object instinct

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In psychoanalysis, a type of instinct that is concerned with relations to an external object, distinguished by Sigmund Freud (1856–1939) in his early (1910–15) classification from an ego instinct, which is a self-preservation instinct. Freud introduced the concept (though not yet the term) in 1910 in an article on ‘The Psycho-Analytic View of Psychogenic Disturbance of Vision’ (Standard Edition, XI, pp. 211–18, at pp. 214–15). After 1920, he recognized two varieties of object instincts, namely libidinal instincts, driven by Eros (the life instincts), and destructive instincts, driven by Thanatos (the death instinct).

Subjects: Psychology.

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