Critical Approaches

As Freud writes in such a literary style, but his topic is scientific, critics have generally been concerned with his theories and content of the book rather than his style per se. The psychodynamic theory has not been free from criticism. The main problems it has faced is that of a lack of rigorous empirical support, which modern day science values much more. The 'data' comes largely from middle class citizens or the works of Lichtenberg, and Fischer etc.

With respect to these Papers on Metapsychology, there are naturally opposing views and alternative theories. The main two of which can be classed as 'biological' views and cognitive views. In the case of memories and their repression this can be seen in the form of cognitive models of memory storage, and retrieval, or biological and neuranatomical models, which try to locate the areas of the brain which are active on performing certain memory tasks.

I shall look at these three viewpoints with respect to one of the papers only, though the logic and views hold for all of them. The discovery of Rapid Eye Movement Sleep (REM) in 1953 lead to 'activation- synthesis models of sleep. Alan Hobson and Robert W. McCarley (1977) showed that most physiological and cognitive characteristics of REM sleep are associated with the same brainstem physiological control system that activates body and mind in the waking state. In other words dreams represent the brain's attempts at making sense out of these random stimulations of cells in sleep.

The cognitive view of sleep and dreams states that dreams are a form of information processing and help people to sift and sort our experiences, solve problems and think creatively - i.e. dreams are an extension of everyday life.

In terms of problems and criticisms of Freud's ideas, especially with respect to Repression of Memories and Dreams, we have the problem of false memories - how can one be sure that what is being recalled is the accurate version, rather than one distorted either as it was stored, during storage, or most likely on retrieval, through the effects of 'suggestion' from others.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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