Large-Scale Brain Networks and Freudian Ego

Petar Radoev Dimkov

Abstract


Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, is predominantly known for his conception of the id, ego and super-ego, representing a part of his meta-psychology of the psychic apparatus. Nowadays, with the advancements in technology and science, his meta-psychological structural model of the psyche might be either confirmed or denied by comparing the account of the psychic apparatus of the classical psychoanalysis to the newest findings in neuropsychology and cognitive neuroscience. Indeed, the founded interdisciplinary project of neuro-psychoanalysis strives to answer such questions. In this article, the current thinking on the discussions around Freudian ego and its possible brain correlates is presented. In 2010, Robin Carhart-Harris and Karl Friston introduced a neuro-psychoanalytic account of the psychic apparatus, where the ego correlated with a large-scale brain network called the default-mode network. In the end of this paper, an original theoretical hypothesis is offered, supplemented with review of the literature, namely that the central-executive network and the salience network are viewed as the true representatives of Freudian ego. The offered hypothesis criticizes Carhart-Harris and Friston’s postulating of the default-mode network as being the brain representative of Freudian ego.

Keywords


Sigmund Freud; meta-psychology; ego; cognitive neuroscience; brain imaging; large-scale brain networks

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