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Compressing or making more compact. In psychoanalysis, the representation of several chains of mental associations by a single idea. This phenomenon is manifested in dreams (1), neurotic (1) or other symptoms, jokes, and other manifestations of unconscious activity, and it is characteristic of the primary process. Sigmund Freud (1856–1939) first referred to it in 1900 in his book The Interpretation of Dreams (Standard Edition, IV-V, at pp. 293–5). By 1916–17, when his Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis was published, Freud had come to the view that condensation is probably not caused directly by censorship but that it serves the interests of censorship none the less (Standard Edition, XV, at p. 191). In an article in the journal La Psychoanalyse in 1957, the French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan (1901–81) related condensation to metaphor and the defence mechanism of displacement to metonymy. See also dreamwork, overdetermination.

Subjects: Psychology — Arts and Humanities.

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