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


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 published online 13:00 GMT 28th February 2006, Copyright Derek J. Smith (Chartered Engineer). This version [2.0 - copyright] 09:00 BST 5th July 2018.





G.3 - The Glossary Proper (Entries G to I)



G-Protein: See protein kinase studies and second messenger neurotransmission.



GAF: See global assessment of functioning.



Gage, Phineas: See case, Phineas Gage.



Galvani, Luigi: [Italian physiologist (1737-1798).] [Click for external biography] See materialism and underlying mechanism.



Garcia Effect:  Garcia and Koelling (1966) investigated whether two unpleasant stimuli - nausea and electric shock - were equally effective (in rats) at creating an aversion to a normally pleasant stimulus.  They found that a single trial in which sweetened water was paired with nausea induced by injection was enough to suppress subsequent intake of sweetened water almost totally.  A mild electric shock, however, was far less effective.  This seems to reflect a very primitive biological capacity for one-trial learning when the stakes are high enough in survival terms. [See now unpleasure, why it has to be so unpleasant.]



Gate: [Computer terminology.] Logic circuits were originally invented by the likes of Charles Wynn-Williams, Konrad Zuse, George Stibitz, and John Atanasoff, and their basic physical components are called "logic gates". Fundamentally, they are electronic switches capable of executing Boolean decision making, that is to say, combinatory binary symbolic logic of the form developed in the nineteenth century by George Boole and Augustus de Morgan. Lewin (1985) describes logic circuits as "combinational networks", and summarises their operating principles as follows: "A combinational logic circuit is one in which the output (or outputs) obtained from the circuit is solely dependant on the present state of the inputs. [] The classical objective of combinational design is to produce a circuit having the required switching characteristics but utilising the minimum number of components [] Switching problems are usually presented to the designer [] specifying the logical behaviour of the circuit. From this specification a mathematical statement of the problem can be formulated [and] simplified where possible. These simplified equations may then be directly related to a hardware diagram ....." (Lewin, 1985, pp53-54; emphasis original).



Gatekeeper: The Gatekeeper is/was one of the "troops", the alter personalities, in case, Truddi Chase.



Geben: [German = "to give" (Past participle gegeben = "given").] This everyday German word was brought centre stage within mental philosophy by Kant as a way of describing the presentation of an object to our experience [for more on which, see the entry for "givenness".]



Gegeben: See geben.



Gegenstand: [German = "object, thing; subject (matter), theme, topic; item, matter, affair, issue" (C.G.D.).] [See firstly consciousness, Meinong's theory of.] This everyday German word was first incorporated into the lexicon of mental philosophy by Kant (1781, 1787/1996), who used it (e.g., p211) to refer to the external object of perception, and was then made a fundamental element of Gegenstandstheorie by Meinong. The point about Gegenstand is that it refers to the "material 'thing'" itself, and not to the "multiplicity of associated sensorial impressions" which "enrich" it (Rizzuto, 1990, p242). [Compare entity and Vorstellung.]



Gegenstandstheorie: [German Gegenstand = "object, etc." + theorie = "theory".] The central thesis of Meinong's mental philosophy is that there are four distinct elements to cognition, namely (1) the act [Akt] of perceiving, (2) the content [Inhalt] of experience, (3) the object [Gegenstand], and (4) the experiences [Erlebnisse]. The resulting theoretical position is commonly referred to as Gegenstandstheorie [= "theory of objects"], and the only initial complication was that there were important orders of complexity to the resulting Gegenstände, including, for example, a four-way classification into (1) Objeckte, i.e. objects simpliciter, (2) Objektive [henceforth "objectives"], i.e. thoughts, (3) Dignitative, i.e. feelings, and (4) Desiderative, i.e. desires. Here is Russell's pen-picture of how Meinong sees objects .....


"The first great division of objects is into three classes, those which exist, those which subsist (bestehen), and those which neither exist nor subsist. It is obvious that abstracts such as diversity or numbers do not exist; propositions, again, are non-existent; thus certainly there are objects which do not exist, and which yet in some sense subsist. But even when we include subsistence, we do not, it would seem, find a place for all objects; some, such as false propositions, the round square, etc., are objects and yet do not subsist. There are two sorts of judgments, which may be called thetic and synthetic; the former assert the being of something, the latter assert its being so-and-so (Sein and Sosein). The latter sort may subsist when their subjects do not subsist; the round square is certainly both round and square, although the round square does not subsist" (Russell, 1905, p531).


Meinong's distinction between objects and objectives is not totally dissimilar to the classical distinction between ειδος and ιδεα [see G.2], whilst feelings and desires are recognised members of Hamilton's triad, that is to say, they constitute two thirds of the soul, tripartite.



Gemüt: [German = "mind, soul, heart, disposition, nature, [etc.]" (C.G.D.).] See mind.



Gene: A gene is a subsection of a chromosome. It contains just enough genetic material to manufacture a single molecule of protein (although it can do this many times). Each human chromosome contains of the order of 100,000 genes, each of which has a molecular weight of the order of 1 million and contains perhaps 1500 nucleotide pairs.



General Learning Disability: See learning disability and special educational need, the basics.



Generalised Event Memory (GEM): See event memory.



Genetic Epistemology: See epistemology, genetic.



Gestaltism: See Gestalt School.



Gestalt Laws: These are the laws of early perceptual processing identified by the Gestalt School as being responsible for organising sensory input prior to the act of perceptual recognition.  Perception, in other words, is not regarded as a single process, but as a combination of perceptual organisation followed by pattern recognition.  To explain their observations, the Gestalt School (workers such as Wertheimer, Kohler, Koffka, Lewin, and Duncker) argued that the brain had certain innate electrical characteristics which actively organise sensory input [see field].  The individual laws were held by Koffka (1935) to be examples of a more basic law, the Law of Pragnanz, which holds simply that where there are several geometrically possible organisations for a given perceptual scene, the one which will be "chosen" is the one with the simplest and most stable shape. [See now the separate entries for closure, common fate, continuity, proximity, and similarity.]



Gestalt School: [See firstly perspectives and schools of psychology.] This is the name given to a school of German-speaking psychologists founded in effect by the University of Prague's Christian Von Ehrenfels in a book called Über Gestaltqualitäten [= "On Gestalt Qualities"] (Ehrenfels, 1890). Ehrenfels had studied as a young man under Franz Brentano at Vienna, and was therefore fully aware of the latter's views on the power of the "presentation" [Vorstellung] in deciding a given perceptual identification [for more on which see consciousness, Brentano's theory of]. He had also closely studied Ernst Mach's Analyse der Empfindungen ["Analysis of the Sensations"] (Mach, 1886), in which representations of "space form" and "time form" had been proposed in order to explain the theoretically troublesome phenomena of "superordinate form" or "configuration" .....


TEST YOURSELF NOW: For a simple, yet compelling, graphical demonstration of the problem of superordinate form in two-dimensional visual perception, check out the following Navon figure - click here. Which did you perceive first, the superordinate "EA" or the component "AE"?


At that time, the canonical form of the superordinate form problem was one's ability to recognise a tune when we hear it in a key in which it has never been heard before (Flugel and West, 1964; Smith, 1994/2007 online), and it is this constant emphasis on the higher-order arrangement of lower-order elements which subsequently led to some commentators describing Gestalt psychology as "Configurationism". Ehrenfels felt, however, that Mach's book drew attention to but fell short of adequately explaining this class of phenomenon. Specifically, Mach did not sufficiently separate the raw sensory input (complete with all the "qualities" it conveyed) from the perception of "form in space or time" which then rather magically took place. Ehrenfel's own proposal was that there had to exist two levels of perceptual judgment, one more primitive than the other. The first and lower of these levels was responsible for early sensory analysis [identifying the individual notes of our melody, say], whilst the second and higher was responsible for detecting and recognising the over-arching "Gestalt qualities" [the melody as a recognisable whole]. Raw sensory information arrives at, and is dealt with, by the first level of processing, producing information of a fundamentally different sort for passing to the second level of processing.


ASIDE: Readers must bear in mind that Ehrenfels was working long before the age of "processing stages" or parallel distributed processing architectures [his paper was published in the same year that Herman Hollerith's electro-mechanical punched card tabulators started to take on bulk data from the 1890 US Census]. Such architectures think little of passing progressively metamorphosed streams of information between functionally specialised processing modules. For an industry-standard example of the staged-processing approach to auditory perception, see the upper left quadrant of the Ellis (1982) transcoding diagram.


Promising though they were, Ehrenfels' ideas did not catch on, and responsibility for unravelling the functional architecture of aesthesis reverted for a full generation to being the preserve of mental philosophers, not least those other students of Brentano, Husserl and Meinong (Smith, 1994). One of the places where empirical research into perception survived was at the University of Berlin, where Carl Stumpf, another who had studied sound perception in the 1880s, had taken over Ebbinghaus's laboratory in 1894. Stumpf's position on the melody question was as follows .....


"Stumpf considers, in particular, the conditions that must be satisfied if a sequence of tones is to possess that specific sort of Gestalt which we call a melody. Such a sequence must, first of all, have a sense for the hearer, a notion which Stumpf explicates by developing a comparison between that system which is given tonality and analogous systems of a linguistic sort, for example in the sphere of phonology. It must secondly have a more or less definite rhythm [.....] must be a relatively self-contained whole or formation, not part of any continuation [, and] it must be non-decomposable: its parts must be dependent entities, not themselves capable of existing as musical categoremata in their own right" (Smith, 1994/2007 online, p257).


As it turned out, it was Stumpf's students who were to make Gestaltism famous, and most noteworthy amongst these was a certain Max Wertheimer. Wertheimer, who had sat through Ehrenfels' lectures as an undergraduate at Prague (1901-1904) and Külpe's tutorials while doing his doctorate at Würzburg (1905), now commuted between (amongst other places) the laboratories at Frankfurt and Berlin, devising innovative yet always excruciatingly simple practical demonstrations of the vicissitudes of perceptual judgment, and trying them out on himself and his colleagues. The best known of these early demonstrations concerned the phenomenon of "apparent movement", that is to say, movement which objectively has not taken place, but which is nevertheless phenomenally real to the observer(s) concerned. In perhaps the simplest of its (many) variations, this demonstration simply exposed the observer to two alternately flashing lights .....


TEST YOURSELF NOW: This being the age of the Internet, the apparent movement phenomenon is available online for all to experience for themselves. We particularly recommend the applets generously provided by the Department of Psychological Sciences at Purdue University, which allow the viewer to vary the speed of alternation, the number and spatial separation of the lights, their diameter, their form, the colour scheme, and so on.  There are number of demonstrations to get through, but try this one for starters: RUN THE BASIC PURDUE APPLET - the separate sensations are the individual stimulus on-offs, and the superordinate experience is what you think you see going on [and, needless to say, the objective record and the subjective experience do not match].


Wertheimer called the illusions of movement he was producing the "phi phenomenon", and published his account in (Wertheimer, 1912). As an easily replicable illusion, it soon became a classroom classic worldwide, and the problems of Gestaltqualitäten were on everyone's lips. Gestaltism as a recognisable school had arrived.


ASIDE: Wertheimer (1912) is a classic paper, and the problem with classic papers is that they lose a lot en route from the laboratories in which they were conceived to the provincial classrooms in which the rest of us learn about them. People stop thinking about the underlying problem, run the demonstration, and present the theory to the limits that they themselves understand it. The Purdue website includes an interesting exposé of what seems to have happened in this particular case, as one textbook misinformed the next, and so on for nigh on a century - see the entry for phi phenomenon for the necessary link [and make sure you RUN THE ADVANCED PURDUE APPLET while you're there - it's fascinating stuff].


Wertheimer lectured at Berlin from 1916 to 1929 (latterly as emeritus professor), gradually expanding his research interests to include learning, memory, problem solving, and creativity. Other influential members of the Gestalt movement were Kurt Koffka, Wolfgang Köhler, Kurt Goldstein, and Kurt Lewin in Germany, Edgar Rubin in Denmark, and Albert Michotte in Belgium (e.g., Michotte, 1927), and their corporate findings are nowadays summarised in the so-called Gestalt laws. The term which best describes what these individual authors had in common is "holistic", that is to say, incapable of analysis into sub-components. This is why Gestaltism is so widely known today for its explanatory dictum that "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts". Köhler puts it this way in his retrospective introduction to the science .....


"When the Gestalt problem first arose, nobody could foresee that later it was to be closely related to the concept of dynamic self-distribution; nor were the facts of sensory organisation immediately given the central position which they deserve. [.....] While a sensation is supposed to occupy its place in the field independently, i.e., determined by its local stimulus alone, the curious thing about the qualities which Ehrenfels introduced into scientific psychology is their relation to sets of stimuli. Nothing like them is ever brought about by strictly local stimulation per se; rather, the 'togetherness' of several stimuli is the condition which has these specific effects in a sensory field" (Köhler, 1929/1947, p102).


Note Köhler's use of the term "dynamic" in the above quotation. Gestaltism is often described nowadays as a "dynamic" psychology, but not in the same sense that psychodynamic theory was dynamic. Freudian dynamics are the dynamics of keeping a highly mobile but invisible enemy under some sort of control. The dynamics of Gestaltism, on the other hand, are the dynamics of the transient mental "fields" set up during the end-to-end processes of aesthesis [see the separate entry for fields, noting that Kurt Lewin's expertise in this latter area travelled with him when he emigrated to America in the 1930s]. It also relied on the theoretical principle of "psychophysical isomorphism" and, led by Wertheimer (in humans) and Köhler (in apes), did much to extend the scientific literature on insight learning and creativity in the mid-20th century. The term "Berlin School" seems to be used in two distinct ways in the literature - firstly it is used to describe the department of experimental psychology which Stumpf built up in the period 1894 to 1921, and secondly it may be describing the body of Gestaltist theory and research which came out of said department in the period between 1920 and 1933, when Wertheimer, Köhler, Goldstein, and Lewin were all based at that university at one time or another. 



Gewahren: [From the German Gewahr werden = "become aware of; see, perceive, notice, observe, discern, catch sight of" (C.G.D.).] This everyday German word for the act of becoming aware of something was used in a philosophical sense by Husserl to describe a particular grade of awareness, as follows .....


"In perception properly so-called, as an explicit awareness (Gewahren), I am turned towards the object [to] apprehend it as being this here and now" (Husserl, Ideas, p105).


[In fact, many grades of awareness have been identified over the millennia. Compare, for example, Husserl's here and now awareness (above) with Freud's (1896) Bewusstsein and Wahrnehmungszeichen. And the final classification has yet to be determined.]



"Ghost in the Machine": See consciousness, Ryle's theory of.



Gist: The key points in a story. [See now Bartlett (1932) and memory for gist.]



"Givenness": [See firstly intuition and the discussion thereof in the entry for consciousness, Kant's theory of.] This is Kant's (1781-1787) notion of a grade of immediate phenomenal awareness, short of activation of the full concept, thus (two passages concatenated) .....


"Now there are two conditions under which alone there can be a cognition of an object. The first condition is intuition; through it an object is given, though only as appearance. The second condition is the concept; through it an object is thought that corresponds to this intuition. [.....] If a cognition is to have objective reality, i.e. if it is to refer to an object and have in that object its signification and meaning, then the object must be capable of being given in some way" (Kant, 1787; Pluhar translation, p147/p226).



Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF): [See firstly axis (of mental health disorder).] This is the DSM-IV overall assessment score for a person's mental health status across all axes of impairment. It is derived by thorough clinical assessment and helps plan and monitor therapy. Scores range from 0 to 100, in bands, as follows [all direct quotations from DSM-IV (2000, p34)] .....


GAF 91 to 100: "Superior functioning in a wide range of activities".


GAF 81 to 90: "Absent or minimal symptoms".


GAF 71 to 80: "Transient or expectable reactions to psychosocial stressors"


GAF 61 to 70: "Some mild symptoms".


GAF 51 to 60: "Moderate symptoms".


GAF 41 to 50: "Serious symptoms (e.g., suicidal ideation, severe obsessive rituals, frequent shoplifting) OR any serious impairment in social occupational or school functioning (e.g., no friends, unable to keep a job)" (emphasis original).


GAF 31 to 40: "Some impairment in reality testing or communication [] OR major impairment in several areas, such as work or school, family relations, judgment, thinking, or mood" (emphasis original).


GAF 21 to 30: "Behaviour is considerably influenced by delusions or hallucinations".


GAF 11 to 20: "Some danger of hurting self or others".


GAF 1 to 10: "Persistent danger of severely hurting self or others".


GAF 0: "Inadequate information".


RESEARCH ISSUE: The extent to which the more devious personality disorders are able to deceive clinicians into awarding them higher GAF scores than they strictly deserve is not known. In the present author's observation of life there are many GAFs 31 to 50 who are not in therapy at all and are informally assessed by the world as GAF 71 to 80 "much as to be expected".®



Glucocorticoid: [See firstly homeostasis.] Glucocorticoids are one of two classes of corticosteroid hormone (the other being mineralocorticoids), and have the specific biological function of controlling the body's metabolism of glucose. They are relevant in the context of the present glossary, because glucose metabolism - responsible as it is for powering all forms of behaviour, mental and physical - is one of the main functional elements in the body's homeostatic and emotional response systems. With blood sugar homeostasis, for example, a monitoring system situated in the hypothalamus compensates for falling blood sugar levels by automatically releasing reserve stocks [check out the technicalities]. Glucocorticoids are thus the mainstay of our famed "fight, flight, or fornicate" instincts, all of which burn energy (some more than others, of course). [full Wikipedia briefing].



Glutamate: A "glutamate" is an organic salt of a glutamic acid and a protein [full Wikipedia briefing]. Glutamates are noteworthy in the context of the present glossary for their role in neurotransmission in general, and for their role in glutamatergic neurotransmission in particular. Grosjean and Tsai (2007) summarise its effects as follows .....


"Glutamate was recognised as a neurotransmitter in the 1970s, and the subtypes of glutamate receptors were differentiated in the early 1980s. Today we know that glutamate is the primary excitatory neurotransmitter in the mammalian brain: 60% of brain neurons use glutamate as their primary neurotransmitter. Ionotropic receptors for glutamate are divided into NMDA and non-NMDA receptors, including AMPA [] and kainate subtypes. The involvement of NMDAR in working memory has been shown in primate studies where NMDA antagonists impair their working memory, and potentiation of NMDA transmission can correct the memory deficits" (pp106-107).


As the name suggests, glutamatergic neurotransmission is a subtype of neurotransmission which characterises a "glutamatergic synapse", that is to say, one in which the transmitter substance itself is a glutamate and the post-synaptic membrane contains receptor sites for glutamate binding. [See now NMDA.] 


BREAKING RESEARCH: See the mention of Grosjean and Tsai's (2007) work on the potential role of NMDA dysregulation in the aetiology of borderline personality disorder.



Gmelin, Eberhardt: [No convenient online biography.] Gmelin is relevant to the present glossary for having been one of the first clinicians to report a case of multiple personality (Gmelin, 1791). Gmelin's case was a 20-year old German woman who could present either of two personae, one French-speaking and the other German-speaking.



Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von: [German scientist-philosopher (1749-1832).] [Click for external biography] Although best remembered for his achievements as a writer, Goethe contributed significantly both to the philosophy of science and to psychology, where he produced one of the earliest theories of colour perception (Goethe, 1810).



Goffman, Erving: [Canadian sociologist (1922-1982).] [Click for external biography] Goffman is noteworthy within the context of the present glossary for his work on frame analysis.



Golgi Apparatus: This is an extension of the endoplasmic reticulum, seemingly responsible for directing newly formed proteins back into the cytoplasm. It does this by forming them into small vesicles known as secretory granules which can then be passed in through the reticular membrane by a process known as endocytosis. The lysosomes are a type of secretory granule.



"Good Enough" Parenting: This is Winnicott's (e.g., 1956, p386) term for everyday parenting by average people in average places with average cognitive architectures, possessed of average financial resources, and of average sanity (i.e., not themselves fatally traumatised). [For what happens when parenting is not quite "good enough" in any of these respects, see firstly holding environment and then (having taken a deep breath) the series of toxic parenting entries.]



Gorgias (of Leontini): [Greek Sophist Philosopher (483-375 BCE).] [Click for external biography]



Graded Potential: [See firstly potential difference and propagation.] In the context of the present glossary, a graded potential is a small change in neural (or glial) membrane potential which dies away by decremental propagation, that is to say, smoothly with time or distance and without inducing an action potential.



Grand Illusion: This is Blackmore's (2002) term for the possibility that what we experience as a smoothly flowing stream of consciousness is dangerously illusory, and can be exposed as exactly that by suitably designed probe tasks. For the details of the argument here, see the entry for stream of consciousness.



Graz School: This is the name given to a school of philosopher-psychologists founded by Alexius Meinong at the University of Graz, Austria, in 1894, and including in its numbers Wilhelm Frankl, Franz Weber, and the subsequent founder of the Gestalt School, Christian von Ehrenfels [for a longer introductory, see Boudewijnse (1999/2007 online)].



Grey Level Description: See perception, Marr's theory of.



Grieving Process: This is Kubler-Ross's (1969) notion that grieving has a natural history to it, and has to work itself out in a more or less standard sequence of phases. She arrived at this conclusion by observing how people coped over the passing weeks following the death of a loved one, but it is now accepted that the same grieving profile accompanies any emotional shock, including sickness and redundancy. The grieving process is particularly relevant in the field of disability and mental health, since it will affect both the patient/client (the loss of their own health and prospects) and their caregivers (the loss of their loved one). The phases of grieving are as follows .....


(1) Shocked Immobility: This is the state you are thrown into when you hear the bad news for the first time, and are at a loss to know how to react or what to say.


(2) Denial: You then start to reject the news as essentially untrue [see denial, grief work for more on this].


(3) Anger: You then accept the news as true, but get angry at it (and whoever happens to be in the way at the time).


(4) Bargaining: You offer gifts and promises to "the gods" to have the truth somehow miraculously taken away.


(5) Depression: You enter a period of reactive depression.


(6) Testing: You begin to find your feet again, as life persists in going on despite your personal troubles.


(7) Acceptance: Finally, personality type and ego strength permitting, you come fully to terms with the trauma, whatever it was.





"And throwing down the pieces of silver in the temple, he departed" (Matthew, 27:5).


In everyday English, the word "guilt" describes not just the factual state of having done something immoral or illegal, but also the "sense of guilt" which tends to go with that factual state and which in a properly reflective self is characterised by often quite intense experiences of regret, loss, anxiety, and self-recrimination. Both phenomena fascinate us and readily command our attention - issues of factual guilt or innocence have inspired countless detective novels and courtroom dramas down the ages, and issues of remorsefulness - not least its erosive effects on the souls of those afflicted by it - have been popular topics with tragedians and their audiences ever since theatre was first invented. Here are some well-known examples of the latter genre [note that the first of the listed works is the one which inspired psychology's "Oedipus complex"] .....


- In Sophocles' play Oedipus, the Tyrant, (ca. 428 BCE), the tragedy hinges on the guilt felt by a son upon learning that he has - albeit unwittingly - killed his father, had sexual intercourse with his mother, and inspired the larger part of Freudian theory in the process.


- In the New Testament story of the Crucifixion, Judas Iscariot is reported as having hanged himself out of remorse once the enormity of his treachery had dawned upon him. 


- In Shakespeare's play Macbeth, the eponymous central character, ambitious to the extent of doing murder but not wicked enough to prevent the resulting guilt from clouding his judgment, is eventually done to death himself [see synopsis].


- In Coleridge's Ancient Mariner, the eponymous central character is driven mad by the guilt he felt for having brought about the death of his shipmates by ignoring the sailors' superstition against killing albatrosses. [Note that feelings of guilt for having survived when others did not seem to have a large part to play in survivor syndrome.]


All in all, therefore, we should not be at all surprised that guilt was one of the first affects to be studied by the pioneers of psychodynamic theory. For example, both Freud and Breuer mention it a number of times under the name "self-reproach" - Freud's case, Elisabeth von R. felt guilty about resenting having to care for her ailing father when she would rather have been pursuing her personal affaires, and Breuer's case, Anna O. had periods of lucidity in which she could report being aware of a "bad self" responsible for "all the nonsense" which she regretted being unable [or was it merely unwilling?] to keep under control (both cases in Freud and Breuer, 1893-1895). Freud persisted with the topic in Draft K of the Fliess letters, listing feelings of reproach as significant in cases of obsessional neurosis (e.g., Freud, 1896, p220), and pointing out that several associated affects can arise out of the initial sense of guilt, thus .....


"The affect of the self-reproach may be transformed by various psychical processes into other affects, which then enter consciousness more clearly than the affect itself: for instance into anxiety (fear of the consequences of the action to which the self-reproach applies), hypochondria (fear of its bodily effects), delusions of persecution (fear of its social effects), shame (fear of other people knowing about it), and so on" (Freud, 1896, Letters to Fliess (Draft K) [Standard Edition (Vol. 1)], p224 [there is a similar mention in Freud's 1909 case, Rat Man - see the separate entry, particularly the fourth session of analysis]).


Freud eventually dealt with the problem of guilt by incorporating it into his notion of the "superego". Following your personal resolution of the Oedipus complex [see Freudian theory for the bare bones of this], guilt was what you were conditioned into feeling whenever your internalised same-sex parent spoke out like some inner voice telling you that this or that id-driven impulse was a non-runner because it was morally "wrong" [see the endnote below for a hyperlink to follow if interested in the particular issues of inner speech]. Freud then went even further out on a limb in his Totem and Taboo (Freud, 1917/1938), inspired in equal measure by Charles Darwin's notion of the "primal horde" and by Sir James Frazer's notions of "totemism".


HISTORICAL ASIDE: Despite their obvious differences of purpose, the intrepid explorer, the military man, the missionary, and traders in far-off lands have one very important thing in common - they go to places and they see things which their less adventurous compatriots can only dream about. As a result, they have always provided science with an important stream of biological specimens, cultural artefacts, and comparative observational data, and this has always been useful in widening the theoretical horizons of the scientific community back at home. This datastream became particularly influential in the 19th century, as the planet's continental interiors were inexorably lost to the "march of civilisation". The British Empire led the opening up of hitherto "Darkest" Africa, the Americans linked their East and West Coasts with railroads and sparred for territory with the Hispanics to the South, the Russian Bear pushed down from Moscow towards India in what has aptly been called "The Great Game", and everybody who had a sail to hoist vied for influence in the Far East. As for the aboriginal cultures who stood in their way, they simply fell like ninepins to the "pacification" and rapine of their colonial occupiers. We mention this because it was common practice to embed [to use the modern term] peripatetic academics in with the colonising forces, armed with notebook and microscope and keen to catalogue the flora and fauna of these strange new places and to wonder at the generally ungodly ways of the "savages" who lived there. Charles Darwin is entirely typical in this respect, having used a Royal Navy survey ship - the now-legendary H.M.S. Beagle - as a mobile laboratory on his [in fact, her] voyages of discovery [see Darwin's log]. The topic of primitive belief systems came up time and time again in all this. James (1948) mentions an 1866 publication by Edward Tyler entitled "The Religion of Savages" (subsequently enlarged as Tyler, 1871), and, in the years which followed, three classic works deserve particular mention. The first is Sir James Frazer's "The Golden Bough". This was originally published between 1890 and 1915, and is currently available in condensed form as Frazer (1993). Supported by a detailed review of taboo, ritual, and legend from societies great and small around the world, Frazer argues for a fairly standard progression from magic and primitive superstition to religious belief, and then from religious belief to scientific thought. The other classics are Lucien Levy-Bruhl's (1910) "How Natives Think" and Emile Durkheim's (1912) "Les Formes Élémentaires de la vie Religieuse", both of which emphasised the role played by the social system in producing a set of beliefs characteristic of that social system. It is one of Frazer's less well-known works - his 1887 Totemism - which inspired Freud's Totem and Taboo.


All this cultural comparison brought a strong anthropological angle to Freud's consideration of the problem of guilt. He noted specifically that not all societies viewed certain transgressions the same way, but that - curiously enough - they all had formal taboos against incest. Could it be possible, he wondered, that the sexual dynamics of individual development somehow dictated a culture's beliefs and social mores? Was guilt, indeed, a causative factor in religion and ritual, rather than an artefact of it; was it, itself, in some way "primal"? Could Frazer's totemism simply be the Oedipus complex blown up out of all proportion, and was the totem on your totem-pole simply the father you had wanted to kill ever since you were five years old? Here are two quick extracts introducing the totem systems of primitive societies .....


"Among the Australians the system of Totemism takes the place of all religious and social institutions. Australian tribes are divided into smaller septs or clans, each taking the name of its totem. Now what is a totem? As a rule it is an animal, either edible and harmless, or dangerous and feared; more rarely the totem is a plant or a force of nature (rain, water), which stands in a particular relation to the whole clan. The totem is first of all the tribal ancestor of the clan, as well as its tutelary spirit and protector; it sends oracles and, although otherwise dangerous, the totem knows and spares its children. The members of a totem are therefore under a sacred obligation not to kill (destroy) their totem [..... and a]ny violation of these prohibitions is automatically punished" (Freud, 1917/1938, Totem and Taboo [Brill Translation], pp16-17).


"'A totem', wrote Frazer in his first essay [Frazer (1887)], 'is a class of material objects which a savage regards with superstitious respect, believing that there exists between him and every member of the class an intimate and altogether special relation. The connection between a person and his totem is mutually beneficent; the totem protects the man and the man shows his respect for the totem in various ways" (op. cit., pp141-142).


And here is the basic thesis .....


"Psychoanalysis has revealed to us that the totem animal is really a substitute for the father, and this really explains the contradiction that it is usually forbidden to kill the totem animal, that the killing of it results in a holiday and that the animal is killed and yet mourned. The ambivalent emotional attitude which today still marks the father complex in our children and so often continues into adult life also extended to the father substitute of the totem animal. [.....] The Darwinian conception of the primal horde does not, of course, allow for the beginning of totemism. There is only a violent, jealous father who keeps all the females for himself and drives away the growing sons. This primal state of society has nowhere been observed. The most primitive organisation we know, which today is still in force with certain tribes, is associations of men consisting of members with equal rights, subjected to the restrictions of the totemic system, and founded on matriarchy, or descent through the mother. Can the one have resulted from the other, and how was this possible? By basing our argument upon the celebration of the totem we are in a position to give an answer: One day the expelled brothers joined forces, slew and ate the father, and thus put an end to the father horde. [.....] Now they accomplished their identification with him by devouring him and each acquired a part of his strength. The totem feast, which is perhaps mankind's first celebration, would be the repetition and commemoration of this memorable criminal act" (op. cit., pp188-190; bold emphasis added).


After Totem and Taboo, Freud returned his attention to the neurotic Europeans who paid his fees, further developing his theory of guilt in The Ego and the Id (Freud, 1923/1960). Basically, he saw different ways of handling our unconscious guilt as responsible for different forms of psychopathology, but with one important property in common, namely that at some deep level neurotics grow addicted to, like in some perverse way, and generally come to feed off what guilt can do to them. Thus [a long extract, heavily abridged] .....


"There are certain people who behave in a quite peculiar fashion during the work of analysis. When one speaks hopefully to them or expresses satisfaction with the progress of the treatment, they show signs of discontent and their condition invariably becomes worse. [.....] They exhibit what is known as a 'negative therapeutic reaction'. There is no doubt that there is something in these people that sets itself against their recovery [.....]. If we analyse this resistance in the usual way [..... we find] a negative attitude towards the physician and clinging to the gain from illness. In the end we come to see that we are dealing with what may be called a 'moral' factor, a sense of guilt, which is finding its satisfaction in the illness and refuses to give up the punishment of suffering. [.....] But as far as the patient is concerned this sense of guilt is dumb; it does not tell him he is guilty; he does not feel guilty, he feels ill. This sense of guilt expresses itself only as a resistance to recovery which it is extremely difficult to overcome. [.....] An interpretation of the normal, conscious sense of guilt (conscience) presents no difficulties; it is based on the tension between the ego and the ego ideal and is the expression of a condemnation of the ego by its critical agency. [.....] In certain forms of obsessional neurosis the sense of guilt is over-noisy but cannot justify itself to the ego [..... and i]n melancholia the impression that the superego has obtained a hold upon consciousness is even stronger. [.....] We understand the difference. In obsessional neurosis what were in question were objectionable impulses which remained outside the ego, while in melancholia the object to which the superego's wrath applies has been taken into the ego through identification. [..... And in hysteria,] the mechanism by which the sense of guilt remains unconscious is [.....] an act of repression. It is the ego, therefore, that is responsible for the sense of guilt remaining unconscious. [..... Indeed, o]ne may go further and venture the hypothesis that a great part of the sense of guilt must normally remain unconscious, because the origin of conscience is intimately connected with the Oedipus complex, which belongs to the unconscious" (Freud, 1923/1960, The Ego and the Id [Standard Edition], pp49-53; bold emphasis added).


Moving forward a generation, Eriksonian theory also made much of guilt, seeing it as one of the bipolar markers for the third of their eight stages of identity development, namely the stage of "identity versus guilt". This third stage covers ages four to five years, the very period of the Oedipus conflict, and your personal outcome depends on how successfully your ego copes with the changes described above. If the conflict works itself through well, then a sense of identity results, as follows .....


"Being firmly convinced that he is a person, the child must now find out what kind of person he is going to be. And here he hitches his wagon to nothing less than a star: he wants to be like his parents, who to him appear very powerful and very beautiful, although quite unreasonably dangerous" (Erikson, 1959, p74)


If, on the other hand, the particular individual resolution of the Oedipal conflict does NOT produce an appropriate balance of ego and superego resources, then the sense of guilt takes over instead, and pervades both the conscious and unconscious minds for the remainder of that individual's life, thus [a long passage, heavily abridged] .....


"A sense of self-control without loss of self-esteem is the ontogenetic source of a sense of free will. From an unavoidable sense of loss of self-control and of parental overcontrol comes a lasting propensity for doubt and shame. [.....] Shame is an infantile emotion insufficiently studied because in our civilisation it is so early and easily absorbed by guilt. Shame supposes that one is completely exposed and conscious of being looked at - in a word, self-conscious. One is visible and not ready to be visible [.....]. Shame is early expressed in an impulse to bury one's face or to sink, right then and there, into the ground. [.....] The destructiveness of shaming is balanced in some civilisations by devices for 'saving face'. [.....] Too much shaming does not result in a sense of propriety but in a secret determination to try to get away with things when unseen, if, indeed, it does not result in deliberate shamelessness" (Erikson, 1968, pp109-112; bold emphasis added).


 In fact, Erikson dates the emergence of the sense of guilt to a combination of "vastly increased imagination" (p118) and that "great governor of initiative", conscience, as follows .....


"The child, we said, now not only feels afraid of being found out, but he also hears the 'inner voice' of self-observation, self-guidance, and self-punishment, which divides him radically within himself: a new and powerful estrangement. This is the ontogenetic cornerstone of morality. But [.....] if this great achievement is overburdened by all too eager adults, it can be bad for the spirit and for morality itself. For the conscience of the child can be primitive, cruel, and uncompromising, as may be observed in instances where children learn to constrict themselves to the point of over-all inhibition; where they develop an obedience more literal that the one the parent wishes to exact; or where they develop deep regressions and lasting resentments [.....]. One of the deepest conflicts in life is caused by hate for a parent who served initially as the model and the executor of the conscience, but who was later found trying to 'get away with' the very transgressions which the child could no longer tolerate in himself" (Erikson, 1968, p119).


WHERE TO NEXT: For more on the psycholinguistics of the superego's magical inner voice, see the Research Exercise at the end of the entry for inner speech. For a general development of the material presented above, see the entries for identity, large group, guilt, denial of, and guilt, persecutory. Compare also Räikkä's (2007 online) "Regret and Obligation".



 Hallucinations: Hallucinations are a major element in differential diagnosis under DSM-IV, and have been defined as "sensory perceptions without external stimulation" (First, Frances, and Pincus, 1995, p64).



Halstead-Reitan Battery: [See firstly frontal lobe syndrome and dysexecutive syndrome.] This test is described in Section 5 of our e-paper "From Frontal Lobe Syndrome to Dysexecutive Syndrome". One disadvantage of the test is that it takes around six hours to work through all the sub-tests (Anastasi, 1990).



Hamilton's Triad: This is a convenient way of referring to Sir William Hamilton's modernisation of Plato's notion of the tripartite soul in the form of a three-headed taxonomy of the "primary classes" of mental phenomena, thus: "Let the mental phenomena, therefore, be distributed under the three heads of phenomena of cognition, or the faculties of knowledge; phenomena of feeling, or the capacities of pleasure and pain; and phenomena of desiring or willing, or the powers of conation" (Sir William Hamilton, p.p. Mansell and Veitch, 1865, p189). The second heading, feeling, is nowadays better known as affect. Hamilton went on to argue, however, that the three primary classes were then all subordinate to "one universal phenomenon - the phenomenon of consciousness" (ibid.).



Hard Problem, The: This is Chalmers' (1995) much quoted description of the problem of the subjectivity of consciousness. Here is the source text in full .....


"..... I find it useful to distinguish between the 'easy problems' and the 'hard problem' of consciousness. The easy problems are by no means trivial - they are actually as challenging as most in psychology and biology - but it is with the hard problem that the central mystery lies. The easy problems of consciousness include the following: How can the human subject discriminate sensory stimuli and react to them appropriately? How does the brain integrate information from many different sources and use this information to control behavior? How is it that subjects can verbalize their internal states? Although all these questions are associated with consciousness, they all concern the objective mechanisms of the cognitive system. Consequently, we have every reason to expect that continued work in cognitive psychology and neuroscience will answer them. The hard problem, in contrast, is the question of how physical processes in the brain give rise to subjective experience. This puzzle involves the inner aspect of thought and perception: the way things feel for the subject. When we see, for example, we experience visual sensations, such as that of vivid blue. Or think of the ineffable sound of a distant oboe, the agony of an intense pain, the sparkle of happiness, or the meditative quality of a moment lost in thought. All are part of what I am calling consciousness. It is these phenomena that pose the real mystery of the mind." (Chalmers, 1995, pp62-63; bold emphasis added.) [Compare the discussion of "the hard question" in consciousness, Dennett's theory of.]



Hartmann, Heinz: [Austrian psychoanalyst (1894-1970).] [Click for external biography] Heinz Hartmann is noteworthy in the context of the present glossary for his contribution to ego psychology



Hartmann, Karl Robert Eduard Von: [German philosopher (1842-1906).] [Click for external biography] See unconscious, the.



Hatred: [See firstly anger and sibling rivalry.] Psychology uses the word "hatred" pretty much in its everyday sense, that is to say, as "the emotion or feeling of hate; active dislike, detestation; enmity, ill-will, malevolence" (O.E.D.). As such, it is one of the most extreme and enduring affective states of mind, and therefore theoretically highly significant in most variants of psychodynamic theory.


WHERE TO NEXT: If interested in group (including international) hatreds, then see hatred, large group aspects of. If interested in interpersonal hatreds, then see hatred, Oedipal aspects of.



Hatred, Large Group Aspects of: [See firstly hatred.] There is no shortage of anecdotal report from battlefields throughout history to the effect that most soldiers bear no personal malice against those they are trying to kill. "I had to do it," they reassure you, "it was either him or me" [click for typical memoir]. To see why it is so easy to get them to do it nonetheless, see identity, large group.



Hatred, Oedipal Aspects of: [See firstly hatred and Oedipus conflict.] For Freud, hatred was nothing less than a biological certainty should a given child's Oedipus conflict fail to resolve [that is to say, should the same-sex parent fail to get properly internalised at around age five years]. This was because hatred of your father-rival [or mother-rival, if a girl] in your first attempt at a more-than-just-reflex pair bond was nothing less than "the first hatred". Here is some early Freud on this .....


"A solution to this difficulty is afforded by the observation that dreams of the death of parents apply with preponderant frequency to the parent who is of the same sex as the dreamer: that men, that is, dream mostly of their father's death and women of their mother's. [.....] It is as though - to put it bluntly - a sexual preference were making itself felt at an early age: as though boys regarded their fathers and girls their mothers as their rivals in love, whose elimination could not fail to be to their advantage" (Freud, 1900/1958, The Interpretation of Dreams [Standard Edition (Vol. 4)], p356; bold emphasis added].


Moreover, if the necessary identification was defective, then not only would the relationship with the opposite-sex parent fail to fulfil itself vicariously, but the nascent superego would be unable to alleviate any residual pain by redefining the hatred as somehow inherently "wrong". Freud subsequently produced more of an object-relations interpretation of hatred in Instincts and Their Vicissitudes (Freud, 1915), where one of the vicissitudes [= "uncertainties, especially of form"] of love is its tendency to flip catastrophically into hatred if the love object in question becomes the source of unpleasure, as now explained .....


"If the object becomes a source of pleasurable feelings, a motor urge is set up which seeks to bring the object closer to the ego and to incorporate it into the ego. We then speak of the 'attraction' exercised by the pleasure-giving object, and say that we 'love' that object. Conversely, if the object is a source of unpleasurable feelings, there is an urge which endeavours to increase the distance between the object and the ego [.....]. We feel the 'repulsion' of the object, and hate it; this hate can afterwards be intensified to the point of an aggressive inclination against the object - an intention to destroy it" (Freud, 1915/1957, Instincts and Their Vicissitudes [Standard Edition], p137; bold emphasis added).


ASIDE: Freud made much the same point two years later in Mourning and Melancholia (Freud, 1917/1957) when discussing narcissistic hatred, and then again in The Ego and the Id (Freud, 1923/1960) where he uses the "unexpected regularity" (p41) with which love and hate go hand in hand to reflect upon the existence of a death-instinct. 


For their part, the Kleinian School assumes hate as "a complex process whereby an internal object is damaged or destroyed and the ego is faced with the exceedingly daunting task of renegotiating internal reality in the wake of such hate" (Bollas, 1987, p117). Kernberg, for example, makes much of it in his explanation of aggression, personality disorders and. And for his part, Erikson (1968) also notes a source of Oedipal hatred arising later in life, in the event that the parents - once so keen to impose their rules - ever get exposed as hypocritical of those rules in their own behaviour [see the fuller quotation towards the end of the entry for guilt]. More recently, Bollas (1987) has identified what he calls "loving hate", as follows .....


"It is my view that in some cases a person hates an object not in order to destroy it, but to do precisely the opposite: to conserve the object. Such hate is fundamentally nondestructive in intent and, although it may have destructive consequences, its aim may be to act out an unconscious form of love. I am inclined to term this 'loving hate', by which I mean a situation where an individual preserves a relationship by sustaining a passionate negative cathexis of it. If the person cannot do so by hating the object he may accomplish this passionate cathexis by being hateful and inspiring the other to hate him. A state of reciprocal hate may prevail [.....] Viewed this way, hate is not the opposite of, but a substitute for, love" (Bollas, 1987, p118; bold emphasis added).


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 suitable helpline details in the entries for child abuse and infanticide and/or partner abuse and/or toxic caring. 



H.D.: See case, H.D.



"Hebb-Marr Network": Same as neural network. [For a broader introduction to this topic, see our e-paper on "Connectionism".]



"Hebb's Rule": [See firstly cell assembly.] The law of contiguity applied to synaptic learning. Originally stated as follows: "Let us assume then that the persistence or repetition of a reverberatory activity (or 'trace') tends to induce lasting cellular changes that add to its stability. The assumption can be precisely stated as follows: When an axon of cell A is near enough to excite a cell B and repeatedly or persistently takes part in firing it, some growth process or metabolic change takes place in one or both cells such that A's efficiency, as one of the cells firing B, is increased." (Hebb, 1949, p62; italics original.)



Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich: [German Idealist philosophy (1770-1831).] The German philosopher Georg Hegel [floruit 1807-1830] studied Kantian philosophy at Jena in the opening years of the 19th century, and became inspired thereby to devote a lifetime to the bold pursuit of "the whole truth" of mental philosophy (Loewenberg, 1929, ix), setting out his conclusions in "Phenomenology of Mind" (1807), "Science of Logic" (1812-1816), and "Encyclopaedia of Philosophical Sciences" (1817-1830). Although acclaimed for his phenomenology, Hegel's accumulated writings dwell almost exclusively on the broad process of aesthesis rather than progressively zooming in on the all-critical central act of aesthesis - that magical moment of suddenly being aware of something. Admittedly, Hegel helps us to a number of important insights, but in the final analysis we are being asked to agree that these insights render the problem of subjectivity a non-problem, and in our judgment the evidence for this is insufficient.



Heidegger, Martin: [German philosopher (1889-1976).] [Click for biography.] See consciousness, Heidegger's theory of.



Heimann, Paula Gertrude: [Polish (later British) psychotherapist (1899-1982).] [Click for external biography] Heimann is noteworthy in the context of the present glossary for her work on the dynamics of the internalisation of objects in early development. There is a particularly valuable mention of her approach in the entry for object relations theory.



Helmholtz, Hermann von: [German physicist (1821-1894).] [Click for external biography] Although best remembered for his achievements as a physicist, Helmholtz contributed significantly both to the philosophy of science and to the psychology of perception [for details of which, see the entry for psychophysics]. For present purposes, his major works were "On Goethe's Scientific Researches" (1853) and "The Facts in Perception" (1878).



Help-Rejecting Complaining: This is one of the defense mechanisms postulated by psychoanalytic theory, and recognised by the DSM-IV as belonging to the "action" defense level. It presents as "complaining or making repetitious requests for help" (DSM-IV, 2000, p811), and then rejecting whatever is offered.



Hemispheric Loop Line: In his Principles, William James attempted to provide what he called a "general notion" (1890, p20) of the physiological layout of the nervous system. This was that "the lower centres act from present sensational stimuli alone; the hemispheres act from perceptions and considerations" (Ibid.). James summarized that notion graphically, using a circle to represent the nervous system below the level of the cerebral hemispheres, and a larger horizontal ovoid to represent the hemispheres themselves [click here to see reproduction]. There is a large and constant flow of information from the senses to the lower processing centres. This information is then analysed and used to support behaviour of the muscles. James describes this basic biological layout as the "direct line". He then describes the hemispheres as adding a "long circuit" or "loop-line" "through which the [nervous] current may pass when for any reason the direct line is not used" (p21).



Herbart, Johann Friedrich: [German educational psychologist (1776-1841).] [Click for external biography] Although Herbart was ostensibly an educational theorist, he is worth noting in the present context for three important contributions to mental philosophy. The first of these contributions is that he took a very "dynamic" view of what went on in the mind, seeing ideas as akin to forces and thoughts akin to the resulting movements. He also presumed that these movements and forces could be fitted to mathematical formulae, which could then be used, in turn, to design experiences for particular ends [this, of course, being the primary duty of any educator]. Herbart's second contribution is that he coined the term "limen" to indicate what has since been termed the "threshold of consciousness". Things would be happening in a given mind at a given point in time which were not yet fully formed or conscious. This he saw as a point beyond which a required idea needed to be excited in order to retrieve that idea back into consciousness. His third contribution arises from what happens once one or more new ideas has/have been raised above the limen of consciousness. What happens in this instance is that the individual mind's "apperceptive mass" expands to "assimilate" the new content.



Hermeneia: [Greek <ερμηνεια> ermeneia  = "speech, interpretation" (O.C.G.D.).] This classical Greek word for the act of explaining the nature of something in words was adopted by Heidegger (1927) as the root concept for his hermeneutic philosophy. In his commentary on Heidegger's Being and Time, Sheehan (1984) explains the relevance of the term as follows .....


"In ordinary experience human beings live in their concerns and projects and thus already have a practical, if unthematic, understanding (hermeneia) of the being of themselves, other people, tools and nature. For example, when we employ tools for purposes, we know the tool as for something, and this pragmatic as-factor indicates that human being already understands the being-dimension of the tool (X as being Y). In fact, Heidegger claims that the Greeks basically experienced being in this practical modality, as evidenced by their appropriation of the word ousia - which refers to things of practical concern, like tools and houses - for 'being'" (p294).



Hermeneutic Cycle: [See firstly hermeneutics.] This is Dreyfus's (1991) term to describe the fact that applications of the hermeneutic method need to be sustained iteratively, thus: "In general, the so-called hermeneutic cycle refers to the fact that in interpreting a text one must move back and forth between an overall interpretation and the details that a given reading lets stand out as important" (Dreyfus, 1991, p36).



Hermeneutic Phenomenology: See phenomenology, hermeneutic.



Hermeneutics: Hermeneutics is "the art or science of interpretation, esp. of scripture" (O.E.D.). The word was popularised within mental philosophy by Heidegger (1927/1962), as a way of explaining what it was about his Dasein construct which suddenly made it capable of interpreting itself. Thus: "The phenomenology of Dasein is a hermeneutic in the primordial signification of this word, where it designates this business of interpreting [..... and also] in the sense of working out the conditions on which the possibility of any ontological investigation depends" (p62). Dreyfus (1991) adds .....


" For Heidegger, hermeneutics begins at home in an interpretation of the structure of everydayness in which Dasein dwells. [..... It is] 'the attempt first of all to define the nature of interpretation' [.....] Hermeneutic phenomenology, then, is an interpretation of human beings as essentially self-interpreting, thereby showing that interpretation is the proper method for studying human beings" (p34).



Heron of Alexandria: [Alexandrian Greek inventor (19-75 CE; but dates contentious).] According to the O'Connor and Robertson (1999/2006 online) biography, Heron was probably a lecturer in mechanics and pneumatics at the Museum of Alexandria, and is famous for compiling a textbook of this technology and its application. These mechanisms and mechanical amusements included primitive attempts at automatic doors, the first steam turbine, and a entire range of animated statues and monumental ornaments. Woodcroft's (1851) compilation of Heron's Pneumatics is available online, courtesy of the Department of History at the University of Rochester [take me there].



Herophilus [Greek physician (properly Herophilus of Chalcedon) (fl. ca. 280 BCE). Herophilus was one of the first empirical anatomists, and was responsible for the modern terms choroid, retina, and duodenum.



Higher (Cognitive) Functions: [See firstly cognition.] This term is popular in the psychological literature as a broad-brush description of advanced thinking skills, although (ominously) there is no definitive list thereof. Norman (1990), for example, proposes six clusters of higher processes, all accessing a core of memory resources [click to see diagram], and our own analysis is set out in Smith (1993) [click to see diagram].



Higher-Order Consciousness: See consciousness, Edelman and Tononi's theory of.



Hillman, James: [American Jungian psychoanalyst (1926-).] [Click for external biography] Hillman is noteworthy in the context of the present glossary for his work on psychology, archetypal and self, polycentric.



Hipp Chronoscope: This is Hipp's (1848) apparatus [picture] for recording reaction time to an accuracy of a thousandth of a second. It was heavily used for the study of psychophysics in the 19th century.



Historia: [Greek = "inquiry, knowledge, information; science, narration; history" (O.C.G.D.).]



Hobbes, Thomas: [British Materialist philosopher (1588-1679).] [Click for external biography] Our interest with Hobbes derives primarily from his notion of the mind as mechanism, as dealt with in greater detail in the entry for machine consciousness.



Holbach, Paul: [German Materialist philosopher-encyclopaedist (1723-1789).] [Click for external biography] See Materialism and underlying mechanism.



Holding Environment: [See firstly object relations theory.] This is Winnicott's term for the relationship between an infant and its primary caregiver during that infant's most helpless months of life. Winnicott chose the word "holding" because of the literal physical contact involved, but nevertheless liked to observe the entire situation in which that contact took place, trying to locate the all-important but extremely fragile area within which the mother moved freely and felt in charge, thus .....


""Satisfactory parental care can be classified roughly into three overlapping stages: (a) Holding. (b) Mother and infant living together. Here the father's function (of dealing with the environment for the mother) is not known to the infant). (c) Father, mother, and infant, all three living together. The term 'holding' is used here to denote not only the actual physical holding of the infant, but also the total environmental provision prior to the concept of living with. [.....] The term 'living with' implies object relationships, and the emergence of the infant from the state of being merged with the mother, or his perception of objects as external to the self" (Winnicott, 1960, p588; bold emphasis added).


Here is the fuller theory .....


"Freud was able to formulate a theory of the very early stages of the emotional development of the individual at a time when theory was being applied only in the treatment of the well-chosen neurotic case. [.....] As we look back now we may say that cases were well chosen as suitable for analysis if in the very early personal history of the patient there had been good enough [note this term - Ed.] infant-care. [.....] At that time theory was groping towards a deeper insight into this matter of the mother with her infant, and indeed the term 'primary identification' implies an environment that is not yet differentiated from that which will be the individual. When we see a mother holding an infant soon after birth, or an infant not yet born, at this same time we know that there is another point of view, that of the infant if the infant were already there; and from this point of view the infant is either not yet differentiated out, or else the process of differentiation has started and there is absolute dependence on the immediate environment and its behaviour. It has now become possible to study and use this vital part of old theory in a new and practical way in analytical work, work either with borderline cases or else with the psychotic phases or moments that occur in the course of the analyses of neurotic patients or normal people. This work widens the concept of transference since at the time of the analysis of these phases the ego of the patient cannot be assumed as an established entity, and there can be no transference neurosis [without] an ego [.....]. I have referred to the state of affairs that exists when a move is made in the direction of emergence from primary identification. Here at first is absolute dependence. There are two possible kinds of outcome: by the one environmental adaptation to need is good enough, so that there comes into being an ego which, in time, can experience id-impulses; by the other environmental adaptation is not good enough, and so there is no true ego establishment, but instead there develops a pseudo-self which is a collection of innumerable reactions to a succession of failures of adaptation" (Winnicott, 1956, p386; emphasis added).


Or from the baby's point of view ..... 


"The baby takes for granted all things like the softness of the clothes and having the bath water at the right temperature. What cannot be taken for granted is the mother's pleasure that goes with the clothing and bathing of her own baby. If you are there enjoying it all, it is like the sun coming out for the baby. [If not,] the whole procedure is dead, useless, and mechanical" (Winnicott, 1957, p27).


Hopkins (1991) has looked in greater detail at the effects of physical rejection in the holding environment on the child's subsequent attachment behaviour. She presents case, Clare, case, Laura, and case, Paddy for consideration, and argues from those data that it is the availability and accessibility of the mother which is critical rather than the holding per se. [See now true self versus false self.]



Holism: Holism is a philosophical doctrine predicated upon the assertion that complex sociocultural and psychological phenomena can never ultimately be explained in terms of underlying chemical or physiological processes [in which respect it is diametrically opposed to the position known as "reductionism"]. The holistic approach is far from universally supported, because complex systems actually need to be dissected in order to obtain experimental data, and thus expose them to the rigours of the scientific method. The price of the data, however, is that you lose sight of the wood for looking at the trees. For canonical examples of holistic theories of psychology, see the work of the Gestalt school (cognition),



Holism-Reductionism Problem: See the separate entries for holism and reductionism



Holocaust, the: This is the received term for the systematic and institutionalised genocide inflicted upon the European Jews and other minorities by the Nazis during World War II. [See now aggression, institutionalisation of and case, Butrimonys.]



Homunculus Fallacy: [See firstly consciousness, Dennett's theory of and consciousness, Ryle's theory of.] The term "homunculus" [sometimes "homonculus"] is Latin for "little man", and was popularized within cognitive science by Penfield and Boldrey (1937), following a major exercise mapping the somatotopic organization of the cerebral cortex. Penfield and Boldrey's Figure 28 shows a deformed, but nevertheless recognizable, mapping of the skeletomuscular body onto a transverse section of the primary sensory and motor areas. Now it so happened that Penfield and Boldrey's neuroanatomical data reflected on the long and bitter philosophical debate about soul, and the notion of an inner spirit of some sort in the mind was about to be severely criticised in Ryle's "The Concept of Mind" (Ryle, 1949). Ryle has argued that the very notion of "inner" and "outer" worlds was "notoriously charged with theoretical difficulties" (Ryle, 1949, p14), and had described as "Descartes' myth" the idea that there could be such a thing as a "ghost in the machine". Attneave (1960) wrote a paper entitled "In Defence of Homunculi" in which he argued that the problem of regression only applies "if we try to make the homunculus do everything" (p778). He sides with Bullock (1961) that there has to be a trigger neural unit somewhere which decides on the basis of the information available to it whether to authorise a particular piece of behaviour - that is to say, a "final functional unit", which, "like a military general" (Bullock, 1961, p718) acts as a "decision unit". We like Baars' (1997) distillation of Ryle's position, as follows: "If we had an observing self contemplating the contents of consciousness, he [= Ryle] argued, how would we explain the self itself? By another observer inside the inner self?" (p143). This particular problem is not new, however, being quite clearly seen in Aristotle's De Anima, thus: "..... if the sense that perceives sight were some other sense than sight, the only alternative to an infinite regress [note this phrase] will be that there be some sense that perceives itself [so] why not let this be a feature of the first of the series?" (p192, Lawson-Tancred translation). The topic became mainstream as part of the 1980s debate on whether a machine could ever be conscious, with Searle (1990) judging that most computational theory is guilty of the homunculus fallacy. Dennett's even more substantial point is that the whole notion of perceptual representation is riddled with the homunculus fallacy. This is because "nothing is intrinsically a representation of anything; something is a representation only for or to someone" (Dennett, 1981, p122; emphasis added).



Hope of Success (HS): See personality, motivation and.



Hot Cognition: See hyperconnectivity model.



Hrdy, Sarah B.: [American anthropologist-primatologist] [Click for external biography] Hrdy is noteworthy in the context of the present glossary for her work on infanticide and the selfish gene.



Hughlings Jackson, John: [British neurologist (1835-1911).] [Click for external biography] John Hughlings Jackson graduated from medical school in 1856, and took up a residency at the York Dispensary under Thomas Laycock, from whom he quickly acquired a fascination with neurology. He moved on to the then-recently-founded National Hospital for the Paralysed and Epileptic, Queens Square, London [now the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery] in 1862, specialising initially in epilepsy and gradually developing an reputation for the thoroughness of his clinical observation and the originality of his analyses [although apparently he eschewed formal experimentation and rarely used a microscope]. Amongst the career achievements identified by Meares (1999/2006 online), we have the following (abridged, and with individual citations removed; note carefully the point about representation, re-representation, and re-re-representation) .....


1. On the Self: "Jackson's approach to an understanding of mental illness began with a working model of 'mind'. He saw mind, or self, as a manifestation of brain function. [.....] He believed that one arose our of the other, so that there emerges a 'concomitant parallelism'. [.....] The next step in his argument concerned an adequate description of 'self'. Jackson believed himself to be the first to use the term in medical writing. He conceived it as double, consisting of subject and object or, as he put it, of 'subject consciousness...symbolised by 'I' [and] object consciousness...Each by itself is nothing; [each] is only half itself'. In essence, self depended on the emergence of what he called the 'introspection of consciousness'" (Meares, 1999).


2. On Basic Nervous System Organisation: "Early in his career Jackson worked under the physician Thomas Laycock and was impressed by his doctrine of reflex cerebral action. Jackson was also influenced by the philosopher Herbert Spencer, who suggested an evolutionary organization of the brain. These two ideas were joined in Jackson’s quest for an understanding of the evolution of self. He conceived of the central nervous system (CNS) in terms of its simplest functional unit. For Jackson, this unit was reflexive, the smallest element of sensorimotor function. Each of these units is a representing system. The brain, in his view, evolves and develops through an increasingly complex coordination of these units. As the organism evolves to a higher stage of function, it is not as if something new were being tacked on, which provides new representations. Rather, there is a re-representation. At a higher stage still, there is a re-re-representation, so that the most recently evolved part of the brain, the cerebral cortex, is 'universally representing'. 'The whole nervous system is a sensori-motor mechanism, a co-ordinating system from top to bottom'" (Meares, 1999).


3. On the Mind-Brain Problem: "Jackson rejected the idea that the mind or self requires a special new form of neural function to be built into the human brain. He wrote: 'There is no autocratic mind at the top to receive sensations as a sort of raw material, out of which to manufacture ideas, etc., and then to associate these ideas'. The appearance of self is the manifestation of a more complex coordination than previously. What is new, then, is a new, or higher, system of unification of the whole organism whereby the organism as a whole is adjusted to the environment. Self, however, is dependent on the evolution of anatomically new structures. Jackson suggested that the evolutionary development of the prefrontal cortex is necessary to the emergence of self. In this sense it could be called the 'organ of mind'. However, this is not to say that self resides in the prefrontal cortex. Rather, the new structure allows a more complex coordination of what is 'anatomically a sensori-motor machine'" (Meares, 1999).


Here is Jackson himself, firstly on the architectural principles of the intact system .....


"Beginning with evolution, and dealing only with the most conspicuous parts of the process, I say of it that it is an ascending development in a particular order. I make three statements which, although from different standpoints, are about the very same thing. 1. Evolution is a passage from the most to the least organised; that is to say, from the lowest, well organised, centres up to the highest, least organised, centres [.....] 2. Evolution is a passage from the most simple to the most complex; again, from the lowest to the highest centres [.....] 3. Evolution is a passage from the most automatic to the most voluntary. The triple conclusion [] is that the highest centres, which are the climax of nervous evolution, and which make up the 'organ of mind' (or physical basis of consciousness) are the least organised, the most complex, and the most voluntary" (Jackson, 1884; extracted in Herrnstein and Boring, 1965, p234).


..... and then on what happens when such a system is damaged (note the use of the word "layer" to apply to the brain centres as anatomical structures, and of the phrase "level of evolution" to apply to the relative functional complexity of those centres) .....


"So much for the positive process by which the nervous system is 'put together' - Evolution. Now for the negative process, the 'taking to pieces' - Dissolution. Dissolution being the reverse of [evolution] is a process of undevelopment; it is a 'taking to pieces' in the order from the least organised, from the most complex and most voluntary, towards the most organised, most simple, and most automatic. [..... T]he statement, 'to undergo dissolution' is rigidly the equivalent of the statement, 'to be reduced to a lower level of evolution' [..... and] the assertion is that each person's normal thought and conduct are, or signify, survivals of the fittest states of what we may call the topmost 'layer' of his highest centres: the normal highest level of evolution" (Jackson, 1884; extracted in Herrnstein and Boring, 1965, pp234-235).


For Jackson's views on the cognitive series, see that entry. Note also the pre-sensation as a sort of rudimentary consciousness of a lower level of nervous activity by a higher level.


[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.]



Hume, David: [Scottish Empiricist philosopher (1711-1776).] [Click for external biography] Hume's "Treatise of Human Nature" (Hume, 1748-1752/1911) is a late-Enlightenment classic on such topics as the association of ideas, causality, and moral philosophy. As an Associationist, Hume is remembered for his "three principles of association", namely "resemblance", "contiguity in time or place", and "cause and effect". Of these, the third is the most effective, there being no relation, he asserts "which produces a stronger connection in the fancy, and makes one idea more readily recall another, than the relation of cause and effect betwixt their objects" (Hume, Treatise; Nidditch edition, p11). The fundamental processes of association are responsible for the development of complex ideas out of simple ones.



Humour: This is one of the defense mechanisms postulated by psychoanalytic theory, and recognised by the DSM-IV as belonging to the "high adaptive" defense level. It works by emphasising "the amusing or ironic aspects of the conflict or stressor" (p812).



Hurley, Susan L.: [British cognitive scientist ().] [Academic website] Hurley is noteworthy in the context of the present glossary for her work on mirror neurons and shared circuits.



Husserl, Edmund: [German Phenomenologist philosopher (1859-1938).] [Click for external biography] The works analysed in this glossary are Logical Investigations (Husserl, 1900/2001) and Ideas (Husserl, 1913/1931). [See now consciousness, Husserl's theory of for the generalities, and the entries for act vs content debate, ego, ego cogito, eidetic singularity, function, genus, idea, immanent, intentionality (1), and intuition, for the specifics.]



Hyle: [<υλη> Greek = "that out of which something is made; material, matter".] See substance, and contrast morphe. Then see also hylomorphism.



Hyletic: See consciousness, Husserl's theory of.



Hyletic Phenomenology: See phenomenology, hyletic.



Hypercathexis: [See firstly cathexis.] This is the standard (i.e., Strachey) translation of Überbesetzung in Freud's Project and later writings. It indicates a system of neurons which, having been charged up with more than the normal amount of excitation (the result of trauma, say), has gone into a state of troublesome overload, threatening, consequently, to overwhelm the Ego's (often delicately balanced) defense mechanisms. The extent to which painful memories are then re-experienced depends on how effectively further defenses can be deployed relative to the strength of the overload. The physiological processes are simply an extension of those involved in cathexis in general, and may also be involved in the entirely non-emotional processes of attentional control.



 Hyperconnectivity Model: [See firstly aggression, hearing voices and.] This is Beck and Rector's (2003) attempt to explain schizophrenic auditory hallucinations in terms of "hypervalent", or "hot", cognitions. The model incorporates a number of conceptual building blocks, as follows .....


(1) Hyperactive Cognitions: The first important consideration when trying to understand the mechanisms of hallucination is to remember that the mind "consists of suborganisations composed of representations embedded in cognitive schemas" (p27). These representations are of external entities and the schemas organise recall from the confusion of available memories and memory types. Here is how the authors themselves see this arrangement in operation .....


"When any of the schemas is activated, it elicits a derivative cognition: a memory, a rule, an expectation. Externally oriented cognitions present as fears, predictions, and projected evaluations by others. Internally oriented cognitions assume the form of self-evaluations, self-control, self-commands and prohibitions, self-criticism, and self-praise. These kinds of cognitions occur normally in individuals but tend to be accentuated in the setting of psychopathology. They also often provide the content of hallucinations. When activated, the schemas play a role in information processing providing meaning to experiences. When  hyperactive, they can preempt the central processing and produce interpretations (cognitions) that are congruent with their content rather than with external reality" (Beck and Rector, 2003, p27).


(2) Predisposition to Auditory Imaging: The next important consideration is to recognise that hallucinators have "a special predilection" (p28) for involuntary auditory hallucinations (although the explanation for this is far from apparent). There is, however, a mixed literature on the issue whether they are, or are not, deficient at voluntary auditory imaging. There have also been reports of a possible link to the phenomenon of inner speech. Here Beck and Rector mention a fMRI study by Shergill, Cameron, and Brammer (2001), which looked at the neural activity associated with auditory hallucinations. They reported that the pattern of said neural activity was "remarkably similar" to that seen in normal subjects asked to imagine another person talking to them. There was, however, reduced activity in the supplementary motor area when hallucinations were ongoing, which they speculated might be related to the lack of awareness that inner speech was being generated.


(3) "Perceptualisation": This is Beck and Rector's answer to the question how internally originated phenomena might be experienced as identical to externally originated ones. They begin by pointing out that the process of perception is prone to "gross distortion" (p30) of reality in the best of us, and then point to a defect in allocating current excitation to internal or external sources. 


(4) Disinhibition: Beck and Rector then note that schizophrenics show differences in their ability to inhibit certain mental processes.


(5) Externalising Bias: Hallucinators also appear to be unusually prone to attribute feedback of their own voice to an external source. 


(6) Deficient Reality Testing: The next problem to be overcome by the would-be hallucinator is to fail to detect that the perceptualised and externalised voices are in any way inconsistent. Beck and Rector here point out that psychotics are well known for having hypoactive [= weaker than normal] "reality-testing tendencies" (p35), and probably favour "'easy' (but erroneous" (p35) methods of information processing as a result. They illustrate what is at stake by contrasting the behaviour of hallucinators - which is to accept the hallucination more or less at face value - and those who hear sounds as the result of tinnitus - who go out of the way to validate their perception in some way. 


(7) Reasoning Biases: Another factor in predisposing people to auditory hallucinations is that they are curiously subject to circular reasoning of the following sort .....


"Another patient Hank heard voices that he attributed to the Knights of King Arthur's Round Table. Because he heard voices from the past, he inferred that he must have lived in the past. Consequently, because he lived in the past, this confirmed that the voices came from people in the past and consequently were real" (Beck and Rector, 2003, p37).


(8) Progression of Hot Thoughts to Voices: Finally, Beck and Rector note that hallucination-prone patients may have the same basic inner speech processes as normals, but only up to the point where inner speech shades into "external voice". Thus .....


"A woman, for example, was working on a manual project and became frustrated when she ran into difficulties. She thought, 'I can't do anything right. I'm a wimp.' Following this charged cognition, she heard a voice saying, 'You can't do anything right'. Because thoughts like these trigger an emotional response, they are often labelled 'hot cognitions'. Another patient, a man, had a different ultimate vocalised cognition after a frustration, 'But you will accomplish great things'" (Beck and Rector, 2003, p39).



Hypersexuality: [See firstly differential diagnosis, psychiatric.] Clinically significant increases in sexual activity (to the extent that that judgment can actually successfully be made, for not all clinicians believe that it can, provided it has no underlying physical cause) is a clinical sign used in the differential diagnosis of psychiatric disorders, specifically the manic phase of the bipolar disorders [it is not, rather significantly, dealt with under the heading of sexual and gender identity disorders]. It has also been suggested that hypersexuality might productively be regarded as a coping behaviour which is somehow failing to deliver, or as a difficulty establishing and maintaining emotional intimacy (Mayo Clinic). As explained by the Mayo Clinic, "many people who engage in compulsive sexual behaviour report a past history of sexual or physical abuse", and use sex "as an escape from other problems, such as loneliness, depression, anxiety, or stress". The condition is characterised in a number of ways, including: having multiple sexual partners; excessive masturbation; engaging in sexual activity when stressed or depressed; exposing yourself in public; using pornography frequently.



Hyperthymia: [From the Greek "heightened mood".] This is a recently identified disorder not yet officially accepted into the DSM-IV. It consists of recurrent hypomanic episodes, not accompanied by depression. 



Hypnosis: Hypnosis is "artificially produced sleep; esp. that induced by hypnotism; the hypnotic state" (O.E.D.). The term was coined by Braid (1843) as an alternative to Mesmerism.



Hypomania: Interpreted literally, hypomania is a sub-mania, that is to say, it displays many of the behaviours belong to full mania, but tends to fall short of disrupting everyday life. The distinguishing behaviours of a hypomanic episode include talking incessantly, feeling full of ideas, switchbacking between euphoria and irritability, being easily distracted, and being "unusually friendly" (Mind website). Hypomanic individuals are often difficult to help as friends, because they often respond with anger if anyone suggests they might have a problem. Beck (1967) describes hypomania this way .....


"The thought content is opposite that of depression. The dominant cognitive patterns are exaggerated ideas of personal abilities, minimisation of external obstacles, and overly optimistic expectations. These patterns lead to euphoria, to increased drive, and to overactivity" (p270).



Hysteria: [See firstly hysterikos.] Historically speaking, hysteria was one of the first "mental" disorders ever to be documented and theorised about (the ancient Egyptians attributed it to a "wandering uterus"). It presents clinically as a dramatic physical dysfunction, capable of kicking in more or less instantaneously, and disabling the patient's normal interaction with the world. It is characterised by a loss of volitional control, showing itself in a number of possible objective signs, such as unconsciousness, emotional outbursts, heaviness of limb, cramps, convulsions, etc. Probably the earliest explanation of hysteria (and, indeed, any loss of identity or consciousness occurring in the absence of an obvious physical cause) would have been that it involved possession by demons. Ancient "psychiatry" was thus based on the warding off or casting out of the troublesome others from an otherwise blameless host, the process commonly known as "exorcism". It is convenient to focus on four separate aspects of the disorder, namely (a) whether there is a background "hysterical personality" of some sort, more than usually prone to this sort of breakdown, (b) the nature of the periods of acute attack, (c) the nature of the triggering events, and (d) what to do about it. The classical explanation for this package of symptoms was that the sufferer - always a woman - had an affliction of the womb [check this out]. Hippocrates's view of hysteria was as follows .....


"Hysteria was shrewdly considered by him to be due to the movement of the womb (hysteron) throughout the body. He antedated by two thousand years the modern findings of the place of sexuality in the neurosis. Although Hippocrates prescribed the traditional tight bandage around the abdomen for hysterical paroxysms, with fumigation by warm vapours conveyed through a funnel into the vagina, he astutely advised as a more practical remedy for hysteria 'to indulge the intentions of nature and to light the torch of Hymen [the Goddess of marriage - Ed.]'" (Bromberg, 1954, p28).


The Middle Ages were never enlightened times, but the treatment of mental health disorders reached a new low in the late 15th century with the publication of Kramer and Sprenger's (1484) Malleus Maleficarum ("The Witches' Hammer"). Fathers Kramer and Sprenger - carrying their papers from Pope Innocent VIII as "Inquisitors of heretical pravities" - explicitly promoted the idea "that women are closely allied to sin" and that it was "to the devil's advantage to encourage carnal pleasures" (in Bromberg, 1954, p51). Unfortunately for the innocently neurotic and the politely confused, the signs of demonic possession overlapped in many key respects with those of witchcraft [one of the officially recognised signs of possession, for example, was that your disorder simply defied alternative diagnosis], and so for a long while psychiatry's treatment of choice was burning at the stake (in the patient's own best interests one hastens to add)! The burnings began at once, but in fact did not peak until the 1640s, when the arch-Puritan Matthew Hopkins - "witch-finder general" to the Parliamentarians in the English Civil War - whipped the populace up into a frenzy of Christian fundamentalism [tell me this story].


ASIDE: There is, of course, no shortage of witch-hunts in the modern world, as any NHS or civil service "whistle-blower" will confirm, nor is there any shortage of fundamentalist idiocy on offer either.


So powerful was the belief in witchcraft, indeed, that only slowly did the Enlightenment - when finally it did start to arrive - become properly enlightened. Bromberg notes, for example, that as late as 1769 the University of Edinburgh physician William Cullen, in his textbook of "Physick", was still actively having to dismiss the notion of demonic possession in mental disease. As Descartes had before him, Cullen recognised that there had to be some basic form of "motion" within the nervous system, and that this could therefore go wrong, but too little was known about the mind and soul. He coined the term "neurosis" to designate diseases not accompanied by fever, "bad habit" (such as scurvy), or focal lesion (such as cancer). Hysteria was thus a neurosis, rather than possession, and as to what caused it, Cullen sided with Hippocrates .....


"[Hysteria] affects the barren more than the breeding woman, and therefore frequently young widows ..... It occurs in those females who are liable to the nymphomania; and the nosologists [diagnosticians] have properly enough marked one of the varieties of the disease by the title Hysteria libidinosa. [.....] In what manner the uterus and in particular the ovaria ..... rise upwards to the brain so as to cause convulsions .... I cannot explain" (Cullen, 1769, Physick; in Bromberg, 1954, p75).


The 18th century also saw the rise of the great "mad-houses". Bethlehem Hospital in London (the archetypal "bedlam") had been specialising in "lunaticks" (and other ne'er-do-wells such as beggars, prostitutes, and petty criminals) since 1547 and the Salpêtrière had been doing much the same in Paris since 1675. These were then joined by Norwich Bethel in 1713, the lunatic wards at Guy's Hospital in 1723, Manchester Asylum in 1766, and Newcastle Asylum in 1767, and, in the US, by Williamsburg Asylum, VA, in 1773, and Frankfort Asylum, PA, in 1817. But although physicians like Cullen were doing their best to be enlightened, they were not at the front line, and those that actually ran the institutions relied mainly on brutality and physical restraint. Then, in a short period of time now known as "the humane period", each of the asylums suddenly acquired its own relatively enlightened director. Pride of place is traditionally given to Philippe Pinel, who joined the Salpêtrière in 1792, and (ably assisted by Baptiste Pussin) freed its inmates of their chains - literally as well as figuratively. In Britain the key figures included William Tuke at York (1795), Charles Worth and Gardner Hill at Lincoln, and John Conolly at Hanwell. In America it was Benjamin Rush [whom we met in the entry for multiple personality, and who had studied as a young man under Cullen at Edinburgh]. One of the products of the humane period was the technique of hypnosis. The first "modern" student of hysteria was Jean-Martin Charcot, resident physician at the Salpêtrière Psychiatric Hospital, Paris, between 1862 and 1893. He had some 4000 female inmates at his disposal (Didi-Huberman, 2003), and simply described what he saw. He was also free to devise experimental new therapies, including hypnosis. Now one of Charcot's students during the winter of 1885-6 was a not-long-qualified Sigmund Freud, and so impressed was he with Charcot's use of hypnosis that he and his colleague Josef Breuer adopted the technique themselves. The essence of their method was to use a hypnotic state to get back to the patient's suppressed memories of some earlier trauma, and the two men published their results in Studien über Hysterie ("Studies on Hysteria") (Freud and Breuer, 1895). Here is an indicative extract .....


"For we found, to our great surprise at first, that each individual hysterical symptom immediately and permanently disappeared when we had succeeded in bringing clearly into the light the memory of the event by which it was provoked and in arousing its accompanying affect, and when the patient had described that event in the greatest possible detail and had put the affect into words" (Breuer and Freud, 1893, in Freud and Breuer, 1895, p57).


The main theoretical coverage of the new technique was in Breuer's Part III of the book. Here he reviews the main points to be reflected upon, including whether hysterical phenomena are wholly ideogenic, the physical pathways and mechanisms involved, the role of symbolism in the association of ideas, the nature of the hypnoid state and the transitions into and out of it, and the nature of the unconscious ideas which were doing the damage. And one factor turned out to be especially puzzling in its own right, even to the extent of helping to define the essence of the disorder. Here is Breuer himself on this .....


"We call those ideas conscious which we are aware of. [..... But w]hat seems hard to understand is how an idea can be sufficiently intense to provoke a lively motor act, for instance, and at the same time not intense enough to become conscious" (Breuer, 1895, in Freud and Breuer, pp300-302).


The explanation, Breuer suggests, is that the conscious element gets "converted" (p302) into somatic stimuli. This would allow the ideas which triggered the acute episodes to not be recognised as such by the patient, and it was to bring this causal link to consciousness that the method of hypnosis was used. The neurologist Pierre Janet also specialised in the hysterias, and he, too, emphasised the defining role of somehow-badly-managed ideation in the disorder .....


"The first psychological notion that appears to me to result with the greatest clearness from all the contemporary works is a notion relative to the importance of ideas in certain hysterical accidents. Charcot, studying the paralyses, had shown that the disease is not produced by a real accident, but by the idea of this accident. [..... I]deas have a greater importance, and, above all, a greater bodily action than with the normal man. They seem to penetrate more deeply into the organism, and to bring about motor and visceral modifications. [.....] 'What characterises hystericals,' [Mathier and Roux] said, 'is less the fact of accepting some idea or other than the action exercised by this idea on their stomachs or intestines.' [..... Other workers] have repeated [.....] quite similar definitions. 'A phenomenon is hysterical,' said Babinski, 'when it can be produced through suggestion and cured through persuasion'." (Janet, 1907, pp310-311).


Janet goes on to suggest that a "dissociation of consciousness" (p314) of some sort might be involved somewhere along the line, thus .....


"Suggestion itself is but a case of this dissociation of consciousness. [.....] The point which seems to me to be the most delicate in this definition is to indicate to what depth this dissociation reaches. [.....] What is dissolved is personality, the system of grouping of the different functions around the same personality. [..... Hysteria] is a malady of the personal synthesis, [namely] a form of mental depression characterised by the retraction of the field of personal consciousness and a tendency to the dissociation and emancipation of the systems of ideas and functions that constitute personality" (pp314-315).


Myerson (1920?/2006 online) described hysteria as "a weapon in marital conflicts", and presented a case history of a 38-year old female which makes an interesting read [take me there]. Hysteria has not been recognised as a diagnostic category since DSM-III in 1980, and the syndrome is treated under the 1995 DSM-IV as a "somatoform disorder".


[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.]



Hysteria, Epidemic: [See firstly hysteria.] [Often "mass hysteria".] The term "epidemic hysteria" refers to "the rapid spread of conversion symptoms and anxiety states" in "enclosed settings, such as schools and factories" in response to either a maliciously placed or spontaneously emerging triggering rumour [compare "meme"]. The classic example of epidemic hysteria is that of the supposed demonic possessions which led to the witch-hunts of the mid-to-late 17th century .....


click here for the story of the "witches of Salem"


Bartholomew and Goode (2000/2007 online) provide a generally humorous introduction to the modern subject area [we confess to being particularly fond of the Great Lagos Penis Theft case (Nigeria, 1990), even though innocent people are reported to have lost their lives]. More seriously, the following have been claimed as hysterical phenomena by at least some authorities .....


chronic fatigue syndrome; Gulf War syndrome; recovered memory syndrome; satanic ritual abuse; multiple personality disorder; alien abduction


 So what are the distinctive signs of epidemic hysteria? Here are Bartholomew and Goode again .....


"Mass hysteria is characterised by the rapid spread of conversion disorder, a condition involving the appearance of bodily complaints for which there is no organic basis. In such episodes, psychological distress is converted or channeled into physical symptoms" (emphasis added).


The writer Elaine Showalter adds .....


"Hysteria not only survives in the 1990s, it is more contagious than in the past. [.....] The cultural narratives of hysteria, which I call hystories, multiply rapidly and uncontrollably in the era of mass media, telecommunications, and e-mail. [.....These h]ystories have internal similarities or evolve in similar directions as they're retold - which has convinced many doctors and researchers that these stories must be true. [.....] Literary critics, however, realise that similarities between two stories do not mean that they mirror a common reality [..... because] writers inherit common themes, structures, characters, and inmages; critics call these common elements intertextuality. We need not assume that patients are [.....] lying when they present similar narratives of symptoms. Instead, patients learn about diseases from the media, unconsciously develop the symptoms, and then attract media attention in an endless cycle" (Showalter, 1997, pp5-6)


Mohr and Bond (1982) have studied an outbreak of hysteria in a girl's school, and conclude as follows .....


"A typical outbreak of mass hysteria lasts for a few days and affects about a third of the school. Most victims are adolescent girls who are affected by hyperventilation and fainting [etc.]. Epidemics are often triggered by a general fear or rumour [.....]. The Eysenck Personality Inventory [.....] showed that affected girls could be differentiated by the neurotic score (N factor); furthermore, children with behavioural abnormalities were more likely to be affected" (Mohr and Bond, 1982, p962).



Hysterikos: Greek = "of, from, or pertaining to the womb". [See now hysteria.]



Iconic Memory: Very short-term visual memory, first formally investigated by Sperling (1960).


ASIDE: The distinction between very short-term memory and ordinary short-term memory is unlikely to be a physiological one. Both forms are probably "electrical STM" as defined in memory, physiological types, albeit probably located in different processing modules, one more peripheral than the other.



ICS: See interacting cognitive subsystems.



Idea: [See firstly the G2 pump-priming material on forms and ideas.] Here is an extract from the Catholic Encyclopedia concerning Plato's conceptualisation of ideas .....


"The word was originally Greek, but passed without change into Latin. It seems first to have meant form, shape, or appearance, whence, by an easy transition, it acquired the connotation of nature, or kind. It was equivalent to eidos, of which it is merely the feminine, but Plato's partiality for this form of the term and its adoption by the Stoics secured its ultimate triumph over the masculine. Indeed it was Plato who won for the term idea the prominent position in the history of philosophy that it retained for so many centuries. With him the word idea, contrary to the modern acceptance, meant something that was primarily and emphatically objective, something outside of our minds. It is the universal archetypal essence in which all the individuals coming under a universal concept participate. By sensuous perception we obtain, according to Plato, an imperfect knowledge of individual objects; by our general concepts, or notions, we reach a higher knowledge of the idea of these objects. But what is the character of the idea itself? What is its relation to the individual object? And what is its relation to the author or originator of the individual things? The Platonic doctrine of ideas is very involved and obscure. Moreover, the difficulty is further complicated by the facts that the account of the idea given by Plato in different works is not the same, that the chronological order of his writings is not certain, and, finally, still more because we do not know how far the mythological setting is to be taken literally. Approximately, however, Plato's view seems to come to this: — To the universal notions, or concepts, which constitute science, or general knowledge as it is in our mind, there correspond ideas outside of our mind. These ideas are truly universal. They possess objective reality in themselves. They are not something indwelling in the individual things, as, for instance, form in matter, or the essence which determines the nature of an object. Each universal idea has its own separate and independent existence apart from the individual object related to it. It seems to dwell in some sort of celestial universe (en ouranio topo). In contrast with the individual objects of sense experience, which undergo constant change and flux, the ideas are perfect, eternal, and immutable" [see the full entry].


Aristotle provides a competing definition, thus: "By eidos", he wrote, "I mean the essence of each thing and its primary substance" (Metaphysics, 1032b; Ross translation [yet again non-classicists are at the mercy of the translator. Lawson-Tancred (1998) renders the same phrase as: "By form I mean the what-it-was-to-be-that-thing for each thing and the primary substance" (p190)]), and on behalf of the British Empiricists, John Locke offers the notion of the "simple idea", a class of idea arising either from sensation or thought, and characterized by not being a compound of lesser ideas, thus .....


"The coldness and hardness which a man feels in a piece of ice being as distinct ideas in the mind as the smell and whiteness of a lily [.....] which, being each in itself uncompounded contains in it nothing but one uniform appearance or conception in the mind, and is not distinguishable into different ideas" (Locke, 1690, p71).


However, Locke then allows for "complex ideas", that is to say, ideas which are "made by the mind out of simple ones" (Locke, 1690, p108), and which are "ultimately resolvable into simple ideas" (Op. cit., p206). With ideas of substance, for example, this happens whenever the mind notices "that a certain number of these simple ideas go constantly together" (p208). Locke goes on to identify three subclasses of complex idea, respectively "modes", "substances", and "relations". The philosopher Willard Quine even rejects the notion altogether, arguing that "there is no place in science for ideas" (Quine, 1990, p89), recommending instead the term universals. [See now idea, simple and idea, complex.]



Idea, Simple: See idea.



Idea, Complex:  See idea.



Idealisation: 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 involves dealing with emotional conflict "by attributing exaggerated positive qualities to others" (DSM-IV, 2000, p812). [For the role of idealisation in the aetiology of borderline personality disorder, see personality, splitting of.]



Idealism: Idealism is one of the two possible monist positions in the mind-brain debate (the other being physicalism). In its strictest interpretation, it is the notion that there exist laws of the mind which will (once they have been finally and fully established) be able to explain not just the workings of the mind, but the workings of the brain as well. Less strictly interpreted, Kant refers at one point in his Critique to "material idealism" as "the theory that declares the existence of objects in space outside us either to be merely doubtful and unprovable, or to be false and impossible" (p288). The most notorious of the "strict" Idealists was Berkeley, as the quotations in the entry for reality will illustrate. [See also Idealism, Objective.]



Idealism, Objective: This is Smith's (1989/2005 online) term for a variant form of Idealism proposed by the philosophers Bergmann and Lotze, in which judgments of truth are required to be made against "some objective standard, transcendent to the judgment". In Bergmann's case, the standard was expressed in his notion of the Sachverhalt. Knowledge for Bergmann, he explains, was the sort of thinking "whose thought content is in harmony with the Sachverhalt, and is therefore true". In Lotze's (1880) case, it was the sachliche Verhältnis [= "material relation"] which mattered, because this was free to differ whenever the contents of a perceptual scene were simply rearranged. Indeed, one has to "picture" the relation of those objects before you can express its truth in sentence form as a proposition. [See now, and carefully compare, Sachverhalt and Sachverhältnis.]



Ideation: See the G.2 pump-priming definitions.



Ideational Complex: See complex



Identification (E/0/1/2/3): [See firstly internalisation.] In everyday language, the phrase "to identify with someone" means "to make one in interest, feeling, principle, action, etc." with that someone, and has been in use with that meaning since at least the middle of the 18th century (O.E.D.). The derived noun "identification" means "the becoming or making oneself one with another, in feeling, interest, or action", and has been in use with that meaning since about the middle of the 19th century (ibid.). To identify with someone (and we have to recognise that the someone in question might as easily be fictional as real) is to empathise in some way with them, or to model your behaviour, your interpretation of the world, your ambitions, and even your whole being, upon theirs. This process - part imitation, part idealisation, part self-betterment by self-rejection - is typically triggered by it being noted (a) that the person thus identified with is (or has been, or might one day be) possessed of some crucial physical or mental or behavioural attribute, and (b) that said physical or mental or behavioural attribute has an emotional side to it which strikes an important chord. To put it plainly, something in the person identified with "clicks with you", "does it for you". Identification is thus .....


a process whereby the self improves its own jigsaw picture using parts of another's


It follows that identification is automatically a major topic within psychology. What, for example, are the mechanisms of this self-modelling process, and to what extent do they operate unconsciously? And where does it all end - because if we are just patchworks of fragments copied from others - just Frankenstein selves, so to speak - what does that make us? Identification, in short, is one of the keys (if not the key) to understanding what it means to be human, and in the remainder of this entry we shall endeavour to trace the evolution of this entire philosophical construct. In the event, we shall be recognising four distinct technical uses of the notion [numbered 0 to 3 below], and three of the word itself [numbered 1 to 3 below], as follows .....


Identification (0) - As Implicit Construct in Freud's Early Writings (to 1895): Freud once confessed to being "far from satisfied" (Freud, 1933/1964, New Introductory Lectures, pp94-95) with his ability to conceptualise the process of identification, even though he had by then long regarded it as one of the fundamentals of psychoanalytic theory. To understand this concern, we need to go back to the early 1890s, when Freud was facing the problem of how to develop further the model of mind he had woven so successfully into his monograph On Aphasia (Freud, 1891) [readers unfamiliar with the cognitive architecture proposed in On Aphasia should familiarise themselves with the summative diagram reproduced in the companion resource before proceeding]. We also need to understand that Freud was already an accomplished interdisciplinary theorist. As we explained in the first sidenote to the entry for Freud's Project, he was able to move with equal authority between the micro- and the macro- levels of neurophysiology. He had also acquired first-hand clinical experience working under Charcot in the hysteria wards at the Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris (1885-1886), as well as in his own private practice in "nervous disease" in Vienna, where he worked closely with Josef Breuer. None of these bodies of experience bears directly on the process of identification, but the point is that they do not have to, because the mere fact that identification is such a fundamental process means that every patient Freud had ever seen had done his or her fair share of it (and pathologically, too, in many cases). Nevertheless, identification was not yet the central topic of Freud's emerging theories, although there are two early areas where it seems to be at work, but only silently; that is to say, where the term itself was not explicitly used. The first of these areas was hysteria, the focus of Freud's writing in the years 1891 to 1894, where it can easily be argued that identification is what causes hysterical patients to produce physical behaviours similar to those seen in others - the process which is at the heart of the phenomenon of epidemic hysteria. Freud complains of case, Elisabeth von R., for example, that .....


"From the beginning it seemed to probable that Fräulein Elisabeth was conscious of the basis of her illness, that what she had in her consciousness was only a secret and not a foreign body. Looking at her, one could not help thinking of the poet's words: Das Mäskchen da weissagt verborgnen Sinn [= "her mask reveals a hidden sense]" (Freud, 1893-1895, Studies on Hysteria [Case History #5], p206; bold emphasis added).


The second area where the processes of identification were only obliquely acknowledged was in the detailed neurophysiological theory put forward in Project for a Scientific Psychology (Freud, 1895/1966) [for full details of which, see Freud's Project]. In this highly "reductionist" work, Freud turns to the micro-anatomical knowledge he had acquired while working for Brücke between 1875 and 1881, and focuses on an entirely different subset of the mind's mysteries, namely its underlying neurophysiology. Again he does not resort to the words "identification with" or the construct "identification", but, as the following extract demonstrates, he was gradually homing in on what it meant to the brain to gaze outwards on a "fellow human-being", thus ..... 


"We come now to a third possibility that can arise in a wishful state: when, that is, there is a wishful cathexis and a perception emerges which does not coincide in any way with the wished-for mnemic image (mnem.+). Thereupon there arises an interest for cognizing this perceptual image, so that it may perhaps after all be possible to find a pathway from it to mnem. +. [.....] If the perceptual image is not absolutely new, it will now recall and revive a mnemic perceptual image with which it coincides at least partly. The previous process of thought is now repeated in connection with this mnemic image [.....]. In so far as the cathexes coincide, they give no occasion for activity of thought. On the other hand, the non-coinciding portions 'arouse interest' and can give occasion for activity of thought in two ways. [Examples given.] Let us suppose that the object which furnishes the perception resembles the subject - a fellow human-being. If so, the theoretical interest [taken in it] is also explained by the fact that an object like this was simultaneously the [subject's] first satisfying object and further his first hostile object, as well as his sole helping power. For this reason it is in relation to a fellow human-being that a human-being learns to cognize" (Freud, 1895/1966, Project for a Scientific Psychology [Standard Edition (Volume 1)], pp330-331; bold emphasis added)


Identification (1) - As Basic Psychodynamic Process (1897 onwards): After the Project, Freud began to use the term "identification"explicitly. He began with a number of instances in various of his letters to Wilhelm Fliess [details below], but only in the everyday sense noted at the head of this entry. Gradually, however, he started to note that the defining function of identification was not mere admiration or compassion, but rather a reduction of the anxiety associated with a particular individual or class of individuals by becoming more like them. Identification was therefore slowly re-characterised as the motivated adjustment of one's relationships with those who most influence our lives. In his detailed early history of the construct, Compton (1985) itemises the following early mentions of the term .....


1897 - Letter 58 (8th February 1897): There is a brief mention in this letter concerning hysterical cataleptic fits, in which Freud suggests that the paralysis is the result of "imitation of death with rigor mortis, that is, identification with someone who is dead" (Freud, 1897, Letters to Fliess [Masson (1985)], p230).


1897 Draft L (2nd May 1897): This is another brief mention of identification when talking about the role played by "servant-girls" in inducing hysterical tendencies in higher-born females, thus: "An immense load of guilt [.....] is made possible for a woman by identification with these people of low morals, who are so often remembered by her as worthless women connected sexually with her father or brother" (Freud, 1897, Letters to Fliess [Standard Edition, Volume 1 (1966)], pp248-249). 


1897 - Draft N (31st May 1897): There is a similar mention a few weeks later, when talking about patients' hostile impulses towards their parents. [This manuscript, incidentally, has been identified [e.g., by Strachey (SE14, p240)] as Freud's formative statement on the Oedipus complex.]


1899 - Letter 125 (9th December 1899): And there is another on the subject of hysteria two years later, thus: "Hysteria (and its variant, obsessional neurosis) is allo-erotic: its main path is identification with the person loved" (Freud, 1899, Letters to Fliess [Standard Edition, Volume 1 (1966)], p280). 


1900 - The Interpretation of Dreams: Freud continued on the subject of hysteria in The Interpretation of Dreams (Freud, 1900/1958), and it is in this work that the psychodynamic potential of the process of identification started to show itself. Consider this, from one of the dreams discussed .....


"..... the dream will acquire a new interpretation if we suppose that the person indicated in the dream was not herself but her friend, that she had put herself in her friend's place, or, as we might say, she had 'identified' herself with her friend. I believe she had in fact done this; and the circumstance of her having brought about a renounced wish in real life was evidence of this identification. What is the meaning of hysterical identification? It requires a somewhat lengthy explanation ....." (Freud, 1900/1958, The Interpretation of Dreams [Standard Edition (Volume 4)], pp231-232 [to see this extract in its fuller context, see case, the butcher's wife]).


Freud's (indeed lengthy) explanation is that the science of interpreting dreams has a number of basic rules (not least that they arise from the dreamer's real-life experiences during the day preceding the dream), but that identification can cloud the issue of who, within the single dreaming brain, is the functional dreaming person! Identification allows the host ego to assume various "alter egos". Moreover, as soon as that vicarious expression starts to protect the host ego from the pains of reality, identification starts to evolve into just another ego defense. Here is Freud on this .....


"Identification is a highly important factor in the mechanism of hysterical symptoms. It enables patients to express in their symptoms not only their own experiences but those of a large number of other people; it enables them, as it were, to suffer on behalf of a whole crowd of people and to act all the parts in a play single-handed. [..... It] is not simple imitation but assimilation on the basis of a similar aetiological pretension; it expresses a resemblance and is derived from a common element which remains in the unconscious. Identification is most frequently used in hysteria to express a common sexual element. A hysterical woman identifies herself in her symptoms most readily - though not exclusively - with people with whom she has had sexual relations or with people who have had sexual relations with the same people as herself. [.....] In hysterical phantasies, just as in dreams, it is enough for purposes of identification that the subject should have thoughts of sexual relations without their having necessarily taken place in reality. Thus [in the above-mentioned case] my patient put herself in her friend's place in the dream because her friend was taking my patient's place with her husband and because she (my patient) wanted to take her friend's place in her husband's high opinion" (op.cit., pp232-233; bold emphasis added).


1905 - A Case of Hysteria: Freud returned to the process of identification in his detailed analysis of case, Dora. The following snippet shows how he now suspected the process of identification as being the first fundamental phase in the aetiology of the Oedipus complex ..... 


"After a part of her libido had once more turned towards her father, the symptom obtained what was perhaps its last meaning; it came to represent sexual intercourse with her father by means of Dora's identifying herself with Frau K. [her father's mistress - Ed.]" (Freud, 1905, A Case of Hysteria [Standard Edition (Volume 7)], p83).


All in all, Freud used the term "identification" some 18 times in his early works (Compton, 1985), sometimes conflating it with the terms "incorporation", "introjection", and "internalisation".


ASIDE: Introjection is actually Ferenczi's contribution to this history - see separate entry. 


Then, in Mourning and Melancholia (Freud, 1917/1957), with his emerging cognitive model now a quarter of a century old, Freud moved the construct to centre-stage. The reason for this is that Mourning and Melancholia looks at what (and in whom, and why) makes some people permanently and pathologically bereaved - melancholics as type, rather than mourners for a period and with a good cause. His answer - in a phrase - is their "sense of guilt", and the keys to understanding the mechanisms of that guilt are the processes (a) of identification, and (b) of object representation and cognition. Thus ..... 


"We have elsewhere shown that identification is a preliminary stage of object-choice, that it is the first way - and one that is expressed in an ambivalent fashion -- in which the ego picks out an object. The ego wants to incorporate this object into itself, and, in accordance with the oral or cannibalistic phase of libidinal development in which it is, it wants to do this by devouring it. [.....] Identifications with the object are by no means rare in the transference neuroses either; indeed, they are a well-known mechanism of symptom-formation, especially in hysteria. The difference, however, between narcissistic and hysterical identification may be seen in this: that whereas in the former the object-cathexis is abandoned, in the latter it persists" (Freud, 1917/1957, Mourning and Melancholia [Standard Edition (Volume 14)], pp249-250; bold emphasis added).


Finally, Freud was able to offer the following encyclopaedic description of the process in 1921 .....


"Identification is known to psychoanalysis as the earliest expression of an emotional tie with another person. It plays a part in the early history of the Oedipus complex. A little boy will exhibit a special interest in his father; he would like to grow like him and be like him, and take his place everywhere. We may say simply that he takes his father as his ideal. [.....] At the same time as this identification with his father, or a little later, the boy has begun to develop a true object-cathexis toward his mother [.....]. He then exhibits, therefore, two psychologically distinct ties: a straightforward sexual object-cathexis toward his mother and an identification with his father which takes him as his model. The two subsist side by side for a time without any mutual influence or interference. In consequence of the irresistible advance towards a unification of mental life, they come together at last; and the normal Oedipus complex originates from their confluence. The little boy notices that his father stands in his way with his mother. His identification with his father then takes on a hostile colouring and becomes identical with the wish to replace his father in regard to his mother as well. Identification, in fact, is ambivalent from the very first; it can turn into an expression of tenderness as easily as into a wish for someone's removal. It behaves like a derivative of the first, oral phase of the organisation of the libido, in which the object that we long for and prize is assimilated by eating ....." (Freud, 1921/1955, Group Psychology [Standard Edition (Volume 18)], p105).


He went into slightly more detail in the summative New Introductory Lectures, towards the end of his productive life [note the opening apology]  .....


"I cannot tell you as much as I should like about the metamorphosis of the parental relationship into the superego, partly because that process is so complicated that an account of it will not fit into the framework of an introductory course of lectures [and] partly also because we ourselves do not feel sure that we understand it completely. So you must be content with the sketch that follows. The basis of the process is what is called an 'identification' - that is to say, the assimilation of one ego to another one, as a result of which the first ego behaves like the second in certain respects, imitates it and in a sense takes it up into itself. Identification has been not unsuitably compared with the oral, cannibalistic incorporation of the other person. It is a very important form of attachment to someone else, probably the very first, and not the same thing as the choice of an object. The difference between the two can be expressed in some such way as this. If a boy identifies himself with his father, he wants to be like his father; if he makes him the object of his choice, he wants to have him, to possess him. In the first case his ego is altered on the model of his father; in the second case that is not necessary. Identification and object-choice are to a large extent independent of each other; it is however possible to identify oneself with someone whom, for instance, one has taken as a sexual object, and to alter one's ego in his model. It is said that the influencing of the ego by the sexual object occurs particularly often with women and is characteristic of femininity. [As to] the most instructive relation between identifications and object-choice [it] can be observed equally easily in children and adults, in normal as in sick people. If one has lost an object or has been obliged to give it up, one often compensates oneself by identifying oneself with it and by setting it up once more in one's ego so that here object-choice regresses, as it were, to identification" (Freud, 1933/1964, New Introductory Lectures, pp94-95; emphasis added).


For her part, the post-Freudian Edith Jacobson sees the process as being heavily involved at the stage of superego development, as follows .....


"Whereas part of himself, the ego that is in continuous contact with reality, gradually tones down illusions and accepts reality, another part of the self, that cannot cease to believe in magic, is split off. [.....] This is accomplished by virtue of special identifications, the superego identifications [..... which serve] to accept and internalise the moral standards, the moral directives, and the moral criticism handed down by the parents [.....]" (Jacobson, 1964, p111).


Interestingly, Jacobson also notes at this juncture how this process may involve what we would today describe as inner speech .....


"Interwoven with it, identifications develop which, using especially acoustic pathways (Isakower, 1939), internalise the daily parental demands and prohibitions, the do's and don'ts, the approvals and disapprovals expressed by the parents [etc.]" (Jacobson, 1964, p112).


Identification (2) - As Eriksonian Mechanism of Identity Formation: [See firstly identity, Erikson's approach to.] The processes of identification get under way soon after birth, but operate slowly at first because the infant's cognitive system lacks the necessary sophistication, both structurally and functionally, to abstract itself out from the world at large. Eventually, however, there takes place the sort of "primary identification" described in the entry for personality and personal identity, that is to say, the identification which emerges at the infant end of the infant-mother bond when the infant first becomes able to exert an element of direction over the supply of food, warmth, and contact comfort from the mother object. More sophisticated identification then follows, as the developing mind becomes progressively more competent. This means integrating "the various identifications he[/she] brings from childhood into a more complete identity" (Miller, 1983, p170). If the process fails, then there occurs an "identity crisis". The situation changes once the child becomes old enough to recognise, and respond emotionally to, the behaviour patterns it observes in adults. [For more on this usage, see identification, Cramer's theory of.]


Identification (3) - As Ego Defense Mechanism, Simpliciter: We have already seen [(1) and (2) above] how identification in infants and young children defends, but at the same time also builds and shapes by that defending. In older children and in adults, where the building and shaping has already taken place, identification just defends, switching in automatically and habitually as and when needed. In this latter sense, projective identification has become one of the defense mechanisms recognised by the DSM-IV. 


WHERE TO NEXT: For additional core commentary, see identification, Chessick's theory of, identification, Cramer's theory of, and identification, Volkan's theory of. If browsing for general interest, see personality and personal identity and self. If seeking insight into how identification can go wrong, see self, incestuous sexual abuse and and toxic parenting. For specifics from clinical caselore, see case, Clare. For the particular issues of identification with an aggressor, see identification with aggressor. For the role played by identification as the basis of any psychodynamic cure, see both countertransference and transference. For the use of identification in Moreno's (1934) deliberately abreactive methods, see psychodrama.



Identification, Chessick's Theory of: [See firstly identification (all subtypes).] As categorised by Schafer (1968), "identification" is one of the three subtypes of internalisation [the other two being incorporation and introjection]. Here, in the words of one of Schafer's disciples, are its distinguishing features .....  


"Identification is the most mature, less directly dependent on drives, more adaptively selective, less ambivalent, and a modelling process. It is often automatic and unconscious, and a mental process whereby an individual becomes like another person in one or several aspects. It is part of the learning process, but also of adaptation to a feared or lost object. The crucial clinical point is that identification is growth promoting, and can lead to better adaptation" (Chessick, 1996, p125; bold emphasis added).



Identification, Cramer's Theory of: [See firstly identification (all subtypes).] Cramer (1991, 1997, 2001, 2007) confirms the distinction between identification as a developmental process and identification as a mechanism of defense [that is to say, our identification (1) and identification (3), respectively]. As a developmental phenomenon, it begins to work at a very young age with imitations of parents' "mannerisms and speech" (2001, p667), and then continues as a major shaper of the child's "personal identity" in the Eriksonian sense [see identity, Erikson's approach to]. As a defense mechanism, Cramer (1991) warns us that different "defense-mixes" [our term] seem to predominate at different developmental stages. This is because their respective actions and effects mutually support each other in some age-characteristic way. She names denial, projection, and identification as one such cluster, and is concerned that science knows "virtually nothing" (Cramer, 2007, p17) about how the use of childhood favoured defense mechanisms is related to adult personality. She has therefore been studying children (e.g., Cramer, 1997) and young adults (e.g., Cramer, 1991), trying to track how and why particular early defense practices build particular adult frames of mind. The overall pattern seems to be that the defense of denial characterises early childhood (ages 4 to 7 years), that projection characterises the period to late childhood and adolescence (ages 8 to 16 years), and that identification takes over towards late adolescence (ages 17 to 18 years).  Here is a summative comment from the latest paper in our possession .....


"The findings of these cross-sectional studies have been consistent. At each developmental period, there is evidence for the use of all three defenses, but one of the three is found to be predominant" (Cramer, 2007, p3; bold emphasis added).



Identification, Volkan's Theory of: [See firstly identification (all subtypes).] Volkan (2003, 2006) has recently applied the notions of identification to political history itself - see identity, large group for the details. 



Identification with Aggressor: [See firstly identification (3).] Because the particular function of identification as a defense mechanism is to reduce the anxiety associated with a particular individual or class of individuals by becoming more like them, it is often seen when adults are exposed to physical hostility. The Internet, for example, hosts many stories of victims "identifying with the aggressor", including the 1973 bank robbery which spawned the name "Stockholm Syndrome" [tell me this story]. [See also the mention of this process in the entry for borderline personality disorder.] TO BE EXTENDED .....



Identity: [See firstly identification (all subtypes, but especially 2).] In everyday English, one's "identity" is "the condition or fact that a person or thing is itself and not something else; individuality, personality" (O.E.D.). Within psychology, there is a major classical tradition which equates identity with soul, but for the purposes of the present glossary, we recommend regarding identity as the accumulation of cognitive structures which is left in place as a residue of life's formative experiences to date. In fact, all the major developmental theorists agree that identity emerges in qualitatively discrete stages. Where the self relies upon any form of conceptualisation, for example, it will have to work its way through the Piagetian stages, whilst in its social and psychosexual aspects it will have to follow, say, the Eriksonian eight-stage developmental scheme, wherein the most sensitive stage is Stage #5, the appropriately named stage of "Identity versus Identity Diffusion". This takes place between ages 12 and 21 years and requires adolescents to decide how they and their "new" bodies wish to appear to others. [See now identity, Erikson's approach to and then compare all entries beginning ego-. See also individuality, illusion of.]



Identity, Comparative Approaches to:


"The reason why the hairs stand on end, the eyes water, the throat is constricted, the skin crawls, and a shiver runs down the spine when one writes or reads a true poem is that a true poem is necessarily an invocation of the White Goddess, or Muse, or Mother of all Living, the ancient power of fright and lust - the female spider or the queen-bee - whose embrace is death" (Graves, 1948, p24). "The Queen of the Woods has cut bright boughs of various flowering [and] knows who is most lord between the high trees and on the open down. Some she gives white berries some she gives brown" (David Jones, In Parenthesis, Part 7). [The wood in question is Mametz Wood, site of some very unforgiving fighting in July 1916. Both Graves and Jones were there. Both lived to use their poetry as self-therapy for what has since been named "survivor syndrome".]


The comparative study of identity, large group can often yield major new insights into the relationship between the identity we feel as individuals and that which is required of us, implicitly or explicitly, by the groups we happen to belong to. What is harder to pin down theoretically (and even harder to investigate with demonstrably valid empirical research) is the relationship between what a culture believes in and the way those accumulated beliefs shape our individual minds. We might ask, for example, whether belief systems make us wiser or more foolish, or why we can be so different from each other in some of our beliefs and yet so alike in others, or why left-right political affiliations so often divide societies more or less precisely down the middle. Here is an extract from one of the anthropological classics, Frazer's (1890-1922/1993) The Golden Bough ..... 


ASIDE: Before proceeding with this extract, we all need to note Evans-Pritchard's (1965) caution against over-reliance on "highly selective" (p8) anecdotal evidence such as is about to be presented. By giving sustained and possibly unbalanced weight to "the occult and mysterious", Evans-Pritchard argued, we are led to believe that the mystical plays more of a part in the lives of primitive peoples than the data objectively demonstrates. Yes it might well be painstaking scholarship, but the point is that scholarship alone does not make good science. Anecdote is useful, in other words, but only if great care is taken not to allow its strengths to obscure its weaknesses. [For a fuller discussion of the relative value of different types of data in forming and evaluating scientific judgment, see the entry for level of evidence in the companion Rational Argument Glossary.]


"The Salish or Flathead Indians of Oregon believe that a man's soul may be separated for a time from his body without causing death and without the man being aware of his loss. It is necessary, however, that the lost soul should be soon found and restored to its owner or he will die. The name of the man who has lost his soul is revealed in a dream to the medicine-man, who hastens to inform the sufferer of his loss. Generally a number of men have sustained a like loss at the same time; all their names are revealed to the medicine-man, and all employ him to recover their souls. The whole night long these soulless men go about the village from lodge to lodge, dancing and singing. Towards daybreak they go into a separate lodge, which is closed up so as to be totally dark. A small hole is then made in the roof, through which the medicine-man, with a bunch of feathers, brushes in the souls, in the shape of bits of bone and the like, which he receives on a piece of matting. A fire is next kindled, by the light of which the medicine-man sorts out the souls. First he puts aside the souls of dead people, of which there are usually several; for if he were to give the soul of a dead person to a living man, the man would die instantly. Next he picks out the souls of all the persons present, and making them all to sit down before him, he takes the soul of each, in the shape of a splinter of bone, wood, or shell, and placing it on the owner's head, pats it with many prayers and contortions till it descends into the heart and so resumes its proper place" (Frazer, The Golden Bough, p187).


What the Flathead Indians seem to be telling us through the medium of their folklore is that identity, soul, and self are never totally synonymous. For example, if you were to ask one of these soulless men "Who are you?", you would be enquiring of his self (his reality-processing ego) about that most enduring of all the personas available to it, namely the face he puts on when no-one else is there to be impressed [it is beside the point that he might choose not to reveal this to you, and adopt some form of masking persona instead], and in answer to your question he might well reply: "I am So-and-So, of the Salish people, son of So-and-So, born in year such-and-such" [and so on, the precise identifying attributes being themselves a topic of study]. If you then extended your enquiry to ask whether his soul was currently "in" or "out" (so to speak), you would be enquiring of his self not just how complete it believed itself to be but (more importantly) also how it believed itself to be constructed. What Frazer's anecdote has done, therefore, is to raise a Grade-A question, but one which its own Grade-E evidence is not just wholly unable to resolve but also highly likely to make more obscure. Nor will the situation improve if you simply go out and gather further cross-cultural comparisons. Frazer himself identified a string of other cultures where souls were conceived of as mannikins, or shadows, or reflections, or images, and so on, and within these he noted a number of recurring themes, not least tree-worship and the religiously highly-charged proposal that humans are possessed of a separable, perhaps immortal, soul to which some sort of "afterlife" is available. This is fascinating stuff, of course, but ultimately it teaches us nothing more substantial than that the Flatheads are not the only ones who mutter wishful entreaties to the wind: it does nothing to unravel the various causal lines which might be involved, and thereby to deepen the broader understanding of the structures and functions of human belief. Frazer's problem, in short, was that there was at that time no definitive psychology, let alone a workable psychology of religion.


ASIDE - THE PSYCHOLOGY OF RELIGION BEFORE FREUD: Aside from cross-cultural observation, there are basically only three other streams of evidence capable of reflecting upon the make-up of a religious belief system. The most substantive of these is archaeological excavation, especially when it is directed at the ruins of temples and tombs. Then there is the fact that primitive beliefs and rituals are frequently alluded to in classical prose, poetry, and drama [we need look no further than Homer for a class-defining instance of this data stream (although Gilgamesh, with its seance, is a thousand years older, even, than that)]. And finally, there are a number of classical textbook sources on comparative ritual, which have survived down the ages [we may take Hesiod's theory of daimones (= "demons") (check it out) as an early instance of this data stream]. Space prevents us reviewing the full adventure of 19th century cultural anthropology. Suffice it to mention as typical Tylor's (1865) "Researches into the Early History of Mankind", Baring-Gould's (1871) "The Origin and Development of Religious Belief", Frazer (as above), and Rohde's (1897) "Psyche". What was difficult-to-impossible in all of these offerings was separating out the scientific substance from the uncritical Romanticism, the presumptive ethnocentrism, and/or the downright religious bigotry.


Then, with the publication of The Interpretation of Dreams in 1900 (in which a skeletal theory of the Oedipus complex was first introduced to a general audience), Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality in 1905 (where that topic was dealt with in greater detail), and Leonardo in 1910 (where it was explicitly related to religious belief), came Freudian theory, complete with  its new and intriguing set of analytical principles. Could it be, for example, that belief systems served some form of ego defense function, helping the ego to cope with the fear and pain which came from just being alive, and from witnessing every day the death, suffering, illness, crime, and human frailty around us? Could it be that the average ego is - frankly - just not up to delivering on the reality principle unsupported? If so, then more (and more strictly conducted) cross-cultural research ought to be able to correlate the particular subtypes of ritual and belief systems with the known repertoire of defense mechanisms. A competing, but equally powerful, basic theory was being put across at the same time by the French sociologist Émile Durkheim in his "Les Formes Élémentaires de la Vie Religieuse" (Durkheim, 1912/1915), namely that belief was an instrument of "social cohesion" in the sociological and political senses. Durkheim was followed, in turn, by a young Polish researcher named Bronislaw Malinowski, who set off in 1914 to do fieldwork with the Trobriand Islanders - the Kula - of the Papuan archipelago. Unhappy with the scientific worth of some of the older research, Malinowski pioneered a new method of observation, one in which the observer went out of his/her way to factor h/self out of the equation, so as not to be influencing the behaviour currently being recorded.


ASIDE: Readers who are unfamiliar with the notion of "demand characteristics", and how easily they totally invalidate research findings, should check out that entry in the companion "Research Methods and Psychometrics Glossary", and follow the onward links.


This new method involved "participant observation", that is to say, joining the society, being accepted by it as one of its own, and observing its ways unobtrusively from within. He observed, for example, that culture provided you with your only real protection against the harsh realities of life noted above, that it was a system dedicated to your survival, but one which, at the same time as it serviced your needs, raised needs - "culturally derived needs" - of its own. In two of the resulting papers - Malinowski (1924) and his "Sex and Repression in Savage Society" (Malinowski, 1927) - he provided an analysis in Oedipal terms of matrilineal forms of society (the Kula being just this), and of the beliefs and behaviours of the people who lived out their lives in such societies. Oedipal theory would predict primacy of the identified-with father-figure, and yet the available data showed nothing of the sort, for the Trobriand father traditionally played no disciplinary role in their family life. Specifically, it was usually the father's brother who did the disciplining, the father who had sex with the mother, and the former, not the latter, who received the resentment of the son. Similarly, their totemism had more to do with filling the belly than emptying the seminal vesicals. So it seemed that the evolution of man and woman within the family, and of the family within society, were more Durkheimian in origin than Freudian. Malinowski's conclusion, in a nutshell, was that the Oedipus complex was NOT an absolute and inevitable world-wide law, as Freud had proposed. 


ASIDE: Dawson's (1933/2007 online) essay on matriarchies versus patriarchies is well worth a visit. Evans-Pritchard explicitly praises Malinowski for the scientific value of his version of the observational method. He did not, as the earlier authors had, simply rely on a "scissors and paste" method of anthropological argument, that is to say, one in which you fit fragments of observational truth onto a pre-formed explanation. [For an alternative review of the history of myth, see Sienkewicz (1996/2007 online), and for more on the "schools" of anthropology, see Ferdinando (2001/2007 online).] We should also note Lucien Lévy-Bruhl's "Primitive Mentality" (1923) for its emphasis on what we would today describe as a cognitive deficit in "the primitive's" ability to grasp causation, Schmidt's (1934/1936) "The Dawn of the Human Mind" for its attempt to decipher the belief systems of extinct hominids from their art and other artefacts, and Robert Graves' (1948) "The White Goddess", for its observations on the pervasiveness of leucothea [Greek leuco = "white" + thea = "goddess] in myth. Graves saw the critical feature of identity as lying in one's ability to reflect - preferably poetically, but not necessarily so - about the sway the White Goddess holds over each one of us. Interestingly, however, he carries his analysis off with no substantive mention of either the Oedipal legend or of Freudian theory, and, in the specific myths he cites, it is usually Goddess-fear rather than Goddess-lust which lurks beneath the surface.


Modern anthropologists are still working on these self-same problems [see, for example, Fine, Perron, and Sacco (1994) and Dunbar, Knight, and Power (1999)], but we take as indicative Sökefeld (1999). Sökefeld was interested in the inter-related notions of identity and self, and tried to find better definitions of where they overlap and where they do not. He noted the widely accepted notion of "persistent sameness" as the defining quality of a personal identity - it was this sameness over time which elevated the self to being an "agent of knowing and doing" in the world (1999, p417). But the explanation was immediately inconsistent (a) with clinical psychology's liking for theories of multiple personality [which we have amply covered in the entry for multiple personality disorder], and (b) with the sort of parallel identities we maintain in social interactions. Worse, the notion of the single human soul might itself be a culturally bound "Western self" (p418). To reflect on these problems, he presented for analysis "a case of plural and conflicting identities" which he had studied while carrying out field research in Gilgit, a mountain town in Northern Pakistan. Here is his core thesis ..... 


"In anthropological discourse, the question of identity is almost completely detached from the problem of the self. In the vast body of literature about ethnic identity the self is rarely mentioned, and in writings about the self a relation between the self and identities is sometimes noted but remains unexplored [.....]. However, if we look at analyses of non-Western concepts of the self, it cannot go unnoticed that these [.....] are modelled precisely on the anthropological understanding of identity: they are sociocentric [.....], just as identities are social and shared" (Sökefeld, 1999, p419).


See now the separate entry for case, Ali Hassan.


Sökefeld's conclusion is that we have to recognise that the self is action-oriented, and that consequently, if you know how someone is constrained to act, then you are getting close to understanding who they are within themselves. Consider ..... 


"An inevitable premise is that all humans are able and required to act, which means that there is no culture (or identity) acting for them or uncontradictably prescribing which mode of behaviour must be chosen in any situation. This becomes utterly clear in situations of plural identities, where individuals are obviously not bound to a cultural consensus but exposed to a plurality of conflicting perspectives and interests ad must, like Ali Hassan in his uneasy wedding visit, make their way through a maze of different identities. Attention to selves accordingly demands 'ethnographies of the particular' [citation] that examine what people actually do in the specific circumstances of their daily lives. Action requires a self that reflexively monitors the conditions, course, and outcome of action. [.....] My argument that agency is characteristic of the self and the self is a precondition of action may seem circular, but in fact the two or, better, the three aspects cannot be separated: agency, reflexivity, and the self go hand in hand, each requiring both the others" (Sökefeld, 1999, p430; bold emphasis added).


WHERE TO NEXT: We indicated when opening this entry that it was hard to do demonstrably valid empirical research at the intersection of identity, culture, and belief. There is plenty of data, but little practical scope for flexibility of research design and even less ethical scope for intervention studies [because science, like the USS Enterprise, is tightly bound by rules of non-interference in alien cultures]. Nevertheless, there are moves afoot to bring the power of machine simulation studies to bear upon this problem - so watch this space.



Identity, Corporate: The notion that the psychology of personal identity might have something of value to offer management theory only surfaced comparatively recently, despite the fact that business corporations are merely instances of the sort of "large groups" already discussed in the entry for identity, large group. Alessandri (2001) has reviewed the history of this branch of management science, and dates it to a paper by Pilditch (1970), which distinguishes corporate identity from corporate image. Here is the critical difference .....


"Today there is a generally accepted distinction between corporate identity (what the firm is) and corporate image (what the firm is perceived to be), even in the absence of a clear meaning of corporate identity itself" (Alessandri, 2001, p174; bold emphasis added).


Another early commentator, Margulies (1977), defined corporate identity as "all the ways a company chooses to identify itself to all its stakeholders" (p175), whilst Ackerman (1988) focussed on the uniqueness of a particular company's capabilities and Balmer (1993) stressed the necessary "fusion" of corporate strategy with corporate culture. Alessandri's personal synthesis of no less than 20 earlier works is as set out in the following model .....


"The corporate mission is assumed in this model to be the firm's philosophy [.....], whether tacit or codified. This philosophy is personified through the behaviour of the firm as well as in the visual presentation of the firm; these two complementary parts form the corporate identity. [.....] Moving to the upper part of the model, we cross the line of what the firm can control into the area of public perception of the firm. Directly over this 'control line' is the concept of corporate image [.....]. Interaction or an experience with a corporate identity is what produces a corporate image in the minds of the public [.....]. To take the model to its natural conclusion, then, the corporate reputation is formed over time by repeated impressions of the corporate image, whether positive or negative" (Alessandri, 2001, p177).



Identity Crisis: [See firstly identity, Erikson's approach to.] This is Erik Erikson's (e.g., 1968) term for the (developmental or traumatic) loss of some all-important "sense of personal sameness and historical continuity" (Erikson, 1968, p17) [the fuller quotation is in the entry for ego identity, if interested].



Identity, Erikson's Approach to: [See firstly identity and identity, group.] The root of Erikson's dissatisfaction with the way conventional Freudian theory handled the dynamics of psychosexual development lay in the latter's insistence on applying its Oedipal theory "as an irreducible schema" (Erikson, 1968, p47). In his view, this took insufficient notice of how the prevailing group identity also contributed to the process by providing "basic ways of organising experience" (ibid.). Far better, in his opinion, to distinguish between "personal identity" and "ego identity", the former coming from the fact of a person's recognising "the selfsameness and continuity of one's existence" (p50), and the latter from "the style" of that individuality.


Check out the separate entries for personal identity and ego identity before proceeding.


Here are a couple of indicative passages ..... 


"The ego's beginnings are difficult to assess, but as far as we know it emerges gradually out of a stage when 'wholeness' is a matter of physiological equilibration, maintained through the mutuality between the baby's need to receive and the mother's need to give. [.....] The ontological source of faith and hope which thus emerges I have called a sense of basic trust: it is the first and basic wholeness [..... and b]asic mistrust, then, is the sum of all those diffuse experiences which are not somehow successfully balanced by the experience of integration. One cannot know what happens in a baby, but direct observation as well as overwhelming clinical evidence indicate that early mistrust is accompanied by an experience of 'total' rage, with fantasies of the total domination or even destruction of the sources of pleasure and provision; and that such fantasies and rage live on in the individual and are revived in extreme states and situations" (Erikson, 1968, Youth and Crisis [Faber Edition], p82).


"The end of childhood seems to me the third, and more immediately political, crisis of wholeness. Young people must become whole people in their own right, and this during a developmental stage characterised by a diversity of changes in physical growth, genital maturation, and social awareness. The wholeness to be achieved at this stage I have called a sense of inner identity. [.....] Individually speaking, identity includes, but is more than, the sum of all the successive identifications of those earlier years when the child wanted to be, and often was forced to become, like the people he depended on. Identity is a unique product, which now meets a crisis to be solved only in new identifications with age mates and with leader figures outside of the family. The search for a new and yet reliable identity can perhaps best be seen in the persistent adolescent endeavour to define, overdefine, and redefine themselves and each other in often ruthless comparison [.....]. Where the resulting self-definition, for personal or collective reasons, becomes too difficult, a sense of role confusion results. [.....] It must be realised, then, that only a firm sense of inner identity marks the end of the adolescent process and is a condition for further and truly individual maturation" (Erikson, 1968, Youth and Crisis [Faber Edition], pp87-89)



Identity, Group: This is Erikson's (e.g., 1968, p45) term for those aspects of individual identity held in common by all the members of a social grouping. Erikson explains what this involves with a concrete example, thus .....


"Let me first illustrate the concept of group identity by a brief reference to anthropological observations made by H.S. Mekeel and myself in 1938. We described how in one segment of the re-education of the American Indian, the Sioux Indians' historical identity of the buffalo hunter stands counterposed to the occupational and class identity of his re-educator, the American civil service employee. We pointed out that the identities of these groups rest on extreme differences in geographic and historical perspectives (collective ego-space-time) and on radical differences in economic goals and means (collective life plan). In the remnants of the Sioux Indians' identity, the prehistoric past is a powerful psychological reality. The conquered tribe has never ceased to behave as if guided by a life plan consisting of passive resistance to a present which fails to reintegrate the identity remnants of the economic past; and of dreams of restoration in which the future would lead back to the past, time would again become ahistoric, hunting grounds unlimited, and the buffalo supply inexhaustible [.....]. Their federal educators, on the other hand, preach values with [other] goals: homestead, fireplace, bank account ....." (Erikson, 1968, Youth and Crisis [Faber Edition], p48).


Erikson's point was then that group identity and all its confirming ritual and traditions play in different ways on our biological givens, making different cultures more or less secure, more or less independent, and more or less repressed. Here is how he nicely summarises these effects .....


"A child has many opportunities to identify himself, more or less experimentally, with real or fictitious people of either sex and with habits, traits, occupations, and ideas. Certain crises force him to make radical selections. However, the historical era in which he lives offers only a limited number of socially meaningful models for workable combinations of identification fragments. Their usefulness depends on the way in which they simultaneously meet the requirements of the organism's maturational stage, the ego's style of synthesis, and the demands of the culture" (Erikson, 1968, Youth and Crisis [Faber Edition], pp53-54).


[See now identity, Erikson's approach to, noting especially how group identity can influence the development of individual identity. See also and compare identity, large group, which is not quite the same concept.]



 Identity, Kant on: Here are two extracts from Kant's Critique of Pure Reason specifically on the topic of identity, which should be read in the broader context of the existing entries for identity and consciousness, Kant's theory of .....


"The topic of rational psychology, from which whatever else it may contain must be derived, is thus the following: (1) The soul is substance. (2) In terms of quality it is simple. (3) In terms of the different times in which it exists, it is numerically identical, i.e., unity (not plurality). (4) It stands in relation to possible objects in space. From these elements arise all concepts of pure psychology, merely by the assembly of these elements and without the least recognition of another principle. This substance, merely as object of inner sense, yields the concept of immateriality; as simple substance, that of incorruptibilty. Its identity as intellectual substance yields personality; all three of these components together, spirituality. [..... W]e can lay at the basis of this science nothing but the simple, and by itself quite empty, presentation I, of which we cannot even say that it is a concept, but only that it is a mere consciousness accompanying all concepts" (Kant, 1781/1789, Critique [Pluhar Translation] pp384-385; bold emphasis added).


"If I want to cognize the numerical identity of an external object through experience, then I shall pay attention to the permanent (element in) that appearance to which, as subject, everything remaining refers as determination, and shall note the identity of that permanent (element) in the time wherein the remainder varies. I, however, am an object of inner sense and all time is merely the form of inner sense. Consequently, I refer each and every one of my successive determinations to the numerically identical self found in all time, i.e., in the form of the inner intuition of myself. On this basis, the personality of the soul would have to be regarded not even as inferred, but as a fully identical proposition of self-consciousness in time; and this is indeed the cause of its holding a priori. For it actually says nothing more than that in the entire time wherein I am conscious of myself, I am conscious of this time as belonging to the unity of myself [.....]. In my own consciousness, therefore, identity of the person is unfailingly to be met with. But if I contemplate myself from someone else's point of view (as object of his outer intuition), then this external observer considers me first of all in time, for in apperception time is in fact presented only in me" (op. cit., p397; bold emphasis added).



Identity, Large Group:


"It is one of the most impressive facts about the war, that while Germany is the very type of a perfected

aggressive herd, England is perhaps the most complete example of a socialised herd" (Trotter, 1916, p201).


[See firstly aggression, institutionalisation of, aggression, priests and politicians and, and aggression, psychodynamic theory, and; see also identity, group, and identification, Volkan's theory of.] As explained in detail elsewhere [see the various header links], society at large often places a higher price on obedience of mind than it does on mere obedience of body. If you want to "belong" to a social institution of some sort, then you need to toe that institution's party line in thought, as well as in deed. And once we do "belong", the resulting sense of common purpose and shared fate decides what we are likely to enlist to defend, and perhaps die for. As such, group identity has been a driving factor in shaping human history and in providing legitimate targets for war, conquest, and other forms of confrontation. The Western classical view of large group identity was that there was a Greek (or Roman, etc.) way, much as there was a Confucian way in Ancient China, the way of the Samurai in Japan, a British way in the 19th century, and an American way nowadays. Such ways are ways of both doing and thinking, and are implicit in the definition of citizenship applied by the civilisation in question. It was thus something which you either inherited if you were born into that civilisation, or freely and eagerly swore to if you acquired citizenship later in life. Indeed, in one of history's first sociologies - Hobbes' Leviathan - the Enlightenment philosopher Thomas Hobbes speaks of "the common power" (Hobbes, 1651, p89).


ASIDE: Other elements of the "imperial package" include an imperial city, a creed, a liturgy, a flag, the apparatus for enforcing power, and the raising of tribute [the centripetal flow of goods or cash]. Defined in this way, the modern world has plenty of empires to contend with, actual and wannabe, and, like tectonic plates, their points of confrontation can be positively "volcanic".


Yet in all the early explanatory schemes (Hobbes' included) it was presumed that people of like mind formed their large groups precisely because they were of like mind, and not the other way around, and it was not until the more sustained empirical explorations of humankind carried out by the physiologists, neurologists, and cultural anthropologists of the early-to-mid 19th century that it began to dawn on us that our environment shaped us far more than we liked to admit (and often entirely) [there is a brief introduction to 19th century cultural anthropological research part-way down the entry for guilt]. Then came the age of "total war" .....


ASIDE: The term "total war" refers to war between nations and their civil populations, not just between the armies they commit to the field. Historians are still arguing about which war was actually the first total war. Bell (2007), for example, claims it was Napoleon's attempt to conquer Europe, whilst Black (2006) believes [as do we] that it was the more highly industrialised American Civil War.


An analysis of the wars, local as well as total, of the late 19th century prompted one Wilfred Trotter, establishment surgeon and amateur sociologist, to an interesting analysis of humankind's combative instincts in which his core proposal was that there existed a human equivalent of the "herd instinct". He presented his analysis firstly as a two-part paper in the academic journal Sociological Review (Trotter, 1908, 1909), but because his conclusions were subtly xenophobic the work was rewritten as academic propaganda half way through the First World War (Trotter, 1916). Trotter's views may be illustrated by the following brief extract .....


"The advantage the new unit [i.e., large social groups - Ed.] obtains by aggressive gregariousness is chiefly its immense accession of strength as a hunting and fighting organism. Protective gregariousness confers on the flock or herd advantages perhaps less obvious but certainly not less important. A very valuable gain is the increased efficiency of vigilance which is possible. [.....] Another advantage enjoyed by the new unit is a practical solution of the difficulties incident upon the emotion of fear [..... the dangers of which are] neutralised by the implication of so large a part of the individual's personality in the herd and outside of himself. [.....] The evidence suggests that protective gregariousness is a more elaborate manifestation of the social habit than the aggressive form" (Trotter, 1916, pp110-111 [it follows from the header quotation above that the "evidence" - whatever it was - also "suggested" that the British way was more perfect than the German]).


Now we have to suspect that the 1916 version of Trotter's work was promoted precisely because it appeared to give scientific credence to what the propaganda machinery of the "Parliamentary War Aims Office" (see Lasswell, 1927/1971 on this) had been telling the country about "The Hun" ever since hostilities first broke out [click for examples of WW1 propaganda], and the volume duly ran to many reprints. What we can be more sure of is that having made much of Freudism himself, Trotter's work came to Freud's [at that time still a "Hun" himself, remember] attention after the war, not long after the latter had been considering the problems of narcissistic hatred in his Mourning and Melancholia (Freud, 1917/1957). Freud formally replied in his 1921 Massenpsychologie [conventionally translated as "Group Psychology" (although it would have been linguistically and academically more precise as "Mass Psychology")], to the effect that psychoanalytical principles could shape not just individual psyches but the thoughts and tendencies of whole societies as well - all you had to do was properly to identify "the individual man as a member of a race, of a nation, of a caste, of a profession, of an institution, or a component part of a crowd of people who have been organised into a group at some particular time for some definite purpose" (Freud, 1921/1955, Group Psychology [Standard Edition], p70). Put bluntly, what Trotter had called the "herd instinct" originated in Freud's view in the "narrower circle" of the family and drew its power from our old friend, the libido, thus .....


"We will try our fortune, then, with the supposition that love relationships (or, to use a more neutral expression, emotional ties) also constitute the essence of the group mind. [.....] Our hypothesis finds support in the first instance from two passing thoughts. First, that a group is clearly held together by a power of some kind: and to what power could this feat be better ascribed than to Eros, which holds together everything in the world? Secondly, that if an individual gives up his distinctiveness in a group and lets its other members influence him by suggestion, it gives one the impression that he does it because he feels the need of being in harmony with them rather than in opposition to them" (Freud, 1921/1955, Group Psychology [Standard Edition], pp91-92; bold emphasis added).


Certainly, the critical process with war was exactly the same as it was for resolving the Oedipus complex - that is to say, identification, thus .....


"A primary group of this kind is a number of individuals who have put one and the same object in the place of their ego ideal and have consequently identified themselves with one another in their ego" (op. cit., p116; bold emphasis added).


And here is how Freud, using identification and a few related psychodynamic notions, came up with an alternative explanation of his own .....


"Trotter derives the mental phenomena that are described as occurring in groups from a herd instinct ('gregariousness'), which is innate in human beings just as in other species of animals. Biologically, he says, this gregariousness is an analogy to multicellularity and as it were a continuation of it. [.....] The individual feels incomplete if he is alone. [.....] Opposition to the herd is as good as separation from it, and is therefore anxiously avoided. [.....] Speech owes its importance to its aptitude for mutual understanding in the herd, and upon it the identification of the individuals with one another largely rests. [.....] But Trotter's exposition is open [.....] to the objection that it takes too little account of the leader's part in a group, while we incline rather to the opposite judgment, that it is impossible to grasp the nature of a group if the leader is disregarded. The herd instinct leaves no room at all for the leader; he is merely thrown in along with the herd, almost by chance [..... And what of] the fear which is shown by small children when they are left alone, and which Trotter claims as being already a manifestation of the instinct [..... but which is just] the expression of an unfulfilled desire [..... turned] into anxiety. [..... Indeed,] for a long time nothing in the nature of herd instinct or group feeling is to be observed in children. Something like it first grows up [out of envy between group members, especially in older siblings of the attention shown by parents to younger siblings. However,] in consequence of the impossibility of his maintaining his hostile attitude without damaging himself, he is forced into identifying himself with the other children. So there grows up in the troop of children a communal or group feeling, which is then further developed at school. The first demand made by this reaction-formation is for justice, for equal treatment for all. [.....] What appears later on in society in the shape of Gemeingeist, esprit de corps, 'group spirit', etc., does not belie its derivation from what was originally envy. [.....] Thus social feeling is based upon the reversal of what was first a hostile feeling into a positively-toned tie in the nature of an identification. [.....] Many equals, who can identify themselves with one another, and a single person superior to them all - that is the situation that we find [in groups]. Let us venture, then, to correct Trotter's pronouncement that man is a herd animal and assert that he is rather a horde animal, an individual creature in a horde led by a chief" (op. cit., pp118-121; bold emphasis added).


The issue has recently been re-popularised by the psychoanalyst Vamik D. Volkan. For example, Volkan (2003/2007 online) identifies seven aspects, he terms them "threads", of large group identity, as follows .....


1. Shared Identifications: By identifying (as it naturally must) with its parents, a child automatically acquires from them their habitual "interactions" with society at large, as well as with those in the immediate family. This connects them to their "ethnic, national, and religious identities", although the relative contribution (and, indeed, the stability of that relative contribution over time) will differ from culture to culture. 


2. Suitable "Reservoirs": In the context of Volkan's theories, a reservoir is a "culturally accepted item", such as the Finnish sauna, the Scottish kilt, and the German nursery rhyme as exemplars. These acquire their identifying strength from their ability to "absorb children's libidinally invested externalised self or object images as well as projections of pleasing feelings or thoughts", and the end result is that they become enmeshed in "an invisible network of 'we-ness'". 


3. Absorption: Volkan also detects a tendency to internalise the negative stereotypes targeted at one's own large group by hostile neighbouring large groups. It is as though the two groups occupied large tents, and exchanged regular volleys of excrement and refuse, targeted not at the individuals inside, against whom no personal animosity is felt, but at the "canvas" of their large-group identity. That is not how it feels from the inside, however, and what then happens is that some of the staining on the canvas is "absorbed into the identity of the large group that received it" (op. cit., e8).


4. Leader: Volkan sees absorption of a different sort at work in the fourth component of large-group identity. This time, it is the absorption of the "internal demands" of its leaders. He describes major historical leaders such as Lenin, Ghandi, and Mao Zhedong as reshaping both the factual and subjective worlds of their followers according to the shape of their own the inner conflicts. Here, with an even more topical example, is how he sees the essence of the dynamic ..... 


"In these situations, transforming/charismatic leaders symbolically express their own version of the group's sentiments - which are connected with the leaders' own images, wishes, and defenses of childhood - to their followers in the opinions that they express, their public appearances, the speeches that they deliver, their avowed likes and dislikes, and even the way that they dress. It is known, for example, that Yasser Arafat's head covering [picture] symbolically represents the Dome of the Rock [picture] and therefore the Palestinian large-group identity" (op. cit., e9).


5. Chosen Glories: This is Volkan's term for "shared mental representations of historical events and the major historical figures associated with them" (op. cit., e10). A group's identity, in other words, can readily be seen in the historical events it chooses to celebrate and in the nature of the chosen ceremonial. The underlying psychological process here is "the depositing of images" [for details of which, see images, depositing of].


6. Chosen Traumas: Comments as for (5), save that the incidents in question this time are of group defeat and hurt, rather than of group victory and celebration.


7. "Protosymbolism": Here Volkan adopts Werner and Kaplan's (1963) notion of the "protosymbol", a symbol so powerful for some reason that it can bring an entire nation to a particular focus. Such protosymbols are symbols in the accepted Freudian sense, that is to say, it helps reduce anxiety by camouflaging the feelings it has come to symbolise, but, as the following extract explains, there is something special about them .....


"In many cases, the original significance of a symbol for an ethnic, national, or religious collective is difficult to pinpoint because its meaning develops over centuries and through unconscious, though shared, psychological processes. In other cases, when the large group has been formed more recently, the history of the symbol, such as the Soviet hammer and sickle, may be well-known. What is of interest here is that when a large group is under stress [.....] some of the group's symbols may become 'protosymbols' (Werner and Kaplan, 1963). No longer do they represent what they stand for; now they are what they represent. Protosymbols assume invincible power in uniting members of a society. After September 11, for example, American flags, to a great extent, assumed protosymbolic qualities in the United States" (op. cit., e13; bold emphasis added).


Volkan offers the example of the Serbian Prince Lazar, who, as a specifically Serbian national hero, was something of a threat to the cohesiveness of the multi-ethnic post-1945 Yugoslav state. The communist declaimed his image as a symbol of "reactionary nationalism", but he returned in triumph, so to speak, when the individual ethnic groupings went their own way as "former Yugoslav republics" in the early 1990s [for more on which see Volkan's latest book, Killing in the Name of Identity (Volkan, 2006)].



Identity, Leibniz's Approach to:


"I also hold this opinion that consciousness or the sense of I proves moral or personal identity"

(Leibniz, New Essays, II.xxvii9:236).


[See firstly consciousness, Leibniz's theory of (noting especially his position in the Leibniz-Bayle debate).] Leibniz was "a lawyer, scientist, inventor, diplomat, poet, philologist [= language theorist], logician, moralist, theologian, historian, and a philosopher who religiously defended the cultivation of reason as the radiant hope of human progress" (Wiener, 1951, xi). His interest in mental philosophy arose out of his more general work in physics, logic, mathematics, and what we would today call "psycholinguistics", but to do his ideas justice it must be understood that he wrote in the early years of the Enlightenment, in a Europe which was still heavily influenced by Roman Catholic dogma [readers are reminded that only half a century previously Galileo and Descartes had both been academically persecuted by a censorious Vatican]. Thus while Discourse on Metaphysics (Leibniz, 1686) has a lot to say about the individuality of "substantial forms" in general, it only occasionally speculates on human identity in its modern sense, and often tends towards the Judaeo-Christian position in regard to the immortality of the soul. These speculations are worth having, all the same, and one of the most profound comes early in the work when Leibniz tries to extend Aristotle's rather simplistic notion of "the blank slate" [see tabula rasa], so that it might better explain the interaction of experience and identity. Consider ..... 


"Aristotle preferred to compare our souls to as yet blank tablets which could be written on, and he held that there is nothing in our understanding which does not come from the senses. [.....] But when we are concerned with the exactness of metaphysical truths, it is important to recognise that the extent and independence of our soul go infinitely further than ordinary people imagine [.....] It would [therefore] be good to choose specific terms for each sense so as to avoid equivocation. So those expressions which are in our soul, whether conceived or not, can be called ideas; but those that are conceived or formed can be called notions, or concepts [and] the notion I have of myself and of my thoughts, and therefore of being, substance, action, identity, and many others, all come from an internal experience" (Leibniz, 1686, Discourse on Metaphysics [Woolhouse and Francks (1998) edition, p79], ¶27; bold emphasis added).


This same issue was still occupying Leibniz's mind when he wrote New Essays (Leibniz, 1704) nearly 20 years later, only by now he has noted the potentially crucial role of minute perceptions in helping to bind the necessary "internal experience" together [readers unfamiliar with this important new construct should consult the separate entry before proceeding] .....


"These insensible perceptions also indicate and constitute the same individual, who is characterised by the vestiges or expressions which the perceptions preserve from the individual's former states, thereby connecting these with his present state. Even when the individual himself has no sense of the previous states, i.e., no longer has any explicit memory of them, they could be known by a superior mind. But those perceptions also provide the means for recovering this memory at need [.....] It is through insensible perceptions that I account for that marvellous pre-established harmony between the soul and the body, and indeed amongst all the monads or simple substances [..... and] it is these minute perceptions which determine our behaviour in many situations without our thinking of them [.....]. I have also pointed out that in consequence of imperceptible variations no two individual things could be perfectly alike, and that they must always differ more than numerically [..... which] explains why and how two souls of the same species, human or otherwise, never leave the hands of the Creator perfectly alike" (Leibniz, 1704/1764, New Essays on the Human Understanding [Remnant and Bennett (1996) edition], Preface:55-58).



Identity Theory: [More precisely, mind-brain identity theory or psychophysical identity theory.] [See firstly mind-brain debate.] This is one of the three main not-quite-sure-yet philosophical positions on the mind-brain debate (the others being emergentism and epiphenomenalism). Identity theorists subscribe to the notion that "mental states are identical to brain states" and that "a given mental state will be fully accounted for if and when one has accounted for the corresponding brain state" (Gray, 1987, p461). Much of the modern interest in the subject can be traced to a paper by Place (1956), which asked how we could know whether two sets of observations were of the same event. Was a cloud, Place asked, the same thing as the mass of tiny particles making it up? Clearly it all depended on how you happened to be looking at it at the time. His point was fundamentally "that an acceptance of inner processes does not entail dualism" (p43) [this line of argument is now continued in the entry for central state materialism]. In a "second look" at the issue, Gray (1987) advises that we do not yet know enough about "the conditions for consciousness" (p480) to test any of the alternative explanations. It may well be, he argues, that the machinery out of which a cognitive skill is delivered is genuinely "unimportant", and that what is critical instead is "the nature of the skill itself" (p482).



IDMS: See Integrated Database Management System.



IDS: See Integrated Data Store.



Illocutionary Act: [See firstly pragmatics and speech act.] Austin's notion of speech being used in a deliberately calculated way. "When we are performing a locutionary act," he explains, "we use speech; but in what way precisely are we using it on this occasion?" (Austin, 1962, p99). For example, with an utterance such as "leave the bill to me" [our example], there may have remained some doubt in the mind of the listener "whether we were advising, or merely suggesting, or actually ordering, whether we were strictly promising or only announcing a vague intention, and so forth" (Austin, 1962, p99). Illocution is thus a combination of "both the intentional and conventional aspects" of a given utterance (Searle, 1969, p45). [See now perlocutionary effect.]



Illocutionary Force: [See firstly illocutionary act.] The relative success of an illocutionary act in linking the locutionary act and the perlocutionary effect on a given occasion. How a particular utterance worked, given what was meant (whether as a suggestion or an order, perhaps). Its particular thrust, on the occasion in question.



Illocutionary Intention: [See firstly illocutionary act.] This is Bach and Harnish's (1979) term for the true motivation behind a given illocutionary act. Here is how they introduce and explain what is involved .....


"An illocutionary act is communicatively successful if the speaker's illocutionary intention is recognised by the hearer. These intentions are essentially communicative because the fulfilment of illocutionary intentions consists in hearer understanding. Not only are such intentions reflexive, their fulfilment consists in their recognition. [.....] The hearer has to figure out what that intention - the intended effect - is, on the basis primarily of the speaker's utterance ....." (Bach and Harnish, 1979, p15; bold emphasis added). 



Image: [See firstly imagery.] In everyday usage, an "image" is an "aspect, appearance, form; semblance, likeness" (O.E.D.). In mental philosophy, however, a number of significant nuances emerge, depending how deeply into the perceptual process we choose to delve. The main usages are as follows .....


(1) Image as Sensory Data, Simpliciter: The key word here is eidolen [see separate entry], with its connotations of natural object-based emanation, and the philosophical issue is as follows .....


"In the Atomists' theory of visual perception [] images of the same shape as the body are given off by the perceived object and enter the pores of the viewer. [.....] Plato uses 'image' in the Sophist, and further divides it into 'likeness' (eikon) and 'semblence' (phantasma) []; it is like the real, but has existence secundum quid ....." (Peters, 1967, pp45-46).


(2) Image as Specifically Visual Simulacrum: The key word here is eikon  [see separate entry], with its connotations of artistic likeness, and the philosophical issue is as follows .....


"Eikasia, the state of perceiving mere images and reflections, is the lowest point of the Platonic Line []. The eikon has a qualified type of existence [] and a not very complimentary role in Plato's theory of art []. The visible universe is the eikon of the intelligible one that embraces the eide ....." (Peters, 1967, p51).


(3) Images as Simulacra in General: The key word here is mimemis  [see separate entry], with its connotations of mimicry and imitation. The philosophical issue is as (2), but no longer restricted to the visual sensory modality, thus .....


"Mimesis, in all its shades of meanings, is of central importance in Plato. [There is a] type of productivity shared by both God and man that does not produce 'originals' but merely copies (eikones). This is mimesis, the art of the poet, the painter, the sculptor, or that of the actor who [.....] creates the image in his own person. [.....] The craftsman [], then, whether human or divine, produces on two levels: 'originals' or real objects, and imitations or images that can only more or less approximate the reality of their models. [..... T]he activity known as mimesis has as its product an entity whose ontological status is inferior relative to that of its model. [.....] Mimesis is one of the explanations [or] images offered by Plato to express the relationship of the eide to sensible particulars. [.....] The distinction between a 'true' reality and a mimetic reality [implies that] true knowledge (episteme) will be of the 'originals', while opinion (doxa) is the best one can hope to attain in confronting imitative being" (Peters, 1967, pp118-119).


(4) Image as Prototypical Perceptual Scene: The key word here is schema, with its connotations of higher-order framework, and the philosophical issue is as follows .....


"In fact, it is schemata, not images of objects, that lie at the basis of our pure sensible concepts. No image whatever of a triangle would ever be adequate to the concept of a triangle as such. For it would never reach the concept's universality that makes the concept hold for all triangles [.....] The schema of the triangle can never exist anywhere but in thoughts, and is a rule for the synthesis of imagination regarding pure shapes in space" (Kant, Critique; Pluhar translation, p213).


(5) Image as Retrieved Perceptual Memory: Then there is the phantasma of Aristotelian philosophy, that is to say, the focal content of a "sensory-like experiencing which occurs in the absence of appropriate sensory stimulation"  (Hunter, 1964, p184).  This is the source of much of our remembering, because it is available as a visuospatial sememe, a unit of both storage and retrieval. The necessary re-experiencing may take place in any of the sensory modalities (or combinations thereof), and, "more than any other kind of recalling gives us the illusion that we are actually going back in time and reliving moments of our past" (op. cit., pp184-185).


 (6) Image as Imaginative Production: The key word here is phantasia, with its connotations of imagination and fantasy, and the philosophical issue is as follows .....


"Plato uses the term phantasia as a blend of judgment and perception []. For Aristotle imagination (phantasia) is an intermediary between perceiving (aesthesis) and thinking (noesis) [.....] it is a motion of the soul caused by sensation, a process that presents an image which may persist even after the perceptual process disappears" (Peters, 1967, p156).


So to summarise, an image (1) can fall upon the retina. It might be an image of a real thing or an image of an image (2/3), but that judgment cannot be made at that stage. Once stored as visuospatial perceptual memory, an image (5) can be retrieved and used in thought as image (6). [See now symbol and symbol vs image, carefully noting the problems of basic definition raised by C.W. Morris.]



Imageless Thought: [See firstly abstract idea and imagery, individual differences in.] Galton's data on the variability of imagery raised the intriguing possibility that poor imagers did their thinking in a different way to good imagers (all were distinguished thinkers, remember). Galton's interpretation of these data was that the thinking processes of good imagers involved manipulating images, whilst the thinking processes of poor imagers involved instead the manipulation of abstract ideas, as Locke had long been arguing. The imageless thought view of thinking flourished in the early 20th century thanks to formative writings by Stout (1896) and Woodworth (1906). Stout proposed "a mode of presentational consciousness" not composed of images, and Woodworth proposed "elements which are wholly irreducible to sensory terms [and] nothing else than the particular feeling of the thought in question" (p705). Woodworth gives the example of answering verbally set problems such as "What substances are more costly than gold?" and "Is it ever right to imprison an innocent man?" (p704), pointing out that our pronouncements on each typically come to mind with little conscious thought and no directly relevant imagery. As such, he described it as "an apparent fact of introspection" (p702). The proposal was strongly rejected by theorists such as Angell (1897), who accused Stout (a) of having been looking in the wrong place for his imagery, and (b) of having not trained his subjects sufficiently in the skills of introspection.



Imagery: The non-conceptual memory of past visual and/or auditory scenes. Presumably, therefore, some sort of partly reactivated perceptual memory, with associations to both episodic memory (for the context within which the scene was originally experienced) and propositional memory (for the interpretation placed upon it at the time). The ability to re-live a serious car accident in one's mind, for example, would depend on a central flashbulb memory of the moment of impact, say, supported by a broader episodic memory of the reasons for the journey, say, and a few summative propositions describing what you know conceptually and factually about the incident, for instance, who was driving at the time and who was killed or injured. It is commonly proposed that thinking in images is a major component of creative thought, and that making good use of "visuo-spatial" long-term memory is therefore one of the major "right hemisphere" skills. [See also eidetic imagery.]



Imagery, Individual Differences in: One of the true classics of modern psychology is Sir Francis Galton's "Inquiries into Human Faculty and its Development" (Galton, 1883), a work which concentrated throughout on what Galton called "the variety of human nature", and immediately popularized the modern science of psychometrics. Indeed, "Inquiries" included one of the earliest scientific surveys. He presented a 14-item questionnaire to 100 male scholars, "at least half of whom are distinguished in science or in other fields of intellectual work" (p61), and found that "the faculty of visualizing" ranged from very high [he records anecdotal evidence of painters imaging what they intend to paint and musicians and politicians "mentally reading" their scores and speeches] to very low. In some high imagers, whom he described as "visionaries", the images were reported as so vivid that they were effectively hallucinations. On balance, however, Angell's point about method [see the entry on imageless thought] can just as easily be applied here, so a degree of caution is needed.



Imaginary Playmates: [Optionally, imaginary companions.] One of the things remembered from childhood by Subject 1 in Hobbs and Coons' (1994) study of dissociative disorders in adults was having had an imaginary playmate with whom she could play in innocence and whose identity she later took as an alter personality. Sanders (1992) has studied this phenomenon and reports experience with the Imaginary Companion Questionnaire on a sample of 22 previously diagnosed multiple personality disorder cases, 20 women, and 2 men. Thirteen of the women and one of the men remembered their companion "firsthand" [one further woman remembered only being told she had had one].  Here are some selected results for the 14 with first hand recollection .....


"Description of Companions: Eleven of the fourteen described at least one imaginary companion. (Of the three who did not describe companions, one indicated that she did not feel comfortable talking about this with anyone but her therapist; one left these questions blank; and one indicated that he could not recall the names or descriptions of his childhood companions). The most frequently described companions were playmates of the same age and sex" (Sanders, 1992, p160).


"Functions: Seven of the subjects (50%) mentioned engaging in a play activity of some sort with their imaginary companion (e.g., house, tea parties, school, coloring), though most also mentioned other activities as well (finding places to hide, flying, or becoming invisible to escape, playing tricks on the family, talking together, and suffering abuse). Several of the playmates also took pain or abuse for the subject, while others served protective functions. An example of the latter type was a big tall male bodyguard modelled after a TV show character" (Sanders, 1992, p160).


"Models: Five of the subjects indicated that their companions had been modelled, at least in part, after someone or something that they had known in real life (or in a story book, movie, TV show, etc.). The rest knew of no external models for their companion" (Sanders, 1992, p160).


"Ages: The most common onset age for the imaginary companion experience was 2-4 years. Of the nine subjects who recalled the age of onset, only one gave an age outside of this range, specifying age ten. Various ages were given for the termination of the experience: eight of the fourteen subjects responded to this question, giving ages of 4 or 5 (three subjects), 8 (one subject), 12 or 13 (two subjects), and the present (two subjects)" (Sanders, 1992, p160).


"Vividness of Experience: Thirteen of the fourteen (93%) said that they had been able to see their companion; twelve (86%) said they could hear their companion; and eleven (78%) believed their companion was real. With one exception, those who did not answer 'yes' to these questions answered with a question mark rather than 'no.' The exception was a subject who had imaginary companions she had explicitly described as mute (tribe of Indians, pet mouse), who reported, quite appropriately, that she did not hear her companions. Thus, the imaginary companion experience was extremely vivid in all, or nearly all of the cases. However, when asked whether they had believed that others could see the companion, only one of the fourteen answered 'yes,' noting that this had occurred only 'sometimes.' Two subjects indicated that they were unsure of whether others could see their companion or not, and the rest answered 'no'" (Sanders, 1992, pp160-161).


"Family Response: Many of the subjects were unsure about whether family members knew about their imaginary companions or not. Only four (28%) were sure that their family had been aware of their companion. Eight (57%) reported that they had felt a need to keep their companion secret." (Sanders, 1992, p161).


Sanders notes that the 64% recall rate is far higher than for the population as a whole [quoting 10% for average males and 19% for average females], and suggests that there is something special about people with multiple personality disorder, thus .....


"This comparison suggests that multiples may be particularly likely to remember their childhood imaginary companions, a fact which is hardly surprising given that over 70% of the multiples who reported having had a companion were still in touch with the companion. The descriptions of the MPD subjects' imaginary companions and the functions they served were much like those of the college students, although there was more emphasis on protective functions and certainly more discussion of bearing pain, abuse, and sadness among the multiples. The most striking feature of the recalled imaginary companion experience of multiples and the most striking difference between the multiples and the college students concerns the vividness of the experience. All of the multiples reported being able to see their companion, nearly all could hear the companion, and nearly all believed the companion was real. By contrast, less than 50% of the college students who recalled imaginary companions reported having been able to see them or hear them or believing they were real, and less than 25% responded positively to all three questions" (Sanders, 1992, p161; emphasis added).


That said, however, she warns that the distinction between an imaginary companion and an alter personality is not easy to make. Nevertheless .....


"One woman wrote: 'I understand now that my imaginary companions as a child were actually alter personalities.' A very similar note by another subject was: 'but they're not imaginary companions, really. They're parts of me.' These remarks point to a continuity between childhood imaginary companions and alters [.....] What it implies is that the early imaginary companions of multiples may possess characteristics not ordinarily ascribed to the imaginary companions of normal children, characteristics which, indeed, are the very hallmarks of an alter. Chief among these is the capacity for 'independent' action, i.e., action which runs counter to the conscious wishes of the child or for which the child is amnestic. This discussion raises the very interesting question of whether the imaginary companion experience of a multiple is in fact qualitatively different from the imaginary companion experience of other children. Unfortunately, too little is known about the subjective experience of either group to answer this question" (Sanders, 1992, pp161-162).



Imagery Rescripting and Reprocessing Therapy: This is Smucker and Dancu's (1999) variant of cognitive-behavioural therapy, designed specifically for treating adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse. As its name suggests, it emphasises the role of imagery and scripts in facilitating the therapeutic process.



Images, "Depositing" of: [See firstly identity, large group.] "Depositing" is the term chosen by Volkan (1987) for a process during personality and intellectual development which (a) selectively integrates certain images, but not others, into an individual's semantic memory, and (b) cathects them in such a way that they become internalised into the personality. The images in question are typically well recognised in the community in question, perhaps from folklore, perhaps as history in the vernacular, perhaps even "iconic" in its formal sense [i.e., artwork as a point of focused attention in religious worship], and thus both appeal to and help sustain ethnic, racial, and religious identity. Here is a more recent explanation from Volkan himself ..... 


"In taking into consideration the permeability of the psychological border between the child and the mother or other caretaker, my focus in this chapter is on what I call depositing an adult's self-image or internalised images of other persons into the developing self of a child. Depositing is a specific kind of transgenerational transmission that is closely related to the well-known concept of identification. But it is in some ways significantly different from that identification. In identification children are the primary active partners; they take in (mostly unconsciously) aspects of their adult partners and some of the adult partners' functions, assimilate what they take in, and make them their own. There are healthy and unhealthy identifications. In depositing, the adult is more actively pushing specific self-images and internalised images of others into the developing self of  the child. In other words, an adult uses the child , mostly unconsciously, as a reservoir for certain mental images that belong to that adult. Although the child, who becomes a reservoir, is not completely a passive partner, the child does not initiate this transfer of images with their associated functions; it is the adult who initiates this process" (Volkan, 2006, p159; bold emphasis added).



Imagination, The: "That faculty of the mind by which are formed images or concepts of external objects not present to the senses ....." (O.E.D.); to the Greek philosophers, the notion of phantasia. According to Strawson (1970), the imagination is "the image-producing faculty" responsible for producing actual representations - we call them images - of "nonactual perceptions" (p41). We see a lot of value in this suggestion, because it would place a new and important processing stage in the overall process of perception, specifically at the point at which perceptual memory is activated during pattern recognition. We should also note Strawson's warning that the word-cluster image/imagine/imagination/imaginative, etc. constitutes "a very diverse and scattered family" (Op. Cit., p31). For his part, Ryle frets over the possibility that "the familiar truth that people are constantly seeing things in their minds' eyes and hearing things in their heads is no proof that there exist things which they see and hear, or that the people are seeing or hearing" (Ryle, 1949, p232).



Immanence: See immanent.



Immanent: [And its abstract substantive immanence.] In general (but erudite) usage, to be "immanent" is to be "indwelling, inherent; actually present or abiding" (O.E.D.). The word was adopted within mental philosophy to indicate a right-there-right-now-ness, and was then used by Kant to define what "transcendent" was NOT, thus .....


"For it is not the idea in itself but merely its use that can [.....] be either overreaching (transcendent) or indigenous (immanent), according as the idea either is directed straightforwardly to an object that supposedly corresponds to it, or is directed only to the understanding's use as such in regard to the objects dealt with by the understanding" (Kant, 1781, Critique; Pluhar translation, p618).


Brentano (1874) uses the term in the phrase "immanent objectivity" (p88), but thereafter prefers "intentional in-existence" instead.



Immanent Perception: See perception, immanent.



Immanentism: See immanent.



Immaterial Automaton: See incorporeal automaton.



Immature Defenses: See defense mechanisms.



Immediate Perception: See perception, immediate.



Implicature: See this entry in the companion Psycholinguistics Glossary.



Impression: This is one of Hume's two basic "kinds" of perception (the other being the idea). Here are the opening lines of his Treatise of Human Nature (Hume, 1739) .....


"All the perceptions of the human mind resolve themselves into two distinct kinds, which I shall call IMPRESSIONS and IDEAS. The difference betwixt these consists in the degrees of force and liveliness, with which they strike upon the mind, and make their way into our thought or consciousness. Those perceptions which enter with most force and violence we may name impressions; and under this name I comprehend all our sensations, passions, and emotions" (Hume, Treatise; Nidditch edition, p1).



Imprisoned Intelligence: This is Orenstein's (2001) term for the deep human potential which all too often remains locked away and wasted in persons with learning disabilities for no better reason than that nobody actually realises they have the condition in the first place. [Buy Orenstein's thoroughly thought-provoking book]



Impulse Control: [See firstly impulsivity.] In general terms, "impulse control" is the opposite of "impulsivity", that is to say, it is a measure of the ability [actually a cybernetic control loop - check it out] NOT to do what first comes into our heads, but to behave instead with greater forethought and reflective awareness. Impulse control is thus the loss of losses in cases of dysexecutive syndrome. It also appears to be closely related to the experience of shame (Pfeiffer, 2006 online). The method of first choice in treating impulse control problems is cognitive behavioural therapy.



Impulse-Control Disorders Not Elsewhere Classified: This is the DSM-IV header category for six specific disorder groups, namely impulse-control disorder not otherwise specified, intermittent explosive disorder, kleptomania, pathological gambling, pyromania, and trichotillomania.



Impulsivity: Impulsive behaviour is a major element in differential diagnosis under DSM-IV, and - to be judged pathological - must be "persistent, severe, and lead to clinically significant impairment or distress" (First, Frances, and Pincus, 1995, p73). In fact, the clinical phenomenon of impulsivity can only be properly understood in the context of the hierarchical nature of the biological nervous system. In the received [i.e., Jackson-Meynert] model of the nervous system, for example, there is a reflex level of response, beneath an instinctive level of response, beneath a cognitive level of response, and each of these levels of control is capable of autonomous decision making. There is, however, only one set of muscles to contro, and only one "final common pathway" giving access to them. We are therefore faced with the issue of impulsivity whenever a lower level behaviour would, if executed at the lower level, disrupt or contradict the plans and strategies of one of the higher levels. Impulsivity, in other words, always involves a failure of higher-order control. This is a vitally important notion, so here are some illustrations .....


Scenario #1: If we were to be stung by a wasp while otherwise engaged answering a "call of nature", our reflex control system (withdrawal and vocalisation) would be put into conflict with our instinctive control system (the ongoing act of urinating, say), and the reflex behaviour would win - we would discontinue the original behaviour while we dealt with the interruption. So Rule #1 is that reflexes instantly outrank instincts in accessing the final common pathway to the muscles.


Scenario #2: Suppose now that we were stung by this wasp while sitting at our desk writing a letter. This time, our reflex control system would be in conflict with our "higher cognitive functions", and again the reflex behaviour would momentarily take precedence. So Rule #2 is that reflexes instantly outrank the sort of motor schemas available to higher functions in accessing the final common pathway to the muscles. [For more on motor schemas, see Norman-Shallice model.]


Scenario #3: Suppose now that we develop the need to urinate while sat at our desk writing a letter. This puts the instinctive control system into conflict with higher cognitive functions, only this time, because there is no element of reflex automaticity, you might choose to wait a few minutes before responding. You can, in other words, override your instincts by exercising your "willpower". The same principle applies to a multitude of other bodily impulses, including holding your breath, refusing to eat or drink, declining alcohol, tobacco, chocolate, becoming celibate, and so on. So Rule #3 is that instincts outrank planned behaviour, but not necessarily instantly. Yet (as any addict or serial dieter will attest) success is far from guaranteed! Willpower is all too often not up to the task assigned to it and we often sit atop our automatically reacting bodies wondering how to get them to behave. Jane Goodall (1986), for example, has described just how hard it is for chimpanzees to take control over their utterances .....


"Chimpanzee vocalisations are closely tied to emotion. The production of a sound in the absence of the appropriate emotional state seems to be an almost impossible task for a chimpanzee. A chimpanzee can learn to suppress calls in situations when the production of sounds might, by drawing attention to the signaller, place him in an unpleasant or dangerous position, but even this is not easy. On one occasion when Figan [a chimpanzee at the Gombe Stream Reservation] was an adolescent, he waited in camp until the senior males had left and we were able to give him some bananas (he had none before). His excited food calls quickly brought the big males racing back and Figan lost his fruit. A few days later he waited behind again, and once more received his bananas. He made no loud sounds, but the calls could be heard deep in his throat, almost causing him to gag" (Goodall, 1986, p125, cited in Lieberman, 1991, p52; italics original).


Scenarios #1 to #3 involve what is known in computing as a "control interrupt" (or "interrupt", for short), a mechanism to allow the lower-level process to stop the higher-level process in its tracks, thus giving it (the lower) undisputed access to the available skeletomuscular resources [for more on the technicalities here, see Section 4 of our e-resource on "Mode Error"].


Scenario #4: Suppose, finally, that we have two possible courses of action under consideration at the higher cognitive level. Part of us would like to write a letter, say, whilst part would like to go for a walk instead. This presents you with a conflict within higher cognition, and the usual response would be to weigh up the pros and cons of each optional course of action, and then to select the one offering the greatest net benefit.


So what can these scenarios tell us about the process of motor schema selection? Well the main message is that not all of us put the same amount of thought into that process. With the typical "dysexecutive syndrome" patient, for example, there is a reduced ability to do the necessary reflection, and a tendency instead "to act on impulse". Dysexecutive patients simply do what they happen to think of first, regardless of any better suggestions which might subsequently occur to them. Impulsivity is thus a major diagnostic criterion in the assessment of "frontal" versus non-frontal brain injuries. Impulsivity is also seen in certain mental health pathologies, notably the impulse control disorders and borderline personality disorder. [See also toxic parenting (the section on physical abuse).]



Incarnation: In everyday English, an incarnation is literally something "made flesh", as seen in flowery English epithets such as "the Devil incarnate" [i.e., a real-world large-as-life evil person]. It was therefore a logical choice of word (a) for Western theologians in their discussions of the notion of an immortal heavenly soul "made flesh" at birth in a mortal worldly body, as well as (b) for mental philosophers in their discussions of the mind-brain problem. The two threads of argument - soul in flesh and mind in brain - then came together at the beginning of the Enlightenment. Many contributed to the larger debate which then ensued, but we shall for the moment take Leibniz's (1686) Discourse on Metaphysics as typical ..... 


"We also get an explanation of the great mystery of the union of the soul and the body, that is to say, how it comes about that the passive and active states of the one are accompanied by active and passive states, or by suitable phenomena, in the other. For in no way is it conceivable that the one has an influence over the other [.....]. Here, then, is the true explanation of it: we have said that everything which happens to the soul and to each substance is a consequence of its notion. Therefore, the mere idea or essence of the soul specifies that all its appearances or perceptions must arise spontaneously from its own nature, and in just such a way that they correspond of themselves to what happens in the universe, but also more particularly and more perfectly to what happens in the body which is assigned to it. [.....] This also explains how our body belongs to us despite not being attached to our essence" (Leibniz, 1686, Discourse on Metaphysics [Woolhouse and Francks (1998) edition, p85], ¶33; bold emphasis added).


[For Leibniz's later-life views on how the soul supervenes upon the body, see the entry for monad.]



Incest: This topic is dealt with in this glossary as an accumulation of subtopics. We recommend using the entry for toxic parenting (5) as a general introduction, then moving on to multiple personality disorder, a fascinating but rare pathological consequence of this form of abuse, then on to the more or less commonplace borderline personality disorder, and then finally on to the hard cognitive science in self, incestuous sexual abuse and.



Incest, Covert: This is Adams' (1991) term for an unnatural and unhealthy emotional rather than a full physical relationship with a parent. It is a child-parent relationship taken to an unnatural extreme. Here is the acid test .....


"There is nothing loving or caring about a close parent-child relationship when it services the needs and feelings of the parent rather than the child" (Adams, 1991, p2; emphasis added).


Although there is no overt or physical side to this sort of relationship, Adams insists that it is incest nonetheless. This is because there are profound effects on the child's development due to the associated feelings of guilt, shame, and inadequacy, and the consequent difficulties establishing and maintaining intimacy later in life.



Incest, Effects on the Development of the Self: See self, incestual sexual abuse and.



Incorporeal Automaton: This is Leibniz's (1714) term for the "self-sufficiency" which makes entelechies "the sources of their internal actions" (Monadology, p6). The notion had earlier been raised under the slightly different rendering "immaterial automaton" in the textual exchanges between Bayle and Leibniz, thus .....


"..... it may be said that the soul is an immaterial automaton of the most exact kind" (Leibniz, New`System, 1695, p124). [For the background to the debate in question, plus an additional use of the phrase, see consciousness, Leibniz's theory of.]



Indexed Sequential File: [See firstly file.] [a.k.a. "flat file" or "IS-file".] This is one of many possible computer file types, and is designed specifically to support direct access to individual records within large files of in-some-way-keyed data. Structurally, the flat file component contains the substantive data, whilst an index file links the key fields to the disk addresses of the corresponding records, thus enabling rapid look up of the whereabouts of a particular record. For its part, the flat file is composed of large, identically formatted, data records, and is, at heart, the technology of the filing cabinet made digital.



Indexing: [See firstly event memory and story memory.] The concept of "indexing" is a valuable (albeit oft-ignored) aspect of Schank and Abelson's (1995) story-based approach to memory, and it earns its value from the simple fact that a prior experience is only useful if it can be used. That means being able to get at relevant experience when you need it; and quickly, too. Event and story memories must therefore be flexibly retrievable by a biological equivalent of the sort of random access mechanisms used in computing, and indexes are the mechanism of that flexibility. To be effective, memory "must contain both specific instances (memories) and labels (indexes) used to trace memories of experiences. The more information we are given about a situation, the more places we can attach it in our memory, and the more ways it can be compared to other cases in our memory" (p7). The index entry points "may be locations, attitudes, beliefs, quandaries, decisions, conclusions, or whatever [and] the more indexes we have, the greater the number of comparisons we can make to prior experiences, and hence the greater our learning" (p7). [See now ecphory.]


ASIDE: Indexing is thus the biological counterpart of the various forms of random access OBTAIN built into network database software, and introduced more fully in our e-paper on "Database Navigation and the IDMS Semantic Net".



Individual Differences: The science of "individual differences" is the study of how and why humans display different mental abilities and approach the same situation in quite different ways, and was generally inspired by Galton's study of hereditary genius. There are two traditional divisions of the science, namely intelligence studies and personality studies, but we predict that consciousness studies will soon come on stream as a third arena. The principal research tool in the existing study areas is the psychometric test, and we foresee a booming market in quantitative measures of selected dimensions of consciousness at some stage in the not too distant future.



Individual Psychology: When Alfred Adler and a number of colleagues resigned from Freud's Viennese Analytic Society in 1911 to set up a rival professional umbrella organisation of their own, they took the name "Society for Individual Psychology". They did this because the essence of the schism with orthodox Freudism had been a fundamental disagreement about the structures and dynamics of human motivation. Where orthodox Freudians believed in the all-powerful libido, driving us towards the things we experience as pleasurable, Adlerians believed in Erfüllung, a striving for human perfection in all and any area of effort (Boeree, 2003/2007 online [Boeree points out that this essentially Adlerian notion did much to inspire the later Rogerian notion of self-actualization]). However, De Vries (1951/2007 online) warned that what Adler had in mind was a psychology of "the unique, undivided personality" and a psychotherapy which took due account of all the holistic qualities which resulted. [For a fuller discussion, see the Boeree link above.]



Individuality: In everyday English, one's "individuality" is "the quality or state of being individual or constituting an individual; separate or distinct existence; oneness; unity" (Webster's Dictionary). The term has no specific additional meaning within mental philosophy, although it is regularly used in the everyday sense, as, for example, in the following ..... 


"The identity of the body [.....] depends not on the mere material particles, which are being dissolved and renewed at every moment, but on the impress of individuality which these changes do not impair, and which gives to the body a distinctive character in each one of the countless millions of human kind" (Barry, 1880; cited in Thomson, 1892, p35).


Hobbes explains how individuality may be considered using the modern favourite term, personality .....


"A person, is he, whose words or actions are considered, either as his own, or as representing the words or actions of another man, or of any other thing to whom they are attributed, whether truly or by fiction. [.....] The word person is Latin: instead whereof the Greeks have προσοπον  [prosopon], which signifies the face, as persona in Latin signifies the disguise, or outward appearance, of a man, counterfeited on the stage" (Hobbes, 1651, p83).


[See next individuality, illusion of.]



Individuality, Illusion of: [See firstly individuality, inner speech, and unconscious, the.] Sullivan (1950) made the interesting observation that our species' virtuosity with language makes it "unutterably easy" (p321) for us to deceive ourselves into feeling that we know what we are doing when in fact we do not. This is especially problematical when we use words to explain what has motivated us to do something, because the "ideation" at the top of the speech production process does not of itself penetrate down into the unconscious. Indeed it is axiomatic to both the psychodynamic and the cognitivist perspectives on the mind that unconscious motivations are not available for introspection, and therefore cannot adequately or accurately be consciously explained, linguistically or otherwise.


ASIDE (1): The so-called "cognitive revolution" took place in the decade following Sullivan's 1950 paper, and by the early 1960s early versions of the now-received Norman-Shallice model of cognition were beginning to appear in the cognitive science literature. These "A-shaped" models followed Freud's (1923) depiction of a hierarchy of levels of phenomenal awareness [check it out], and restricted the phenomenon of reflective consciousness to the highest level of the resulting hierarchy [readers unfamiliar with this modelling genre should divert briefly to Frank's (1963) entirely typical Organogram, and note the core consciousness and preconsciousness modules (red and pink respectively)]. This means in turn that consciousness (and especially the part language plays in it) is an instrument of post-hoc rationalisation at best, and serious confabulation at worst. There are a number of excellent maps of the speech output hierarchy to choose from - see Section 4 of the companion resource. The term "ideation" comes from Lordat (1843). 


ASIDE (2): The "X-shaped" modular flow diagrams of psycholinguistic processing show inner speech as both intra- and inter-modular feedback pathways [readers unfamiliar with this modelling genre should divert briefly to Ellis and Young's (1988) entirely typical diagram, and note how "Route #11" thereon makes it possible for us to listen to withheld output speech, that is to say, to our own "inner speech"].


Sullivan began his paper by suggesting that we should regard the mind as a nexus [Greek = "knot"] of stored experiences - a "place where things get together and are snarled up or tangled" (p319). This nexus then justifies its existence (a) by "deciding the probabilities of certain courses of events" (ibid.), and (b) by controlling its own levels of anxiety by processing the world - primarily the significant others in whose company we have to live - in very particular ways. Sullivan then argued that personality, self, and ego, although inter-related, are not entirely the same thing because they draw on the contents of this nexus in different ways, thus ..... 


"The nexus of all [the] experience by which we form views of the world, the universe, our place in it, and so on, is always in the experience of me-and-my-mind, or you-and-your-mind if you feel very separate from me. And in this you-and-your-mind there are some things which are fairly clearly capable of being named which go on in experiencing and formulating. We analyse and understand the past, and to understand means that we see certain relations in certain parts of it with the still earlier past, which has gradually taken on personal meaning. We symbolise and formulate the present[, relating] it to things, thought forms, words, and so on, which will stand for it. [..... And] we project the future by juggling with past symbolisations, understandings, and present formulations in terms of probable future events. To the extent that we project well [.....] we sometimes exercise foresight and are prepared for what happens" (Sullivan, 1950, p319; bold emphasis added).


And whenever this "juggling with past symbolisations" touches upon past pains, the residue of past traumatic encounters, the mind needs to control just how thoroughly it conducts its search. One of the devices it then has at its disposal is to place a particular face-saving construction on the truths it is uncovering. Sullivan called these truth-vetting processes "security operations". Here is the substance of his argument in his own words .....


"The part of the personality which is central in the experience of anxiety we call the 'self'. It is concerned with avoiding the supposedly distressing - which is often illuminating - with the exclusion from awareness of certain types of very humiliating recollections, and correspondingly the failure of the development of insight from experience. It maintains selective inattention. Now the 'self' is not coterminous with the ego of the old ego-psychologist, or the ego of Freud, or the superego of Freud [.....]. The self is the content of consciousness at all times when one is thoroughly comfortable about one's self-respect [..... It] is the whole works; everything else in life runs smoothly without disturbing us the least bit. And it is when any of these things begin to go a little haywire [.....] that anxiety is very apt to manifest itself. [.....] And so we say that the self is a system within the personality, built up from innumerable experiences from early life, the central notion of which is that we satisfy the people that matter to us and therefore satisfy ourselves, and are spared the experience of anxiety. We can say that the operations by which all these things are done [..... and which] maintain our prestige and self-respect which are dependent upon the respect of others for us and the deference they pay us, we call security operations. Security operations are things which we might say are herded down a narrow path by selective inattention. In other words, we don't learn them as fast as we might; we never seem to learn how unimportant they are in many circumstances where they get in our way. [..... They] are in many cases assertive, starting out with 'I' - and 'I' in its most powerful fashion. [.....] As I say, the self does not 'learn' very readily because anxiety is just so busy and so effective at choking off enquiries where there is any little risk of loss of face with one's self or others. And the operations to maintain this prestige and feeling of security [.....] are of such crucial importance [.....] that the content of consciousness pertaining to the pursuit of satisfaction and the enjoyment of life is at best marginal" (Sullivan, 1950, pp327-328; bold emphasis added).


ASIDE: The word "operation" is used here in the same sense (a) that Piaget had been using it since the 1920s, and (b) that J.P. Guilford (e.g., 1959) would incorporate it into his famous "cube" of mental abilities [see companion resource, Section 4]. It is a discrete unit of mental information of processing with a clearly discernible role to play in the overall "functional architecture" of the mind.


In Sullivan's view, therefore, the key to understanding an individual was to concentrate one's research efforts not on how people are made, but on "what people do with each other" (p329). And this, in turn, dictates the fundamental orientation of psychotherapy. Are we to go looking for this mysterious thing called "self", convinced that it must be deficient or damaged in some way and determined to strengthen or repair it, or are we to focus rather on how it interacts with others. He concludes as follows ..... 


"As I say, the conceptual system has grown up which finds its subject matter not in the study of personality, which is beyond reach, but in the study of that which can be observed; namely interpersonal relations. And when that viewpoint is applied, then one of the greatest difficulties encountered in bringing about favourable change is this almost inescapable illusion that there is a perduring, unique, simple existent self, called variously 'me' or 'I', and in some strange fashion, the patient's, or the subject person's, private property. [..... I]t makes no sense to think of ourselves as 'individual', 'separate', capable of anything like definitive description in isolation [..... and n]o great progress in this field of study can be made until it is realised that the field of observation is what people do with each other [.....] When that is done, no such thing as the durable, unique, individual personality is ever clearly justified. For all I know, every human being has as many personalities as he has interpersonal relations ....." (Sullivan, 1950, p329; bold emphasis added).



Induction: [See firstly reasoning.] Inductive reasoning, or simply "induction", means deriving general principles from specific observations. We see this sort of reasoning in many guises, from argument by analogy to the sort of reasoning seen in rule-guessing experiments where subjects have to study a series of stimuli and work out what the underlying rule or pattern is. Alternatively, "inductive reasoning works with a CASE and a RESULT, to determine a RULE" (Skemp, 2002). Since structured observation is at the heart of the correlational philosophy of research, it follows that induction is an important part of the cycle of reasoning and observation by which the scientific method makes it advances.



Inferiority Complex: [See firstly complex.] This is Adler's (1907) notion of a developmentally fundamental defect in self-assertiveness which manifests itself in and throughout later life as an all-pervading sense of personal worthlessness. In fact, Adler regarded feelings of inferiority as an inevitable correlate of the natural inadequacies of the human infant. There is therefore always some potential for problems to emerge, although with "good enough" parenting these potential problems are more or less routinely overcome by a compensatory (but not overly so) "striving for superiority". In a less fortunate proportion of the population, however, the quality of the parenting is not good enough and either the inferiority or the compensatory strivings against it start to predominate both cognition and behaviour.  



Infinite Regress: See homunculus fallacy.



Informational Encapsulation: This is Fodor's (1983, 1987) suggested dimension along which the internal organisation of information processing architectures - known more generally as their "modularity" - can be roughly quantified. At the low end of the dimension, an architecture which has poor encapsulation is one where different modules are constrained for some (usually good) reason to "share" their available data. However, this robs them of some of the benefits of having a truly modular architecture, not least the ability to operate relatively independently of each other; instead, there will be lots of unproductive waiting time involved as modules wait on each other to free up this or that informational asset. At the high end of the dimension, an architecture which has good encapsulation runs quickly because it has all the information it needs to do its job, but the overall system lacks the sort of central coherence discussed by Frith [U.] as characterising biological higher functions modules. 



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



Inhalt: [German = "contents; content, capacity, extent, area, volume; (fig.) tenor, subject (matter), purport, substance, essence, gist, sense, meaning" (C.G.D.).] This everyday German word for things contained was put to use within mental philosophy by Kant, as a descriptor for mental contents.



Inhibitory Post-Synaptic Potential (IPSP): [See firstly post-synaptic potential.] This is a local 3-4mV hyperpolarisation of the post-synaptic neural membrane, following the arrival of an action potential at the pre-synaptic side of the synaptic cleft, provided only that the neurotransmitter involved is inhibitory. This hyperpolarising event is important, because it moves the receiving neuron further from its action potential threshold, thus making it less likely to fire. [Contrast excitatory post-synaptic potential.]



Inner Sense: See inner vs outer sense.



Inner Speech: [See firstly private language.] This is the notion (both everyday and philosophical) that one of the largest single pieces of the cognitive jigsaw is the ability to hold conversations with oneself in the privacy of silence. As usual, of course, the idea is not entirely new .....


"[SOCRATES:] Now by 'thinking' do you mean the same as I do? [That it is] a talk which the soul has with itself about the objects under its consideration. [.....] It seems to me that the soul when it thinks is simply carrying on a discussion in which it asks itself questions and answers them itself; affirms and denies" (Plato, Theaetetus, ¶189e-¶190a; Levett translation, p92).


Freud touched upon the subject in his Project, when, in remarking that one of the main tasks of the phenomenon of observing thought was "to become acquainted [with] the pathways leading from the perception" (Freud, 1895, Project for a Scientific Psychology, p364; more conveniently in Pribram and Gill, 1976, p123), he noted also that those very pathways would be closely associated with "motor speech images". In the event, however, the ideas set out in the Project were largely overlooked at the time, being swamped somewhat by the success which his psychoanalytical writings were about to have. As a result, it was the Russian, Lev Vygotsky, inspired by the early writings of the Geneva School, who did most to stimulate the modern debate about inner speech. In Vygotsky (1934/1962), for example, he saw inner speech as a more mature form of "talking to oneself", thus .....


"Inner speech is not the interior aspect of external speech - it is a function in itself. It still remains speech, i.e., thought connected with words. But while in external speech thought is embodied in words, in inner speech words die as they bring forth thought. Inner speech is to a large extent thinking in pure meanings. It is a dynamic, shifting, unstable thing, fluttering between word and thought [.....]. Its true nature and place can be understood only after examining the next plane of verbal thought, the one still more inward than inner speech. That plane is thought itself" (Vygotsky, 1934/1962, p149).


However - as we saw in consciousness, Dennett's theory of - "mind within mind" theories, tempting though they are, are not the only available explanation of consciousness. Far better to look instead at recursiveness in the mind, because it is likely that many secrets of consciousness lie in the echoing back of one's thoughts to oneself, and in the "sheer echoic amplification" which this allows. Listening to yourself think, in other words, is a vitally important human capacity. Nevertheless, considerable caution is needed, because most of the time our upper and lower minds are simultaneously at work. There are "more minimal forms of memory" than episodic memory, therefore, and psychology needs to recognize both low and high memories, although only the high one has the Dennettian "magic echo". Arendt (1978) is another who places internal dialogue close to the centre of cognition, and Baars (1997) has applied his theater of consciousness metaphor to this problem, describing it as "that little inner voice" (p75). He sees "the urge to talk to ourselves" as "remarkably compelling". Unfortunately the theatre metaphor then more or less forces you to into the Homunctionist position, only with two homunculi to worry about, one on the stage and one in the auditorium! Blachowicz (1997) has recently identified two conventional approaches to inner speech, and suggested a third of his own. The first conventional approach - the "reflection model" – holds that inner speech is a “manifestation of reflection, that is, of the act by which I am able to think about some content within my consciousness” (p486). The second conventional approach - the "social model" – holds that inner conversations “take place among different personae” (p488), as part of our seeing things from different perspectives or roles. Blachowicz’s synthesised position is based upon “the rhythm of proposal and disposal” (p489) which characterises scientific discovery, that is to say, upon peer-reviewed hypothesis testing; upon a cycle of "articulation and reciprocal correction" (p488). It is a progressive process of formulation and re-formulation, much as when a police artist gradually adjusts his sketch of a suspect to the description given by an eye witness. Blachowicz likes this metaphor because it emphasises that the two participants to the inner conversation have neither equal experience nor equal skill - the artist can draw, whilst the witness has the target memory. This is what then goes on, mutatis mutandis, when the soul holds a dialogue with itself: "At one moment we may possess a meaning but fail to articulate it; at another moment we may possess just such an articulation, but find that its meaning fails to correspond with our intended one. We talk to ourselves when we think because only a dialogue [can] achieve a simultaneous satisfaction of these twin requirements" (p490). He argues next that the social model does not adequately allow for the partners in the dialogue to be "cognitively different" (p490); that there are not just quantitative differences in their respective contributions, but qualitative also [in which respect, he is acknowledging a debt to the sort of right hemisphere cognition outlined in consciousness, Gazzaniga's theory of]. [Compare private language.]


RESEARCH ISSUES: The inner speech construct is everywhere in psychology, but as reasonably topical areas of study we may note (1) that Polansky (1981) blames at least some of the symptoms of his apathy-futility syndrome on defects in patients' "internal dialogue" (p40), (2) that Blum (2004) has noted what he calls an affectomotor dialogue during the process of "affect mirroring" in parenting, and (3) that Patlavskiy (1999) wonders what is going on in processing terms when senility brings inner speech back out into the open in those unfortunates who can no longer keep their thoughts to themselves and spend their days talking out loud.


RESEARCH EXERCISE: In the entries for Freudian theory and guilt, attention is drawn to the superego's  ability to manifest itself as a sort of inner voice of morality and self-control. This aspect of inner speech is not routinely included in psycholinguistic models of speech production described above. Adventurous cognitive modellers might therefore try enhancing said models to show where superego-initiated inner speech gets merged with ego-initiated inner speech, or, indeed, whether the superego is so separated as a cognitive structure that it is able to generate a stream of speech acts of its own rather than just sit in judgment on those coming from its ego.



Inner versus Outer Sense: This is Kant's explanation of how the mind succeeds as well as it does in processing the external world as three-dimensional space as well as managing itself as what we intuit as the experience of time. Here is Kant himself on this .....


"By means of outer sense (a property of our mind) we present objects as outside us, and present them one and all in space. In space their shape, magnitude, and relation to one another are determined or determinable. By means of inner sense the mind intuits itself, or its inner state. Although inner sense provides no intuition of the soul itself as an object, yet there is a determinate form under which alone [as condition] we can intuit the soul's inner state. [That form is time.] Thus everything belonging to our inner determinations is presented in relations of time. Time cannot be intuited outwardly, any more than space can be intuited as something within us" (Critique, pp76-77; the square brackets on this occasion are the translator's).



In-sein: [Artificial German = "Being-in".] See consciousness, Heidegger's theory of.



Insight: In everyday English, insight is "internal sight, mental vision or perception, discernment" (O.E.D.). The word is used in much the same sense in psychology, appearing as "insight learning" in comparative psychology and "insight therapy" in psychiatry - see the separate entries for the details.



Insight Learning: [See firstly insight.] This is the received term within both comparative psychology and learning theory for problem solving by mental reasoning or restructuring, rather than by trial and error [for details of the long and occasionally heated debate here, see the entry for insight versus trial and error]. 



Insight versus Trial and Error Debate: [See firstly insight and trial and error separately, and then Behaviourist Perspective and Gestalt School separately] This is the generally accepted name for the academic confrontation between Behaviourist and Gestaltist learning theorists in the first half of the 20th century over how best to interpret the observable facts of animal problem solving. The Behaviourist position, as exemplified by Skinner and his followers, was that the highest form of animal learning relied on operant conditioning, in which naturally occurring behaviours - "operants" - became associated with particular triggering situations and stimuli by virtue of contingencies being noted with drive-specific "reinforcements". The underlying assumption in this is that biologically "rewarding" [= nice] consummatory behaviours bring about some internal rewiring of the nervous system the function of which is to keep themselves recurring. As a result, animal problem solving behaviour was conceptualised as being a matter of "trial and error learning". The Gestalist position, on the other hand, was that operant conditioning was indeed a demonstrably genuine phenomenon, but that it fell short of the whole answer, especially in species higher up the phylogenetical scale. For Gestaltists, the most impressive animal problem solving involved einsichtige Lernen, a sudden mental restructuring of the problem at hand, literally a "moment of insight", often described as an "aha!" moment. Their research was led by one of the founder members of the Gestalt School, Wolfgang Köhler, during his time as Director of the Prussian Academy of Science's primate field research station on Tenerife between 1913 and 1917. Perhaps the best-known of Köhler's test paradigms was the "suspended bait experiment", as now described .....


"A long thin string is tied to the handle of a little open basket containing fruit; an iron ring is hung in the wire roof of the animals' playground through which the string is pulled till the basket hangs about 2 metres above the ground; the free end of the string, tied into a wide open loop, is laid over the stump of a tree-branch about 3 metres away from the basket, and about the same height from the ground; the string forms an acute angle - the bend being at the iron ring. [Case, Sultan], who has not seen the preparations, but who knows the basket well from his feeding-time, is let into the playground while the observer takes his place outside the bars" (Köhler, 1917/1925, The Mentality of Apes [Winter Translation], p14).


This is what happened on the first of Sultan's trials .....


"[Case, Sultan] looks at the hanging basket, and soon shows signs of lively agitation [.....] and tries to get into touch with the other animals at the windows of the ape-house and wherever there is an outlook, and also with the observer at the bars; but the animals are out of sight, and the observer remains indifferent. After a time, Sultan suddenly makes for the tree, climbs quickly up to the loop, stops a moment, then, watching the basket, pulls the string till the basket bumps against the ring (at the roof), lets it go again, pulls a second time more vigorously so that the basket turns over, and a banana falls out. He comes down, takes the fruit, gets up again, and now pulls so violently that the string breaks, and the whole basket falls" (op. cit., pp14-15).


Note the delay period between the test animal examining the test lay-out and its first considered response to it. Believers in insightful problem solving regard this as a period of grappling with the separate elements of the problem, and letting the brain's dynamic aspects [more on this below] get to work trying to rearrange them into some potential course of action. Another of Köhler's favourite study paradigms was the "required detour experiment", a set-up which involved presenting a bait a short distance away, but with no direct line of approach available. With their attention taken by the bait, animals typically come forward to whatever obstacle has been put in their way (the bars of their cage, say), and are thereby distracted by an open door, but indirect, route to the bait which has been provided behind them. Köhler liked to use this set-up when studying the problem solving abilities of dogs, since it did not require the distinctly primate manipulation skills needed to succeed in the other set-ups. A third paradigm, developed out of the detour set-up, is the "required artefact experiment". Here the researcher simply closes the cage off altogether and places the food bait too far away to be grasped through the bars. At the same time, the test animal(s) is/are provided with a number of possible relevant problem solving resources, dotted about the inside of the cage, and their progress towards using these artefacts as "tools" is recorded. This paradigm, too, could be presented in a myriad of formats. If, for example, the banana was attached to a piece of string left within grasping range, then the ape would happily reach out through the bars and reel it in. By contrast, however, if several pieces of string were provided the animal was less organised in its actions and, rather than visually attempting to work out which string to pull, would resort to trial and error and pull them one by one until it achieved the reward item. Here is an indicative extract .....


"The objective, tied to a string, lies on the ground on the further side of the bars, and three more strings, besides the 'right' one, run from the approximate direction of the objective, crossing the 'right' string and each other. Their ends lie near the bars [figure]. An adult human being, with only a slight degree of attention, can perceive at once which string is the right one. Sultan is led to the bars, glances out, and then pulls in rapid succession, two of the wrong strings, and then the right one [.....]. The field is clearer if only two strings, one right and one wrong, run towards the objective, without necessarily crossing. [.....] These experiments do not permit us to form any conclusion as to Sultan's ability to recognise the 'right' string after careful observation, for Sultan never gives himself time to make the effort such attention requires, but simply grips something and pulls [..... Over many trials], the results justify the following conclusions: When the end of the string or rope is only at a small distance from the objective [.....] the chimpanzee generally pulls the string, after a cursory glance at it. He will always pull the string if it visibly touches the objective [.....]. When rope-end and objective are wide apart, the chimpanzee will generally not pull the rope, unless he is interested in it per se, or wants to have it to use in another way. When the distance between objective and rope-end is moderately wide - that is to say, from some centimetres upwards - so that the rope-end lies in a sort of 'halo' round the objective even to human perception, the result will depend on the degree of hunger felt by the animal [.....]. When very hungry the chimpanzee will pull the rope, while looking at the objective, even when he must and obviously does see that there is no contact between them" (op. cit., pp31-33).


RESEARCH ISSUE: The perceptual halo effect mentioned above has never finally been explained.


As the Gestalt School grew in reputation during the 1920s, its members started to apply to animal problem solving a number of the principles derived from their work on perception. The notion of field dynamics was especially easy to redeploy in this way. Köhler, Wertheimer, Lewin, and Koffka had all argued that separate external events were  represented in the brain as equally separate neural fields, and that these fields could, given time, thanks to the inherent properties of the nervous tissue concerned, coalesce spontaneously into a more successful single cognition. If the separate cognitions were the elements of a potential future problem solution, then the eventual emergent cognition was its "insightful" solution. The research was then re-applied in a human area by Koffka (1921), who included it in a monograph on best educational practice. By the 1930s, a new generation of Gestaltist workers had joined the debate, and new test situations were being devised. Amongst these we have Maier's (1931) famous "two string problem" and Duncker's (1945) analysis of the phenomenon of "functional fixedness", that is to say, the inability to use in one situation or for one purpose an instrument previously only used in a different situation or for a different purpose.


TEST YOURSELF NOW: Try out the "uses of an object" exercise in Section 4 of the companion resource on "Creativity".


It remained for Wertheimer himself to bring the classical phase of the debate to a close on behalf of the Gestaltists with his book Productive Thinking (Wertheimer, 1945), which, with its detailed analysis of the gradual development of practical problem solving skills, went on to become a classic of the Tyler rationale of educational practice. Skinner merely replied with a demonstration of just how powerful trial and error could be, if only it were properly, constantly, and painstakingly corrected .....


ASIDE: The Behaviourists' technical term for the slow moulding of behaviour in a certain direction using microscopically precise contingent reward is "shaping". Shaping, of course, is what circus animal trainers do with their performing animals, and obedience trainers do with their domesticised cousins. It is also the theoretical grounding of the therapeutic approach known as Behaviour Therapy. Perhaps Skinner's most visually telling demonstration of the power of shaping to look like insight was that of the pigeon stacking blocks to get up to a suspended bait in a Skinner box version of Köhler's suspended bait challenge. 


The insight debate cooled off a bit in the 1950s as Behaviourism retreated before more Cognitivist explanations, but the core question nevertheless remains open to this day, and, in its modern form, is well illustrated by the work of the University of Vermont's Berndt Heinrich with Corvus Corax, the common raven. Heinrich (1995/2007 online) presented birds with a meat bait suspended at the end of a length of string below a horizontal perch. Five birds were tested on successive days. Two birds flew at the bait from below with minor success, and thereafter tried no alternative method. Bird #4 behaved more like the animals studied in the classic insight learning experiments referred to above ..... 


"On the first day, Bird 4, like Bird 3, pecked or yanked at the meat-bearing string [.....] He then appeared to abandon all attempts to get the meat, but 6 h later again tried the same behaviour. This time, however, after one of these yanks of the string, the bird put one foot on this pulled-up string, reached down and pulled up another length of string, to step on it again after backing up another step along the perch, to repeat the process until reaching the meat. That is, it almost 'instantly' performed a behavioural sequence of at least six steps (reach, grab, pull up, set down, step on, let go, reach down, etc.) that had to be repeated  without mistake at least five more times (for 30 steps total) with no apparent trial-and-error learning for most if not all of these steps, chaining these steps together into a single unbroken sequence. After this first success (on 1st December), Bird 4 immediately pulled up meat [.....] without hesitation in subsequent trials ....." (Heinrich, 1995/2007 online, pp995-996).



Instinctual Anxiety: See anxiety types.



Instruction: See machine instruction.



Instructionism: [See firstly consciousness, Edelman and Tononi's theory of.] This is Edelman and Tononi's (2000) disparaging term for attempts to program intelligence into computer systems, which they feel are doomed to fail because the brain does not operate "according to an unambiguous set of algorithms or instructions, like a computer " (Edelman and Tononi, 2000, p81).



Integrated Data Store (IDS): IDS is the ancestral network database. It was developed in the early 1960s at General Electric Corporation's computing laboratories in New York by Charles W. Bachman, and was based around a clever combination of two ideas. On the one hand there was the then-brand-new "direct access" facility provided by disk storage devices [which we have described in detail in Section 1.2 of our e-paper on "Short-Term Memory Subtypes in Computing and Artificial Intelligence" (Part 4)], and on the other hand there was what Bachman called the "data structure set", a method of preparing your data so that it could make the best possible use of that access technology. The essence of the data structure set was that each record could be "logically associated, as a trailer, with multiple header records" (Bachman, 1980, p7), that is to say, on a set owner/set member basis. And when you brought these two ideas together, the result was sheer engineering elegance - you could store the owner record using the direct access technology and then pick up its related members using externally invisible addressing. Above all, you could hide a particular record in amongst many million similar ones, and still go straight to it when you needed it again!



Integrated Database Management System (IDMS): [CAUTION: if researching by the initials IDMS, there are a number of competing uses of this acronym. The additional keywords <DBTG>, <CODASYL> <Bachman>, or  <Goodrich> will often help reduce the number of extraneous hits.] For a detailed history of this proprietary DBMS product [web advert], and its core technicalities, see Section 4 of the "Data Modelling" resource.



Intellect, The: The intellect is "that faculty, or sum of faculties, of the mind or soul by which one knows and reasons [.....]; power of thought; understanding" (O.E.D.). The term is used within mental philosophy in its everyday sense, that is to say, as shorthand for the structures or systems or whatever which deliver us our higher cognitive functions (especially if creativity or effective ratiocination is involved). As to how the intellect works, Bergson (1907/1911) suggests that it "is characterized by the unlimited power of decomposing according to any law and of recomposing into any system" (p157), and as to what the intellect is and what passes through it, Guilford (1959) suggested that any particular mental capability could be regarded as the end-result of three orthogonal dimensions, namely what your brain does (its operations), what it contains at the time (its contents), and what it produces (its products).



Intellectualisation: This is one of the defense mechanisms postulated by psychoanalytic theory, and recognised by the DSM-IV as belonging to the "compromise formation" defense level. Its particular function is to defuse a specific source of anxiety by overanalysing it. We might suspect intellectualisation, for example, in the addiction theorist whose own upbringing had been blighted by alcoholism, substance abuse, or pathological gambling - the dispassionate and controlled expertise of the adult helps keep the pain of childhood at a safe distance. To understand is to neutralise. Intellectualisation receives specific mention in the theories of Anna Freud and Heinz Hartmann [for more on which, see ego autonomy].



Intelligence, Practical: This is Piagetian theory's term for the rudimentary intelligence needed to direct a physical action. Here is how this construct is explained in Piaget (1970) .....


"At the beginning of the second year children have a practical notion of space which includes what geometers call the group of displacements, that is, the understanding that a movement in one direction can be cancelled by a movement in the other direction - that one point in space can be reached by one of a number of different routes [.....] So this is again practical intelligence. It is not at the level of thought, and it is not at all in the child's representation, but he can act in space with [it]" (p44).



Intentional In-existence: See consciousness, Brentano’s theory of and intentionality.



Intentional Stance: See consciousness, Dennett's theory of.



Intentionality: (1) - As Used by Brentano and Husserl. [See firstly consciousness, Brentano's theory of, immanence, and representation.] As used within mental philosophy, this term refers to the phenomenon whereby we become conscious of the things around us (as well as merely responding to them). It is the "representational character of mind or consciousness" (McIntyre and Smith, 1989, p147). The term derives from the medieval Latin intendere [= "to point at"], and was popularised by Brentano (1874), thus .....


"Every mental phenomenon is characterised by what the [Schoolmen] called the intentional (or mental) inexistence of an object, and what we might call [.....] reference to a content, direction to an object [.....], or immanent objectivity. Every mental phenomenon includes something as object within itself, although they do not all do so in the same way. In presentation something is presented, in judgment something is affirmed or denied, in love loved, in hate hated, in desire desired, and so on" (p88).


Husserl followed Brentano, explaining the conscious of phenomenon as the sort of perception which is involved when becoming conscious of a tree, or of the fact that 3 + 2 = 5, or about some proposition. "Each such mental state," he argueS, "is in this way a representation of something other than itself and so gives one a sense of something" (p147). And again: "This representational character of mind or consciousness - its being 'of' or 'about' something - is 'intentionality'" (ibid.). Unfortunately, since it is possible to imagine objects which do not, in actuality, exist, it is necessary to accept "that the intentionality of an act is independent of the existence of its object" (p150), and it is this, precisely, which makes intentionality a phenomenological property of experiences. Here is Husserl's own summary .....


"By the real phenomenological content of an act we mean the sum total of its concrete or abstract parts, in other words, the sum total of the partial experiences that really constitute it. To point out and describe such parts [..... is] to dismember what we inwardly experience as it in itself is, and as it is really (reell) given in experience [..... and] the real (reell) contents of acts are of course only known through descriptive analyses of this kind. [.....] We must exclude all empirical interpretations and existential affirmations, we must take what is inwardly experienced or otherwise inwardly intuited (e.g., in pure fancy) as pure experiences, as our exemplary basis for acts of Ideation" (Logical Investigations, p229).


Siewert (2003 online) summarises the argument for us .....


"On one understanding frequent among philosophers, consciousness is a certain feature shared by sense-experience and imagery, perhaps belonging also to a broad range of other mental phenomena (e.g., episodic thought, memory, and emotion). It is the feature that consists in its seeming some way to one to have experiences. To put it another way, conscious states are states of its seeming somehow to a subject. For example, it seems to you some way to see red, and seems to you (some other way) to hear a crash, to visualise a triangle, and to suffer pain. [.....] States that are conscious in this sense are said to have some phenomenal character or other ....." ¶1).


(2) As Used by Searle: As used within modern theoretical linguistics (and particularly within the branch thereof known as "pragmatics"), "intentionality" refers in more of an everyday sense to how intentions as illocutionary acts are the main structuring factor in thought in a social setting.



Interacting Cognitive Subsystems (ICS): This is Barnard's (initially 1985) model of human cognition [see that author's website for details]. It proposes a simultaneously highly modular and appropriately hierarchical functional architecture, adopting at first sight many of the modular specifications seen in the earlier Ellis (1982) model. Unlike Ellis's model, however, it includes no central "semantic system", replacing this by separate "propositional" and "implicational" processors. Barnard's justification for this potentially highly valuable approach is that the higher features of the cognitive hierarchy are best specified by their essential components, and that their apparent final cohesion arises "out of the co-ordinated operation of the constituent parts. Note the tone of Emergentism in this approach, as well as its explanatory promise in the long-standing Homunctionism debate.



Interference: This is the doctrine (originally from Ebbinghaus, 1885) that forgetting can be caused by competing demand for memory resources, rather than by simple time lapse alone. You forget, in other words, because one engram can become mixed up with, and eventually indistinguishable from, earlier or later ones. Where this interference is from more recent material, it is termed retroactive interference, and where it is from pre-existing (i.e., older) material, it is termed proactive interference. [Compare decay.]



Interlingua: This is the technical name for an intermediate stage in translation. An interlingua is a language form intentionally divorced from both L1 and L2 in a translation, but from which both L1 and L2 (and, ideally, all other languages) can be generated. Strictly speaking, this definition incorporates "international" languages such as Esperanto, but we restrict ourselves here to any sequence of heavily inflected protosemantic codes produced by parsing an L1 and then realisable into the desired L2. Masterman is also important because she suggested a major improvement to the Richens-Booth "continuous form" interlingua. In Masterman (1957), she simply took her copy of Roget's Thesaurus from the shelf, and used its headings as a ready-made semantic interlingua, complete with associated numeric codes!



Intermediate Results: Intermediate results are items of "scratchpad" (i.e., soon disposable) data needing to be remembered momentarily during the performance of a longer and more complex calculation. If you had to add the square roots of 25 and 16, say, then you would have to remember the answer to the first term (i.e., 5) while you worked on the second term, and only when you had resolved that second term could you retrieve your intermediate result and proceed with the final addition. For further explanation and examples, plus a glimpse at the broader context, see Section 3.3 of our e-paper "Short-Term Memory Subtypes in Computing and Artificial Intelligence (Part 6 - Memory Subtypes in Computing)".



Intermittent Explosive Disorder: This is one of the six DSM-IV disorder groups under the category header of impulse-control disorders not elsewhere classified. It is characterised by uncontrolled aggression towards persons and/or property, quite out of proportion to the initiating circumstances.



Internal Object Relations: [See firstly Object Relations Theory.] Although the internal object relations construct derives ultimately from psychodynamic theory, it also has a role to play in epistemology and consciousness studies. This is because the construct's fundamental assertions are (a) that our long-term memories consist of internalised objects represented as semantic network nodes [we have elsewhere used the term "sememes"], and (b) that this otherwise not very useful mental content is given a far sharper adaptive edge by being interlinked in a propositional network of some description.


ASIDE: Meaning, in other words, lies somewhere between predominantly and totally, in the relational element of this network, not at the nodes. Readers to whom the term "entity-relationship diagram" is unfamiliar, may find a two minute diversion to that entry particularly informative at this juncture.


Now the things about propositional networks is that they deal exclusively with the cognitive aspects of long-term memory. This is because their designers have so far been unable to encode emotional qualia as propositions. Psychodynamic theory attempts to remedy this shortcoming by bringing the emotional aspects of both nodes and relationships into the equation as well. Ogden (1983) puts it this way .....


"The analysis of internal object relations centres upon the exploration of the relationship between internal objects and the ways in which the patient resists altering these unconscious internal object relations in the face of current experience" (p227).


He goes on to propose .....


"..... that the 'internalisation' of an object relation necessarily involves a splitting of the ego into parts that when repressed constitute internal objects which stand in a particular unconscious relationship to one another. This internal relationship is shaped by the nature of the original object relationship, but does not by any means bear a one-to-one correspondence with it, and is in addition potentially modifiable by subsequent experience" (p227).


As can be seen from the recent review by Tallis (2002) [a strongly recommended read], the idea of unconscious motivation has a complex history, but Janet's (1889) case Marie clearly indicates what is at stake. Marie had been hospitalised because of severe monthly hysterical attacks. Under Janet's hypnosis, however, it emerged that she had had a traumatic first menstruation at the age of 13 years, which had set up distorted internal object relations. Janet proceeded under hypnosis to redefine this troublesome memory with more positive associations, whereupon the monthly attacks ceased. Coming more up to date, Winnicott (1953) describes the use of "transitional objects" - often loosely referred to as "comforters" - obtain their soothing powers using internal object relations of this sort. He also applied the term in his analysis of normal and multiple personality.



Internalisation: This is Schafer's (1968) categorising term for any process by which a developing mind could be influenced in any way by the exemplars available from the particular socio-familial environment in which it was developing. Schafer introduces the subject thus .....


"Every major aspect of psychoanalytic theory involves assumptions about and data relevant to processes of internalisation. Internalisation occupies a central place in psychoanalytic propositions concerning psychic development, structure formation, modification of aims, changes of cathectic distributions, and adaptive processes. Psychoanalytic conceptions of narcissism, object love, sublimation, and the ego ideal; of defense, anxiety, guilt, and shame; of loss, trauma, delay, and reality testing: all of these depend in part on the conceptualisation of internalisation. Furthermore, to be  complete, any discussion of psychopathology and of normal development must refer to inadequate, faulty, or optimal internalisations. [.....] Although internalisation has been discussed in and of itself in the psychoanalytic literature, mostly it has been dealt with under the headings introjection, identification, and incorporation. Consequently, all four terms must be considered in a coordinated way - but this is no easy task" (Schafer, 1968, pp1-2; emphasis added).


Schafer traces this classificatory scheme back to the work of ego psychologists such as Hartmann, Kris, and Loewenstein in the 1940s, and offers the following formal definition .....


"Internalisation refers to all those processes by which the subject transforms real or imagined regulatory interactions with his environment, and real or imagined characteristics of his environment, into inner regulations and characteristics" (Schafer, 1968, p9).


Schafer's three-component classification has since been heavily promoted by the psychotherapist Richard D. Chessick, who offers the following summary analysis .....


"There are many debatable problems inherent in object relations theory. No methodology has been developed to verify those reconstructions of object relations theory [such as Kernberg's]. Nor has an approach been devised that enables us to correlate these reconstructions with the data of direct observation of the pre-oedipal mother-child unit without the injection of preconceived notions of the observer. Authors disagree about 'primitive internalised object relations'. Are these a source of motivation and the only or primary source, or an additional explanation for behaviours insufficiently explained by drive theories? Neither of these views make clear what causes these internalisations to affect behaviour; the relationship between 'drives' and 'internalisations' is not clear. [.....] In addition, the problem of 'internalisation' is complex. Schafer (1968) defines internalisation as all those processes by which a subject transforms real or imagined regulatory interactions with the environment into inner regulations and characteristics. [.....] Internalisation is structural: perception and cognitive creation are experiential. [.....] Another confusion pertains to the relationship between 'object representation' and 'introject'. [..... Volkan (1976)] defines an introject as 'a special, already differentiated, object representation that strives for absorption into the self-representation in order to achieve identification' (p59). Introjects, in contrast to object representations, are 'functional, and may play a role in the formation and alteration of psychic structure' (p59). [.....] The mechanisms of internalisation are very often confused in the literature. Identification is the most mature, less directly dependent on the drives, most adaptively selective, least ambivalent, more a modelling process, and originally a modelling on the parents. It is an automatic, usually unconscious mental process whereby an individual becomes like another person in one or several aspects. It is part of the learning process but also a means of adaptation to a feared or lost object. Identification is growth promoting and leads to better adaptation - a critical clinical point. [.....] Incorporation is a form or model of introjection or taking into the mind the attributes of another person that involves the fantasy of oral ingestion and swallowing. [..... It] is a primitive kind of interpersonal relations fantasy. It is primary process ideation, a form of fantasied 'object-relatedness'" (Chessick, 1985, pp63-65; bold emphasis added).


Schafer also places a lot of store on the notion of "regulations", seeing them as initially the "regulatory interactions" of a child with its parents, and subsequently - due to externalisation - as "inner". The superego, for example, is an "inner agency" (p13) for regulating both overt behaviour and one's representational structure of the world (the latter under the direct influence of one's defense mechanisms). [For further detail, see Wallis and Poulton (2001/2007 online); note also (and compare historically) Leibniz's notion of the "incarnation" of the soul into the body.]



Interpersonal Self: See self, interpersonal.



Interpolated Activity: See Brown-Peterson technique



Interpreter (E/1/2/3): In everyday English, "to interpret" is "to explain the meaning of, to elucidate, to unfold" (Chambers' Dictionary), "an interpreter" is a person who stands in the communication chain between parties who share no common language and translates for them in real time [compare translation and transliteration], and "an interpretation" is "the sense given by an interpreter" (Chambers' Dictionary). These everyday definitions help us make sense of the following three important technical uses of the term. (1) [See firstly computer language.] As used within computer science, an "interpreter" is a systems software product designed to convert the individual instructions of a high-level computer language into their equivalent low-level machine instructions, thus allowing computer programmers the luxury of developing their ideas in thought-like structure, prior to "executing" them. Specifically, an interpreter is a utility program, complete with error detection and optimisation routines, but differing from a compiler in that it processes the source code program one instruction at a time. This makes interpreters cheaper and easier to use than compilers, but considerably less powerful if programming sophistication is called for. (2) Within neuropsychology, "the narrative interpreter" is Gazzaniga's notion of a dominant hemisphere higher function for maintaining a single, central, coherent, and conscious interpretation of all the disparate, distributed, disjointed, and unconscious activity elsewhere in the brain [for more on this, see consciousness, Gazzaniga's theory of] (3) The Interpreter is/was also one of the "troops", the alter personalities, in case, Truddi Chase.



Interrupt: [Computing term.] See Section 4 of the companion resource.



Interrupt Handling/Interrupt Processing: [See firstly interrupt.] Interrupt processing is noteworthy in the context of the present glossary because biological cognates of the process are presumably involved in the efficient execution of motor programs. By the same token, interrupt processing failures are therefore to be suspected in adverse events, where they can lead to the sort of dangerous perseveration noted in the entry for cognitive framing. [Compare discrimination errors.]



Interstitial Fluid: This is a type of extracellular fluid. It is mainly composed of water, with traces of other substances - salts (predominantly sodium chloride), sugars, dissolved blood gases, and proteins - in solution. The main difference between interstitial fluid and the cytoplasm is that the interstitial fluid contains far more sodium and chlorine ions. [Compare nucleoplasm.]



Interventions: In the context of healthcare, to "intervene" is to "to treat", and in the context of education it is "to teach". An intervention, therefore, is simply a discrete instance of professionals doing their job, doctors with their patents, teachers with their students, speech and language therapists with the communication impaired, and so on. With matters of psychological intervention (notably mental health problems, criminality, and learning disability), things are confused before we start. This is because there are "schools" of psychology, each one sponsoring its own quite fundamentally different type of intervention, as presented in this glossary in the separate entries for behaviour therapy, cognitive behaviour therapy, cognitive rehabilitation, cognitive therapy, dialectical behaviour therapy, eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing therapy, family resource management, family therapy, imagery rescripting and reprocessing therapy, psychotherapy, rational emotive behaviour therapy, and sensorimotor psychotherapy.  



Introject: See introjection. 



Introjection: As categorised by Schafer (1968), "introjection" is one of the three subtypes of internalisation [the other two being incorporation and identification]. As a psychodynamic defense mechanism, it was identified by Anna Freud (1936/1946), but not retained by DSM-IV. Its particular function is to create "an introjected object" (sometimes referred to simply as "an introject") which possesses sufficient of the attributes of the external object that it becomes capable of reducing separation anxiety. The term comes from a historically significant paper by Sandor Ferenczi, entitled "Introjection and Transference" (Ferenczi, 1909/1950), wherein it is conceptualised as the logical converse of the process of projection. Compton (1985) records Freud's conversion to Ferenczi's way of thinking as follows .....


"Another term that might - or might not - be a reference to a different mental process [i.e., not identification - Ed.] appeared in Freud's work in the context of a highly condensed, highly abstract first discussion of early ego development. (Freud, [1915/1957, Instincts and their Vicissitudes [Standard Edition (Volume 14)]], pp134-140). This discussion was forced on Freud by his recognition of the problem that loving and hating cannot 'be fitted into our scheme of the instincts' (p133). The primitive ego (still largely an undefined term), under the influence of the pleasure principle, does the following: 'In so far as the objects which are presented to it are sources of pleasure, it takes them into itself, "introjects them" (to use Ferenczi's ... term); and, on the other hand, it expels whatever within itself becomes a source of unpleasure" (Compton, 1985, p207; bold emphasis added).


 Chessick (1996) adds .....


"For Freud (1915b, 1917), introjection was originally used in outlining the psychodynamics of mourning and melancholia. In that paper he defined it as the lost object being taken in and retained as part of psychic structure. This was one of Freud's unwitting first steps toward object relations theory that took place in his later development. Later Freud used introjection to represent the taking in of the parents' demands as if they were one's own, in the formation of the superego during the resolution of the Oedipus complex. Introjection does not simply copy the object in as identification, it is more encompassing. Freud's definition assumed a solid repression barrier and a cohesive sense of self as well as a functioning ego" (Chessick, 1996, p125)



Introspection: [Literally "looking within".] In everyday English, introspection is "the action of looking within or into one's own mind; examination or observation of one's own thoughts, feelings, or mental state" (O.E.D.). As used within psychology, it is the power (if indeed there is one) of generating acceptable scientific data by examining the contents of one's own mind. Defined in this way, if we change what is acceptable to science as data, then we automatically change our stance on the acceptability of the introspective method. Certainly, the method was perfectly acceptable in the closing decades of the 19th century. Galton's Inquiries routinely required introspective report from his research participants, and William James' Principles called it "what we have to rely on first and foremost and always". Be that as it may, the method had become totally anathema a generation later to the Behaviourists. Watson (1924) put his personal antipathy to it this way .....


"To show how unscientific is the main concept behind this great German-American school of psychology, look for a moment at William James's definition of psychology [as] "the description and explanation of states of consciousness as such". Starting with a definition which assumes what he starts out to prove, he escapes his difficulty by [asserting that] everybody must know what this 'consciousness' is. [.....] All other introspectionists are equally illogical. In other words, they do not tell us what consciousness is, but merely begin to put things into it by assumption; and then when they come to analyse consciousness, naturally they find in it just what they put into it" (p4; bold emphasis added).


Modern cognitive science is not afraid of using the technique and there is value in the data obtained providing the inherent weakness are understood [for more on which, see the Angell-Woodworth argument in the entry on imageless thought]. Metzinger points out that when subjects spontaneously introspect they "inevitably reproduce the implicit theoretical/conceptual background assumptions they have had before". If you then train them to introspect "better", you are in fact changing their interpretation. In other words, "the training process itself introduces new labels and systematic relations between these labels - basically it offers a whole new ontology". [For Metzinger's fuller position, see consciousness, Metzinger's theory of, and for his point about the "evasiveness" of volition when made the subject of introspection, see the entry for volition.]



Introspective Consciousness: See consciousness, Rosenthal's theory of.                                  



Intuition: In everyday English, "an intuition" is "the action of mentally looking at; contemplation" (O.E.D.), but the verb form "to intuit", meaning "to receive or assimilate knowledge by direct perception or comprehension", is rarely seen. In mental philosophy, "an intuition" is "the spiritual perception or immediate knowledge, ascribed to angelic and spiritual beings, with whom vision and knowledge are identical" (O.E.D.), and "to intuit", meaning simply "to be conscious of something", is seen reasonably frequently. The word root is Latin, but the underlying notion goes back to the Greeks, thus .....


"There must be some fundamental feature common to all these many arts [hunter, salesman, etc.], and our next business to 'see it clearly' (χατιδειν) - Plato's favourite word for that act of insight or intuition ([noesis]) which sees directly, without any process of discursive reasoning" (Cornford, 1935, p189).


"Intuition" is also the conventional rendering of Anschauung in the philosophical writings of Kant and Hegel. Kant viewed intuitions [Anschauungen] as a kind of presentation, and used the word very frequently. Here is one of his most indicative passages .....


"Our cognition arises from two basic sources of the mind. The first is (our ability) to receive presentations (and is our receptivity for impressions); the second is our ability to cognise an object through these presentations (and is the spontaneity) of concepts). Through receptivity an object is given to us; through spontaneity an object is thought in relation to that [] presentation" (Kant, 1781, Critique; Pluhar translation, pp105-106).


Husserl uses the term "essential intuition" to describe "the consciousness of something, of an 'object', a something towards which its glance is directed, a something 'self-given' within it" (Ideas, p49). It is the tode ti, or the "this-there". This is precisely the Platonic distinction between things and forms - the things are the Sachverhältnisse and the forms are the Wesen. Where Husserl then goes further than Plato, however, is in showing how problems at the distal end of the sensory systems go a long way towards dictating what the mind has to do at the rostral end, and that, in turn, shapes how it needs to be put together and programmed.



Invalidating Environment: See dialectical behaviour therapy.



Invitation Quality: See affordance.



Involvement: [See firstly ready-to-hand and within-the-world.] This is Heidegger's (1927) term for the rather obscure process by which our considerations of an object can never be entirely separated from the world in which it has customarily appeared, the relationship already specified in the entries for ready-to-hand and within-the-world. His point is that things have a "definite character" (p115). They are "appropriate for some purposes and inappropriate for others" (ibid.), and the real problem is one of "assignment or reference" (ibid.), as follows (a long passage, heavily abridged) .....


"An entity is discovered when it has been assigned or referred to something, and referred as that entity which it is. The character of Being which belongs to the ready-to-hand is just such an involvement. [.....] When an entity within-the-world has already been proximally freed for its Being, that Being is its 'involvement'. With any such entity as entity, there is some involvement. The fact that it has such an involvement is ontologically definitive for the Being of such an entity, and is not an ontical assertion about it. That in which it is involved is the 'towards-which' of serviceability, and the 'for-which' of usability. [.....] Ontically, 'letting something be involved' signifies that within our factical concern we let something ready-to-hand be so-and-so as it is already and in order that it be such" (Being and Time, pp115-117).



Ion: An ion is an atom with one or more electrons in surplus or deficit. Because each electron carries a unit negative charge, if there is a surplus of them the overall atomic charge is a net negative (making the ion in question an anion), and if there is a deficit of them the overall atomic charge is a net positive (making the ion in question a cation). [See now electrostatic force.]



Ionotropic: [Technical English ion = a charged atom/molecule + Greek tropos = a swivelling/turning seeking action or behaviour.] Strictly speaking, the term "ionotropic" may be applied to any structure, biological or otherwise, which attracts (i.e., turns itself towards) chemical ions, this being the literal meaning of the two root lexemes. However, in the context of the present glossary we shall concern ourselves only with the selective processing of particular target ions which takes place in the membranes (inter- or intra-) of living cells, and specifically those which bestow the property of "excitability" on the body's excitable tissues. [See now ionotropic receptor.] 



Ionotropic Receptor: [See firstly receptor site.] In the context of neurotransmission, an ionotropic receptor is a post-synaptic membrane site which specifically responsive to a particular category of neurotransmitter.



IPSP: See inhibitory post-synaptic potential.



Irony: Strictly speaking, irony is "a figure of speech in which the intended meaning is the opposite of that expressed by the words used" (O.E.D.). We therefore see irony of this sort at work in sarcasm, where words such as "that's just great" can mean precisely the opposite. In practice, however, the contrast between the actual and the intended need not be absolute, and any "gap or incongruity" (Wikipedia) will do. Fowler's "Modern English Usage" also notes that irony often involves a "double audience", one known to themselves and the speaker to be more ignorant than the other, such that the privileged party receives a covert social nuance as well as an overt message. Other types of irony are described online [show me some]. On a neuropsychological note, coping with the figurative use of language (and that includes both using it oneself and interpreting it properly when others use it) is one of the abilities lost in the condition known as "right hemisphere syndrome", a syndrome which arises following right hemisphere damage. It therefore follows that irony-processing may be reasonably safely regarded as a "right-brain" skill. [Compare litotes and synechdoche.]



Irrational Anxiety About Appearance: Anxiety about one's personal appearance can be a major element in differential diagnosis under DSM-IV, although - to be judged pathological - it must be both genuinely "irrational" and clinically significant. The disorders this behaviour is commonly associated with are the factitious disorders, malingering, major depressive disorder, somatisation disorder, conversion disorder, and body dysmorphic disorder.



Irritability (1/2): (1) [See firstly differential diagnosis, psychiatric.] Irritability in the everyday sense of the term is a clinical sign used in the differential diagnosis of-and-within the various mood disorders, personality disorders, and schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders. First, Frances, and Pincus (1995) provide a detailed decision tree (pp62-63) with major exit points for bipolar 1 disorder, bipolar 2 disorder, cyclothymic disorder, borderline personality disorder, and antisocial personality disorder. [See also euphoria.] (2) Irritability is also Albrecht von Haller's (1776) term for the ability of muscle to contract under nervous influence.



Irritable-Hostile Depression: [See firstly irritability, bipolar 2 disorder, and borderline personality disorder.] Although DSM-IV classifies hostile depression as one of the defining characteristics of borderline personality disorder, Benazzi and Akiskal (2005) report a "high prevalence of irritable-hostile depressives" in an outpatient population of 348 bipolar 2 disorder and 254 major depressive disorder patients from which borderline personality patients had been specifically excluded. The authors conclude that irritable-hostile depression is therefore "a valid entity" in its own right, and observe that it is strongly associated with a bipolar family history.



Isolation of Affect: This is one of the defense mechanisms postulated by psychoanalytic theory, and recognised by the DSM-IV as belonging to the "compromise formation" defense level. It involves the individual dealing with emotional conflict "by the separation of ideas from the feelings originally associated with them" (DSM-IV, 2000, p812), resulting (if you can take it that far) in the ability to discuss the factual details of an event without re-experiencing the associated hurt.



Isomorphism: Generally speaking, any "identity of form and of operations between two or more groups" (O.E.D.). In the context of this glossary, the Gestaltists' notion that neural fields and behavioural fields, being ultimately causally related, had (mutatis mutandis) a similarity of form.




See the Master References List