Yes, you understood me correctly.
I guess that when it comes to the natural world (I include minds as part of the natural world though might possibly make an exception for phenomenal properties that psychologists don't need to worry about) I'm fairly much a realist. That means that my view of science is that it is approximating reality more and more over time. What justification do I have for that claim? Technological progress (where technology, medicine etc crucially depend on scientific progress).
But rather than different research groups finding a piece of the jigsaw that can be nicely slotted in with the work of other research groups it is often unclear how findings (and theoretical entities, processes, laws and the like) relate to each other. Physicists (and chemists, and biologists etc) also tend to work at more than one level. There are physicists working on the behaviour of middle sized salient objects and there are physicists working on the behaviour of sub-atomic particles. A lot of scientific models have more than one level built into their model.
I guess the first question is: Is the phenomena shared between psychodynamic theory and cognitive theory? If they don't share subject matter in common then they would be incomparable. The second question is: Are they at the same level? If they aren't then they wouldn't seem to conflict.
I don't expect that they will fit neatly together anymore than one can expect the research of one group to fit neatly together with the research of another group (unless, of course, they converge on their theoretical assumptions and the entities and processes they posit etc).
I think that things need to be assessed on a case by case basis. The investigation could proceed as follows:
- What is the function of a certain psychodynamic entity (e.g., the dynamic unconscious). This gives us a descriptive list of causal properties where one of the aims should be to 'locate' that entity within the individual IF these purported entities are supposed to describe actual causal structures within individuals.
- What is the reason for positing the psychodynamic entity (e.g., the clinical data that led the theorists to posit the functional entity. We could discover that the jump from the clinical data to the functional entity is unwarranted and we can decompose the relevant functions into different mechanistic structures).
We would need to assess things on a case by case (or structure by structure) basis.
> I get annoyed by the current trend amongst some psychodynamic/psychoanalytic researchers who are tyring to fit psychoanalytic structures/processes into a cognitive model of research. Traditionally, psychoanalytic research has relied on case study and qualitative methods to prove structures and processes because that's what fits the data. Like I wouldn't measure a an atom in inches, I wouldn't measure projective identification with a self-report inventory.
Self report inventory isn't used much in cognitive psychology because people tend to confabulate and so forth. I'm thinking it might be a little unfair to have focused on the scientific issue of the nature of the mind / brain since psychodynamic theory was developed in a clinical context for the treatment of patients. The trouble I'm having is that I think they are seperable enterprises and if the description of causal mechanisms within the individual is inaccurate / false then it is pointless to appeal to them as mechanisms of change in anything other than a metaphoric way.
Thanks for the link. Yes, I would like to see the evidence for the dynamic unconscious.
I read the Schore book fairly swiftly and I'd like to read it a little more thoroughly one day though I really don't have the time at present. One thought was 'if he says "critical period" one more time I am going to SCREAM'. When he was talking about infant development (and trying to motivate early intervention, I suppose) he kept talking about 'critical period' in a way that seemed comperable to how Lorenz found there was a 'critical period' in imprinting such that if goslings didn't see a motherly figure within a certain period of time they NEVER would imprint. Then later (when he was trying to motivate therapy for people later in life) he said that these early experiences could be overcome due to neural plasticity. He did say something about how there are 'two notions of critical period' but I really do think that he should have picked one (Lorenz' notion which is familiar to people already) and been consistent.
But that is a fairly small gripe really... I found the start to be hard going. An assertion and then five references. Another assertion and then five references. Hard to assess whether to believe the assertion without assessing those five references and he wasn't offering any reasons to believe (aside from an appeal to five references). But things picked up considerably when he started to say what he thought. I guess he was setting the stage for the experts initially?
Some of the neurobiology was a bit over my head. But it was good for me to get some more exposure. I've read Le Doux and Damasio (their stuff on emotions) so it was interesting to me to read more about the role of the orbitofrontal cortex. I've also read some stuff on the 'dual inheritance' model of emotions. The notion is that parents and the like culturally scaffold their kids emotional (and moral) development by structuring their environment so they are exposed to various things. Reading them fairytales and modelling appropriate emotions and so forth. Schore's stuff fits in nicely with that and I was really very interested to read what he had to say about the (m)other acting as an external regulator for arousal and how those external functions come to be mirrored (or represented) in the neurology.
With respect to the psychodynamic stuff... I found that much harder. I should probably be upfront about something... I personally like psychodynamic views on therapy much more than CBT views on therapy. When it comes to investigating the nature of the mind / brain (to make sure we aren't just talking in metaphors) I really struggle, however. There are a number of analytic philosophers working in cognitive neuroscience (basically looking at how cognitive and neurological entities, processes etc) relate. Philosophers were fairly influential with respect to developing the assumptions and methodology that guides current cognitive psychological research (NOTE: NOT CBT research on therapy or assessment of mental illness).
There is next to nothing within the ANALYTIC philosophy tradition on psychodynamic theory. Most of the stuff that has been written is hostile to its status as a science (telling us about the causal structure of the mind). It is studied a lot within CONTINENTAL philosophy, but that is mostly regarding it to be literary much like existentialism and so forth.
I don't think I'm hostile. But I do think I'm critical. Of BOTH cognitive psychology and psychodynamic theory, however.
I found Schore really interesting because I'm used to reading neurology that weaves between the cognitive and neurological levels. For example: http://www.amazon.com/Cognitive-Neuropsychology-Schizophrenia-Essays-Psychology/dp/0863773346
I've never seen anyone weave between the psychodynamic and neurological levels before.
But it got me thinking... Whether Schore could have told a cognitive story instead of a psychodynamic one. Whether Frith could have told a psychodynamic story instead of a cognitive one. And more in particular it got me thinking on the relationship between cognitive psychological and psychodynamic theory with respect to the posited mental structures / processes...