Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Open Peer Commentary

Universal repression from consciousness versus abnormal dissociation from self-consciousness

Robert G. Kunzendorf a1
a1 Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, MA 01854.

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Freud attributed uncovered incest, initially, to real abuse dissociated from self-consciousness, and later, to wishes repressed from consciousness. Dissociation is preferred on theoretical and empirical grounds. Whereas dissociation emerges from double-aspect materialism, repression implicates Cartesian dualism. Several studies suggest that abnormal individuals dissociate trauma from self-conscious source-monitoring, thereby convincing themselves that the trauma is imaginary rather than real, and re-experience the trauma as an unbidden image.