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The study of the underlying conceptual questions or principles of psychology. The term was first used in psychoanalysis by Sigmund Freud (1856–1939) to denote his own theory of psychology, especially its more abstract conceptual assumptions, in a letter to his friend, the German physician Wilhelm Fliess (1858–1928) in 1898 (Standard Edition, I, p. 274), and later given the following definition in his article on ‘The Unconscious’ (1915): ‘I propose that when we have succeeded in describing a psychical process in its dynamic, topographical and economic aspects, we should speak of it as a metapsychological presentation’ (Standard Edition, XIV, pp. 166–215, at p. 181). See also dynamic, economic, topography. [From Greek meta among, beside, after + English psychology]

Subjects: Psychology.

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