Pleasure and the Id Inhibition and the

Findings from many different neuroscientific programs of research have established that the pleasure-seeking drives have then neurological origins hi two bram structures, namely the brain stem and the lhnbic system (Solms, 2004; Solms & Turnbull, 2002). Moreover, the neurotransmitter dopamine is most centrally involved in most pleasure-seeking behaviors. In Freud's language, these are the drives and instincts of the id.

In 1923, when Freud modified his view of how the mind works and proposed the structural view of id, ego, and superego, the ego became a structure that was mostly unconscious, but whose main function was to inhibit drives. If the part of the bram that functions to inhibit hnpulses and drives is damaged, we should see an increase in the id-based pleasure-seeking hnpulses. That is precisely what happens when the frontal-limbic system is damaged. Many case studies and more systematic brain-imaging research have demonstrated the connection between the frontal-limbic system and impulse regulation (Chow & Cummings, 1999; Pincus (2001); Raine, Buchsbaum, & LaCasse, 1997). The first reported and best-known case of this was the 19th-century raihoad worker Phhieas Gage. While workhig on the railroad, an explosion caused a metal rod to shoot upward and through the bottom of his jaw

Chapter 2 Freud: Psychoanalysis 55

up and out the top of his forehead, damaging his frontal lobes. Amazingly, perhaps because the speed of the rod cauterized brain tissue, Gage never lost consciousness and survived. Physically (except for loss of bram tissue) he was relatively fine, but his personality changed. By all accounts, this rather mild-mannered, responsible, and reliable worker became, in the words of his doctor, "fitful, irreverent, indulging at thnes in the grossest profanity (which was not previously his custom), manifesting but little deference for his fellows, impatient of restraint or advice when it conflicts with his desires, at times pertinaciously obstinate, yet capricious and vacillating" (as cited in Sohns and Turnbull, 2002, p. 3). In other words, he became hostile, impulsive, and not at all concerned with social norms and appropriateness, hi Freudian lingo, his ego no longer could inhibit basic drives and instincts and he became very id-driven.

Accordmg to Sohns, the underlying theme hi the frontal lobe-injured patients is their inability to stay "reality-bound" (ego) and their propensity to interpret events much more through "wishes" (id); that is, they create the reality they wanted or wished for. All of this, according to Sohns, provides support for Freud's ideas concerning the pleasure principle of the id and the reality principle of the ego.

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Do Not Panic

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