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1. Give a definition of neuropsychoanalysis, and explain how this emerging field

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1. Give a definition of neuropsychoanalysis, and explain how this emerging field seeks to bring classical psychoanalysis and evidence-based research together. Please refer to the work of Mark Solms and Eric Kandel, which we have explored in class, in this area. Use at least ONE concrete example, such as Mark Solms’s description of the role of oxytocin in attachment and bonding, in your answer. Additional sources are welcome, as long as they are additional to and not instead of the sources posted on mycourses.
You are required to use 2 of the sources I’ve attached and one extra academic source.
To summarize Solms lecture for you:
Dr Mark Solms Lecture: Key Points.•He argues that we get our sense of ethics from instinctual and emotional systems in the brain that we share with other mammals. “We have value-systems built into our upper brain stems and limbic systems which we share with all mammals and which are therefore 200 million years old. We can’t understand the ethics we have unless we also understand these systems.”•Solms also mentions the PAG area in the brain (PAG = Peri Acquiductal Gray). This very ancient brain system is thought to be about 525 million years old, and we humans share it with all vertebrates including fish and lizards. It receives input from many other bodily systems and helps the organism monitor how it is doing in terms of survival and reproduction. Solms argues that this forms the basis of a very simple value system: it is good to survive, and it is good to reproduce. When the PAG area of the brain is stimulated in humans, subjects feel horror and fear (dorsal area) and intense pleasure (ventral area). This shows that this brain area can generate these feelings.•Like Damasio, Solms considers consciousness as related to the ability to FEEL emotions rather than merely react to them. It is advantageous to be able to feel and monitor in real time how you are doing within the scale of values of different systems (temperature, hydration levels, hunger, heart rate and so on). Solms arguues (again like Damasio) that feelings of pleasure and distress evolved to help organisms survive and reproduce. This was a very basic value system, based on feeling states and designed to aid survival.•The searching system he mentions in the lecture drives seeking, wanting, curiosity, and exploring behaviours. It is fuelled by the neurotransmitter dopamine and is activated across various brain areas including the ventral area, the cortex and the amygdala. When the organism is in a state of need, this system is activated and it motivates the organism to go out and search for ways to satisfy its need. It alerts you to the need, and makes you engage in behaviours that will satisfy it. It also makes you feel energised, interactive and motivated and it promotes learning and exploration. From this, Solms derives another value: “It is good to go out and satisfy your need”. He sees it as the origin of the work ethic in humans. When the system is too strong, the organism takes too many risks and may become psychotic; when it is too weak, the organism becomes lethargic and depressed. Cocaine strongly activates this system, and it is involved in addiction. Solms points out that this searching system is quite different from the satiation or liking system, which is what we feel when we are satisfied and which tells us to stop searching/wanting.•The fear system or instinct raises the heart rate, directs the blood supply to the legs and raises the blood pressure of the organism. It reins in the curiosity drive and encourages the organism to fight or flee if possible, and to freeze if this is not possible. The fear instinct is partly innate (most humans fear heights and snakes; rats are born fearing the smell of cats) and partly acquired through experience (you learn to fear speeding cars, for example). Solms argues that certain ethical values flow from the fear system – we know that it is bad to scare others, because we know what it feels like to be scared.
•The rage system or aggressive instinct is built in to all mammals. It encourages us to fight, to eliminate or overcome what is making us angry. •The attachment/bonding system is also in-built and we share it with mammals and birds. It is extremely important for survival, as it encourages baby mammals and birds (who are born helpless and can’t feed themselves) to stick with who is feeding them (usually the mother, or both parents). It also drives the mother/parents to bond with and care for the babies, even at the cost of their own safety. If the baby is removed from the caregiver, the in-built system will ensure that great distress is felt by both baby and caregiver/s. The baby develops separation anxiety and emits panicked cries and wails at first (these are designed to help the parent locate it). If no parent comes, different chemicals are released in the baby that make it stop crying and wailing and makes it just lie quietly. This actually helps the baby survive, because it stays put and does not draw attention to itself and this helps it not be eaten by predators. Again, Solms sees the stirrings of an ethical system here: do not separate a baby/young animal from its mother as this causes pain and distress to both. Solms sees this attachment/bonding/ distress system as applicable to a whole range of human relationships such as mother-child, lovers, friends and even relationships to food, drink, drugs and so on. •The nurturing system is more powerful in females than males and prepares the organism to nurture and care for its young. Oxytocin and Estrogen are the key hormones here. •The play system is a built-in drive in mammals. Mammals need to play, because play helps them practice social relationships and the dominance and power struggles that go along with them. Most play episodes end in tears, and when one person/animal dominates for more than 60% of the time, play stops being play and becomes more akin to bullying. There is real aggression, real fear, real abuse in such cases. Play = a pro-social activity that helps young organisms learn what they can and can’t get away with in a group setting. It establishes hierarchy and a sense or place in the pecking order. •Solms argues that in humans, the pre-frontal cortex (that evolved last) and especially the use of language helps us regulate these impulses and feelings and allows is to think our way through or around them. This, he says, is useful but comes at a price: by blocking or suppressing these instinctual drives through the sublimation of thought and language, we are less aware of our own motives and drives.

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