Unconscious emotional memories and the right hemisphere

Guido Gainotti

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The problem of the possible relationships between hemispheric asymmetries and aspects of the psychoanalytic model of mind has been repeatedly raised during the past century. In a rather arbitrary manner, we could even say that this problem has passed through three distinct stages. In the first stage (roughly covering the first part of the twentieth century), psychoanalytically oriented authors, although acknowledging that some clinical phenomena could suggest a special link between aspects of psychoanalytical theory and the right hemisphere, substantially rejected the specificity of these relationships. In the second period, influenced by the influential work on split-brain patients of Sperry and co-workers [1], the interest that the right hemisphere could have for psychoanalysis has been explicitly acknowledged, but this has been made focusing attention more on cognitive than on emotional features and mapping onto the right and left hemispheres, in a rather global manner, two main constructs of the psychoanalytical theory, namely those of primary and secondary process [2, 3]. Finally, in the most recent period, Kandell's paper [4], stressing the need for an intimate relationship between psychoanalysis and cognitive neuroscience, has suggested a new way of investigating the links between hemispheric asymmetries and the psychoanalytic model of mind.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPsychoanalysis and Neuroscience
PublisherSpringer Milan
Number of pages23
ISBN (Print)8847003342, 9788847003347
Publication statusPublished - 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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