<b>Identification</b>: The concept and the phenomenon<sup>1</sup>

David D. Olds

in From the Couch to the Lab

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199600526
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191754753 | DOI:
Identification: The concept and the phenomenon1

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Identification is a term known and intensely explored in psychoanalytic theory and practice. The present paper tries to accomplish another related task, namely to take a psychoanalytic concept and see how it relates to other sciences. Identification has a long history in psychoanalytic theory. We see it in parent–child interactions, in teaching and mentoring relationships, and in psychoanalysis and therapy. We may find information about this phenomenon by looking into other sciences. In neuropsychology and evolutionary biology, we may gain some information about the phylogenetic precursors of identification. In infant research we may gain insight into individual identification processes. And in neuroscience, particularly the recent studies of mirror neurons, we may learn something about the biological mechanisms of imitation and the relationship of imitation to identification. This chapter will present findings from these other sciences, hoping to add to our understanding of the phenomenon, and to see how the biological aspects inform us about this major concept in psychoanalytic theory.

Chapter.  9833 words. 

Subjects: Psychiatry

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