedure, but fails for whatever reason to initiate it, then ask Q9



YES = ask Q8; NO= exit this diagnostic; there may well be further errors, but they will not be discrimination errors



YES = discrimination error, subtype stereotype take-over; NO= exit this diagnostic; there may well be further errors, but they will not be discrimination errors



YES = discrimination error, subtype familiar association short-cut; NO = exit this diagnostic; there may well be further errors, but they will not be discrimination errors



Disease, Forgery of: This is Feldman's (2004, p20) term for the conscious concoction of the signs and symptoms of disease (as opposed to the unconscious processes presumed to be at work in the various somatoform disorders).  Here, in the author's own words, are the key points .....


"The signs and symptoms of illness can be created in several ways: (1) Exaggerations, such as the patient who claims to have devastating, incapacitating, migraines but really has only occasional mild tension headaches; (2) False Reports, as in the patient who groans about severe back pains but isn't really having any pain at all; (3) Falsification of Signs, as in the patient who alters a laboratory report, manipulates a thermometer, or spoils a urine specimen so abnormalities appear; (4) Simulations of Signs and/or Symptoms, such as mimicking the symptoms of a brain tumour [.....]; (5) Dissimulations, which involve patients who conceal illnesses to allow them to progress before they seek medical attention (perhaps the most difficult to detect); (6) Aggravations, such as rubbing dirt into a laceration from a spontaneous fall; and (7) Self-Induced Signs or Diseases, as in the patient who complains of fever and pain after actually inducing an infection by injecting herself with bacteria" (Feldman, 2004, pp20-21).



Disorders of Simulation: See disease, forgery of.



Displacement: This is one of the defense mechanisms postulated by psychoanalytic theory. It works by allowing one's aggression, or other disallowed emotional impulses, to be redirected onto a target other than their true focus - including even oneself. We might suspect displacement, for example, in someone known to be unhappy with superiors at work, but who reserves the resulting aggression for those at home who are less able to fight back. Displacement of aggression onto the self is presumed to be a major factor in depression and suicide.



Dissociation (1/2/3):


"When experiencing trauma, we have three choices:

we die, we go crazy, or we dissociate" (Adriani, 2004 online).


There are three distinct (but ultimately inter-related) usages of the word "dissociation" in modern cognitive science, as follows .....


(1) Dissociation as Active Process in Freudian Defense:  As used within the psychodynamic theories, "dissociation" is a defense mechanism. Its particular function is to protect the ego by in essence upgrading its ability to keep one set of ideas from another, perhaps with concomitant change in personal identity. Here is how one Internet source summarises the mechanism .....


"[Dissociation is a s]plitting-off a group of thoughts or activities from the main portion of consciousness; compartmentalization. Example: a politician works vigorously for integrity in government, but at the same time engages in a business venture involving a conflict of interest without being consciously hypocritical and seeing no connection between the two activities. Some dissociation is helpful in keeping one portion of one's life from interfering with another (e.g., not bringing problems home from the office).  However, dissociation is responsible for some symptoms of mental illness; it occurs in "hysteria" (certain somatoform and dissociative disorders) and schizophrenia, The dissociation of hysteria involves a large segment of the consciousness while that in schizophrenia is of numerous small portions" [source].


Dissociation of this sort has been defined as a "psychophysiological process whereby information - incoming, stored, or outgoing - is actively deflected from integration with its usual or expected associations [.....] so that for a period of time certain information is not associated or integrated with other information as it normally or logically would be" (West, 1967, p890), and it could be readily simulated in an artificial semantic network "mind" using the DBTG <DISCONNECT> instruction. We also like the following "tell it like it is" summary of the topic .....


"When we come to this world, we are born whole with a safe set of boundaries. However, when abuse occurs, those boundaries are violated. The trauma is experienced as a forced exposure in an unsafe environment. When experiencing trauma, we have three choices: we die, we go crazy, or we dissociate. Those of us that are creative and intelligent learn to dissociate in order to symbolically escape when we cannot physically escape. Dissociation is a protection mechanism" (Adriani, 2004 online; emphasis added). [The bitter irony in Adriani's neat scheme of things is that if we dissociate just a little too much it starts to create a craziness of its own, meaning that dissociation is only a partial solution to the protection problem.]


(2) Dissociation as Resultant State of Memory or Personality: As used outside psychodynamic theory, "dissociation" is a clinical sign used in the differential diagnosis of psychiatric disorders, especially the eponymous dissociative identity disorder. It has been defined for that purpose as "disruption in the usually integrated functions of consciousness, memory, identity, or perception of the environment" (First, Frances, and Pincus, 1995, p82). This is a complex notion to grasp, so here are some typical dissociative behaviours [for a more formal list of indicative behaviours see Dissociative Experiences Scale] .....


the ability to ignore pain; the ability to remember the past so vividly that one seems to be re-living it; missing part of a conversation; memory loss (see next)


Putnam (1989) describes multiple personality disorder as "the ultimate" dissociative disorder (p59), and states that all MPD patients suffer some form of dissociative symptoms. Amnesias for periods of time are the single most common dissociative symptoms (ibid.). [See also revolving door crisis.]


(3) Dissociation of Function: Within neuropsychology, the word "dissociation" refers to the selective loss of a particular cognitive ability following a localised brain injury, so named because the failing ability "dissociates"- that is to say, moves away - from the remaining intact abilities. One of the classic examples of a dissociation is the disproportionate damage done to the fluency of language production produced by relatively small lesions in Broca's Area.


BREAKING RESEARCH: For more on the potential role of "abnormal connectivity" in preventing or degrading the integration of multi-modular cognitive processing, see functional connectivity and its onward links. For more on dissociation in computer simulations of the mind, see firstly Dasein, artificial, and database corruption.



Dissociation of Consciousness: See dissociation (1) and hysteria.



Dissociative Disorders: [See firstly dissociation (2).] This is the DSM-IV header category for five specific disorder groups, namely depersonalisation disorder, dissociative amnesia, dissociative disorder not otherwise specified, dissociative fugue, and dissociative identity disorder. These five disorders have in common a less than fully integrated cognitive architecture, that is to say, a functional architecture in which the component  functional domains are less responsive to each other than they are in the non-clinical population, to the detriment of the overall system's ability to relate effectively with the world.


BREAKING RESEARCH: For more on the potential role of "abnormal connectivity" in preventing or degrading the maximal integration of multi-modular cognitive processing, see functional connectivity and its onward links. For more on dissociation in computer simulations of the mind, see firstly Dasein, artificial, and database corruption.



Dissociative Disorder Not Otherwise Specified: This is one of the five DSM-IV disorder groups under the category header of dissociative disorders. It covers cases where there is an "experience of external spirits 'taking control'" (First, Frances, and Pincus, 1995, p184).



Dissociative Experiences Scale (DES): [See firstly clinical psychometrics] The DES is a formally published psychometric profiling instrument for use in the differential diagnosis of-and-within the dissociative disorders.  As the name indicates, its focus is on the phenomenological aspects of the disorder, that is to say, dissociation as it is consciously experienced by the person being assessed. The test appeared in prototype form in Bernstein and Putnam (1986), and in its final form consists of a 28-item self-report questionnaire probing how often and to what extent the patient has certain experiences.


ASIDE: For a fuller introduction to the instrument and its applications, click here [this resource courtesy of the Colin A. Ross Institute]. Kretz (1999) has compared the young adult experiences of high and low dissociative female undergraduates, and found that high dissociators were significantly more likely to report having experienced sexual abuse since age 17. But beware the special care likely to be needed when interpreting the self-reported experiences of a class of individuals whose powers of focused experience are themselves suspect!



Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID): This is one of the five DSM-IV disorder groups under the category header of dissociative disorders. It is the psychiatric condition which used to go by the name multiple personality disorder [see that entry for the relevant history]. It has been formally defined as "the occurrence of two or more personalities within the same individual, each of which during sometime in person's life is able to take control" (PsychNet-UK), and is characterised by short-term or persistent depersonalisation or derealisation, memory impairment, and self-mutilation. The explanation of this phenomenon may lie in an "overwhelmingly traumatic" past, which patients can only escape from in their head, although Van der Hart and Brown (1992/2006 online) have cautioned against over-reliance on the principle of abreaction in devising treatment. Stern (2002) expresses a degree of dissatisfaction with theorists who emphasise only that the self "is not unitary but multiple" (p693) .....


"I am aware that the most sophisticated of these critiques take the balanced position that, whereas the actual structure of self experience may be multiple, discontinuous, and, in pathology, rigidly dissociated, there is an adaptive need for the illusion of unity and continuity in a person's sense of self or identity (Mitchell, 1993; Bromberg, 1998). I am also aware of the argument [of Lachmann (1996)] to the effect that [.....] there is a developmental striving toward integrated selfhood that lends a sense of unity to one's overall self-experience" (Stern, 2002, p694).


Stern then proposes a third way, arguing that the "horizontal dynamic systems model" (p694) of psychological organisation is in fact not at all incompatible with the "vertical structural" model. Quite the contrary, in fact, because only by integrating the two models do you appreciate the true complexity of the self. Stern goes on to consider the "relational structure of momentary experience" (p696), by which he means the way in which "the present psychological moment" is evaluated, thus .....


"It is only in the present moment that one feels cohesive or fragmented, authentic or inauthentic, vitalised or depleted, well or poorly regulated, the centre of one's own initiative or at the mercy of others. It is my contention that the overall quality of self-experience in any given moment is a function of the momentary relationship between two aspects or categories of self-experience [and] it is often disjunctures in this intrapsychic relationship that set the conditions for pathologically dissociated 'selves'. [.....] the division I have in mind encompasses more than superego injunctions to an id-driven ego [.....] rather it is structured by internalisations of all significant interactions with early objects; may involve any of the primary motivational systems [and], as we now understand, begins at birth, not during the oedipal period" (pp696-697).


Stern then adopts Bollas' (1987) notion that there is an aspect of psychic functioning - closely matching what we like to call the ego - which is responsible "for sensing the true self, responding to it, and relating it to the external world" (p697). The relationship between the ego and "the true self" is one in which "the ego comes to treat the self in ways very similar to the ways the early caregivers treated the child" (p697). This is how Stern summarises this process .....


"If we think of childhood [.....] as a series of intersubjective moments or interaction sequences, within each sequence the child brings a primary subjective experience, which is met by some response or initiative from the caregiver. Over the course of each interactive sequence, the inner state that the child started with is transformed by the interaction; and, through many repetitions of similar moments, the infant forms and internalises representations of that transformational interaction sequence. Such presymbolic internalised representations are thought to form the basis of psychological structure [citations]. Indeed it is this kind of structure that is thought by relational theorists to provide the basis for the multiplicity of self-experience" (p697; emphasis added).


He then presents the case of Lisa in support of this analysis. Lucente (1988), likewise, focuses his attention on the experience of one's sense of identity. He adopts Mahler, Pine, and Bergman's (1975) dual unity construct, and reports case Karla as an examplar of an adolescent whose explanations of her own behaviour [the theft of clothes and valuables while babysitting] combined the incompatible cognitions of two identity systems.


BREAKING RESEARCH: For more on the potential role of "abnormal connectivity" in preventing or degrading the maximal integration of multi-modular cognitive processing, see functional connectivity and its onward links.



Distractibility: [See firstly differential diagnosis, psychiatric.] Distractibility is a clinical sign used in the differential diagnosis of psychiatric disorders. In that context, the word may generally be interpreted in its everyday sense, although the formal definition highlights an underlying "inability to filter out extraneous stimuli when attempting to concentrate on a particular task or activity" (First, Frances, and Pincus, 1995, p57). Distractibility is a major element in the differential diagnosis of-and-within the various attention-deficit and disruptive behaviour disorders.



DMS: See depressive mixed states.



Doctrine of Substantial Forms: See substantial forms, doctrine of.



Dollard, John: [American psychologist (1900-1980).] Click for external biography] Dollard is noteworthy in the context of the present glossary for his work on aggression, frustration and.



Domestic Violence: See aggression, family violence and and battered child syndrome.



Dora: See case, clinical, Dora.



Dore Method: See case, Susie Dore



Double Depression: This is the term applied to patients whose dysthymic disorder has lasted over two years, since at this juncture the DSM-IV permits them to be reclassified as a major depressive disorder.



Doxa: [Greek = "opinion, notion; expectation [etc.]" (O.C.G.D.); "judgment" (Peters).] According to Peters (1967), the usage of this word indicates "an inferior grade of cognition" (p40), short of "true knowledge" [episteme].



Doxic: [See firstly doxa.] A forcibly anglicised adjectival version of the Greek doxa, referring to that area of cognition which supports the holding or expression of beliefs and opinions.



DRC: See Disability Rights Commission.



Dretske's Pumpkin: This particular thought experiment is described in consciousness, Dretske's theory of.



Dreyfus, Hubert L.: [American philosopher (1929-).] [Homepage] Dreyfus has been described as "without equal at explaining Heidegger's philosophy" (Magee, 1991), and sets great theoretical store by Heidegger's being-in-the-world construct, thus .....


"Heidegger questions the view that experience is always and most basically a relation between a self-contained subject with mental content (the inner) and an independent object (the outer). Heidegger does not deny that we sometimes experience ourselves as conscious subjects relating to objects by way of intentional states such as desires, beliefs, perceptions, intuitions, etc., but he thinks of this as a derivative and intermittent condition that presupposes a more fundamental way of being-in-the-world that cannot be understood in subject/object terms" (Dreyfus, 1991, p5).


Dreyfus warns that Heidegger's Dasein should not be thought of as the equivalent of a conscious subject, nor his theory in general as a theory of consciousness. Instead, Dasein "must be understood to be more basic than mental states and their intentionality" (p13). We particularly need to avoid the "almost universal misunderstanding of Dasein as an autonomous, individual subject" (p14), and see it as possessing "a self-interpreting" nature, thus (a long passage, heavily abridged) .....


"Dasein's activity - its way of being - manifests a stand on what it is to be Dasein. [.....] Heidegger calls this self-interpreting way of being existence. [.....] Only self-interpreting beings exist. [.....] To exist is to take a stand on what is essential about one's being and to be defined by that stand. Thus Dasein is what, in its social activity, it interprets itself to be. Human beings do not already have some specific nature. It makes no sense to ask whether we are essentially rational animals, creatures of God, organisms with built-in needs, sexual beings, or complex computers. Human beings can interpret themselves in any of these ways and many more, and they can, in varying degrees, become any of these things, but to be human is not to be essentially any of them. Human being is essentially self-interpreting" (pp15/23).


Dreyfus also reminds us that the purpose of phenomenology is to get hidden things to show themselves. But even this is complicated, because some of the unknown things are simply not obviously there to be attended to, whilst others are more deliberately disguised. The problem is therefore one of applying hermeneutics and the hermeneutic cycle to Dasein and its being-in-the-world, and Dreyfus's first point of focus is the word "in", since it has both "a spatial sense ('in the box') and an existential sense ('in the army', 'in love')" (p43). The first of these usages expresses spatial inclusion, whilst the second expresses involvement. Being-in follows the second of these usages, and the sense of "being involved" (p43) is "definitive of Dasein" (p43). Dasein "inhabits", and the implications of that inhabiting are as follows .....


"What Heidegger is getting at is a mode of being-in we might call 'inhabiting'. When we inhabit something, it is no longer an object for us but becomes part of us and pervades our relation to other objects in the world. Both Heidegger and Michael Polanyi call this way of being-in 'dwelling' [..... and d]welling is Dasein's basic way of being-in-the-world. The relation between me and what I inhabit cannot be understood on the model of the relation between subject and object" (p45).


There are further references to Dreyfus, some quite substantial, in the entries for artificial intelligence, being-in-the-world, Dasein, artificial, hermeneutics, and machine consciousness.



Drive:  [Alternatively, "primary need".] [See firstly the companion resource detailing the chain of events during stickleback courtship - click here to be transferred - noting how something as vital as reproduction itself is "driven" by hormonal influences and requires only the most primitive information processing capability.] In both everyday and technical usage, a "drive" in its motivational sense is "a physiological state corresponding to a strong need or desire" (Free Online Dictionary). It is therefore a good example of what is known to philosophers of scientific method as a "hypothetical construct" - intuitively it makes sense, but you cannot actually bring needs or desires directly under the microscope, merely the physical dimensions by which you have chosen, perhaps arbitrarily, to "operationalise" them. Thus it is one thing to quote objective assay levels of serum testosterone, say, but quite another to propose an "aggressive drive" to explain [we often say "fit"] those assay data. [See now drive reduction.]



Drive Reduction: [See firstly drive.] Functionally speaking, drive reduction is the logical purpose of drive-related consummatory behaviours such as eating or drinking. Drive and drive reduction are thus the two main functional components of the process commonly known as "homeostasis".


ASIDE: For a gentle introduction to the technicalities of homeostatic systems, see the companion resource on "Basics of Cybernetics", especially Figure 1.


The homeostat metaphor reappears in Underwood (2003/2007 online), who likens drive to a household central heating system, thus .....


"Whenever the preset temperatures for certain radiators and the hot water cylinder are exceeded, motorised valves are activated to block off the flow of water. According to drive theory, that's exactly how our body works: if I'm too hot, I sweat to cool myself down; if I'm too cold, I shiver to warm myself up; if I'm hungry, I eat, etc."


Many theories of learning postulate a close relationship between the biological systems which switch behaviour on and off and those which mediate learning, their point being that once an organism has found a good source of sustenance it makes good sense to remember where it was and what it had to do to get there. Most 20th century behaviourist theories thus postulated mechanisms of "reinforcement" capable of associating two (or more) natural behaviours to a single stimulus [the arrangement known as "classical conditioning"] or a behaviour to a contingency to which it had no obvious prior relationship [the arrangement known as "operant" or "instrumental" conditioning]. [See now drive theory.]



Drive Theory: [See firstly drive and drive reduction.] Attempts to explain animal behaviour in terms of a number of basic physiological drives have a long and somewhat unhappy history, thanks in large part to the fact that the body's appetitive systems are considerably more complex than might at first glance be realised. It was this complexity, for example, which led Freud to keep revising his theory of aggression - see aggression, psychodynamic theory and, and it was only after Freud's death that improvements in neurophysiological research techniques began to uncover more on the hard science of motivation. The most noteworthy findings were those of Hess and Olds, as described in Section 3 of the companion resource "The Limbic System, Motivation, and Drive".


ASIDE: Readers unfamiliar with the role of hypothalamic reward and satiety centres should consult the companion resource before proceeding.


The picture which then emerged was summarised by Gardner Murphy in a chapter on "The Elementary Biology of Motivation" in his 1947 monograph on personality. He began by recognising (citing Dashiell) that "tissue needs are the sources of drives" (p87), and then introduced the construct of the "tension gradient", or "degree of motivation" (p88). In Murphy's view, motivation was not an all-or-nothing event; it never "'starts' or 'stops'", but reflects rather states "of continuous instability or restlessness" and continuous cycles of "ceaseless 'inner-outer adjustments'", thus .....


"The best present approximation seems to be that there is some instability, and therefore some motivation, everywhere; that this instability tends to propagate itself to other regions; that other stimulation complicates the inner propagation of tensions and redirects it - in short, that outer-inner stimulations everywhere at work are the joint determiners of 'motivated' and of 'reflex' acts. Our first hypothesis, then, is that all activity is traceable to tension, that tension is 'need' for acting, and that tension, need, and motive are one and the same. The term 'tension' is used as in physics. [.....] The living body is a complex system of interrelated tensions, partially discharging, partly blocked from discharge, but in some sort of intercommunication with one another" (Murphy, 1947, pp88-89; emphasis added).


Confirmation of the physiological evidence also came from the detailed naturalistic observations of animal behaviour carried out by ethologists such as Lorenz and Tinbergen. Lorenz, indeed, provides a paradigmatic "hydraulic" view of drive not at all dissimilar to Freud's. As Murphy had predicted, the 1950s and 1960s witnessed a number of challenges to over-simplistic drive theory. Saccharin, for example, was shown to be a powerful motivator of behaviour despite its total inability to reduce a physiological drive of maintaining blood glucose levels (e.g., Sheffield and Roby, 1950). Such data require us to separate out the functions of a drive (namely its ability to maintain homeostasis and thus prolong life) from the structures by which it has been "implemented" (namely the anatomical and physiological contrivances which evolution has "designed into" the organism in order to deliver said functions). What we see happening in the saccharin experiments, for example, is merely that evolution took a short-cut at some point and "operationalised" nutritativeness (what the organism really wanted) with sweetness (which, as a mere quale, has no inherent value, but which correlates highly with the sort of things which do), because chemically it was easier and a lot quicker to detect. [Now see personality, motivation and.]



DSM-IV: This acronym derives from the title of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Fourth Edition). The periodically updated DSMs contain a full taxonomy of the mental disorders known to psychiatry, together with the defining symptomatology. A complete list of diagnostic headings and codes may be found online [take me there] and First, Frances, and Pincus (1995) offer a useful summary guide.



DSQ: See Defense Styles Questionnaire.



Dual Unity: This is ego psychology's school-defining view that the initial relationship between an infant and its mother is an intense and chaotic "undifferentiated matrix" (Lucente, 1988, p159), out of which comes the paradoxical "oneness" of a "dual unity" (ibid.). Lucente credits this notion to Mahler et al (1975) and Emde (1980), as follows .....


"[Mahler's dual unity] has been described from the infant's perspective as a shared merging of ego boundaries wherein the mother's supplies are equated, perceptually, with the infant's needs of the moment. This dual unity results from the infant's search in the first months of life and leads to the hypercathexis of an attachment, to the establishment of maternal object, first experienced narcissistically as an omnipotent part of the self, in a highly complex affective field (Emde,1980). This pinnacle achievement of oneness from attachment, a dual unity, becomes the basis for progressive autonomous development through the substages of separation-individuation" (Lucente, 1988, p159).


[See now case, clinical, Karla.]



Dualism: [See firstly dualisms or monisms.] A dualism is a "two-truth" theoretical position in the mind-brain debate, that is to say, one which claims that the laws of the mind and the laws of the brain are fundamentally irreconcilable. This is the name given to the essentially "Cartesian" (i.e. of Descartes) position on the mind-brain debate, namely that the mind does not wholly supervene upon the structures and processes of the biological nervous system. Indeed, the whole purpose of Treatise of Man (Descartes, 1662/2003) was that Descartes was going (a) to describe the body, (b) to separately describe the soul, and then (c) to show "how these two natures would have to be joined and united to constitute men resembling us" (Descartes, Treatise, p1). And his basic assumption is that the body is .....


"..... but a statue, an earthen machine formed intentionally by God to be as much as possible like us [and containing] all the pieces required to make it walk, eat, breathe, and imitate whichever of our own functions can be imagined to proceed from mere matter and to depend entirely on the arrangement of our organs" (Treatise, pp2-4).


"..... this will not seem strange to those who know how many different automata or moving machines can be made by the industry of man [whereby] the body is regarded as a machine which, having been made by the hands of God, is incomparably better arranged, and possesses in itself movements which are much more admirable, than any of those which can be invented by man" (Discourse on Method, p107).


The argument recurs in the Meditations .....


"..... there is a great difference between mind and body, inasmuch as body is by nature always divisible and the mind is entirely indivisible. [Thus] I cannot distinguish in myself any parts, but apprehend myself to be clearly one and entire [.....]. And the faculties of willing, feeling, conceiving, etc. cannot be [said] to be its parts, for it is one and the same mind which employs itself in willing and in feeling and understanding" (Meditations, p187).


The mind-brain debate has raged ever since, sometimes fiercely, sometimes less so, and dualism is still a perfectly legitimate position to take when passing personal judgment on the prospects of ever closing the explanatory gap. Davidson sees the position as resting on the belief that mental events will always "resist capture in the net of physical theory" (1970, p79), whilst Dennett (1996) summarises the dualist position as "the view that minds are composed of some nonphysical and utterly mysterious stuff" (p31). [See the separate entries for res cogitans and res extensa.]



Dualisms or Monisms: [See firstly mind-brain debate.] The first fundamental decision you have to make in the mind-brain debate is whether there will ever be a single explanatory system for both mind and brain [see consciousness, Leibniz's theory of on the matter of explanatory laws]. If you judge that there will not be, then you are automatically a "dualist", and if you judge that there will be, then you are automatically a "monist". However, this is only really an initial orientation, because there are then distinct sub-orientations with both main orientations, for details of which see the separate entries for dualism and monism, and their onward links.



Duplex Model of Memory: [See firstly consolidation.] This is the general term for any "two-box" model of memory which separates STM and LTM. Duplex models were rendered largely obsolete by the discovery of sensory memory in 1960.



Dynamic Core Theory: See consciousness, Edelman and Tononi's theory of.



Dynamic Self Concept: See self concept, dynamic.



Dyscalculia: See learning disability and special educational need, the basics.



Dysexecutive Questionnaire: See Behavioural Assessment of the Dysexecutive Syndrome Test.



Dysexecutive Syndrome: [See firstly Working Memory Theory.] This is Baddeley's (1986, p238) synonym for frontal lobe syndrome, and nowadays perhaps the preferred term. The concept was introduced in a chapter entitled "The Central Executive and its Malfunctions", in which the 1970s working memory concepts were compared with the (then still new) Normal-Shallice Model of Supervisory Attentional Function, and in which Baddeley graciously admitted that Norman and Shallice had succeeded in integrating memory and attentional phenomena, a task he personally had been "evading". [See now confabulation, impulsivity, mental rigidity, and utilisation behaviour.]



Dyslexia: See learning disability and special educational need, the basics.



Dysphoria: [See firstly differential diagnosis, psychiatric.] [From the Greek dys- = "(generic) hard to, troubled" + pherein = "to bear", via the derivative dysphron  = "sorrowful, melancholy" (O.C.G.D.).] Same as depressed mood, and, as such, a clinical sign used in the differential diagnosis of-and-within the various mood disorders. First, Frances, and Pincus (1995) provide a detailed decision tree (pp49-51) with major exit points for bipolar 1 disorder, bipolar 2 disorder, cyclothymic disorder, major depressive disorder, and the bipolar and depressive types of schizoaffective disorder. [Contrast euphoria.]



Dyspraxia: See learning disability and special educational need, the basics.



Dysthymia (1/2): [From the Greek dys- = "(generic) hard to, troubled" + thymos = "emotional intensity".] (1) Dysthymia, or moderate depression, is a clinical sign used in the differential diagnosis of psychiatric disorders, most notably dysthymic disorder proper. (2) Dysthymia is also the informal name for dysthymic disorder as a formal diagnosis under DSM-IV [the sign and the disease have the same name, in other words].[Now compare and contrast euphoria and euthymia.]



Dysthymic Disorder: [Often "dysthymia", although this usage conflates with the clinical sign of the same name.] Dysthymic disorder is one of the three DSM-IV disorder groups under the category header of depressive disorders. It presents as a "subthreshold depressive pathology with gloominess, anhedonia, low drive and energy, low self-esteem, and pessimistic outlook" (Brunello et al, 1999/2006 online), and may be comorbid with panic, social phobia, alcohol misuse, and major depressive tendencies. Other signs include abnormally high or low appetite, reduced concentration, and indecisiveness.





For entries beginning with the letters "E" and "F" CLICK HERE





See the Master References List