Welcome to the original site of Journal Psyche. Established in 1992, Psyche was a free, online publication exploring the nature of consciousness and its relation to the brain. Psyche was an interdisciplinary journal addressing the problem of consciousness from the perspectives of psychology, philosophy, cognitive science, neuroscience, anthropology, artificial intelligence, and physics. Psyche was founded by Patrick Wilken and it was one of the first online academic journals published on the Internet.

Dr. Wilken was an original editor of Psyche and in 2003 he was joined by Timothy Bayne. In 2007 the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness (ASSC) assumed the ownership of Psyche and in 2008 the journal was re-launched as an official publication of ASSC. At that time, Patrick Wilken parted ways with ASSC and Gabriel Kreiman become the new editor-in-chief. He was later joined by Stephanie Ortigue as a co-editor. In 2010 ASSC made a difficult decision to abandon Psyche. During almost 20 years of its existence, Psyche published a large number of articles and reports for a diverse academic audience. It advanced scientific studies of consciousness and brought together many researchers in different fields of study. This site is a tribute to Journal Psyche.

Popular Articles on Consciousness

 

Mental Disorders and the Limbic-cortical Theory of Consciousness

Mental Disorders and the Limbic-cortical Theory of Consciousness

No theory of consciousness can exist independent of the reality of human nature; its rules must go hand in hand with the experience of living a human life, and the way it is designed must logically connect to the products of the human mind.

As that experience of life differs so incredibly widely from individual to individual, encompassing unfathomable diversity, a unified theory of consciousness that incorporates all the elements of the human sphere (including dreams, myths, imagination, art, culture, and religion) is far from easy to create. This is almost certainly why none of the current prevailing theories of consciousness (along with most theories of child development) seem to have fully integrated the full scope of human nature.

This is in part likely due to how our understanding of the brain and nervous system developed: largely from a pieced-together knowledge of mental health diseases and pathology. This angle of assessment simply does not lend itself to a healthy overall grasp of consciousness, personality, and the experience of living a human life. No discussion of modular centres, genetic unfolding, epigenetic influences, etc., will yield a deep understanding of how the brain actually produces its greatest marvel: consciousness. 

Neuroscience is certainly intriguing and at times revealing, but is often applied in a limited and dogmatic way far too rigid to be of use in developing a theory of consciousness. Then, one adds the influence of the pharmaceutical-psychiatric complex, which heavily pushes the concept that neurotransmitters and brain chemistry are the undisputed basis of consciousness and psychiatry, a profitable and therefore highly questionable construct. How scientific this system actually is has recently come under a great deal of scrutiny. A true theory of consciousness must take into account far more than simply neurotransmitters and brain chemistry; it must account for human nature, how it is manifest in the brain and body, how it is developed and organized, and how it evolved. More and more research studies find that many mental disorders listed in DSM5 could be successfully treated  by intentional deactivating of problematic limbic circuits in our brain. To understand this process we need to consider how limbic-cortical mappings develop in our brain.

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Processing Information with Nonconscious Mind

Processing Information with Nonconscious Mind

The concept of nonconscious processing is not exactly new, Sigmund Freud introduced his model of the human mind in the essay “The unconscious” published in 1915. Yet, Freud’s view was that the principal purpose of unconscious and subconscious layers is storing the information rather than information acquisition and processing. Apparently, Freud underestimated nonconscious mind. According to a large body of psychological and neuropsychological research conducted in the past two decades (composed of data collected by 100+ independent researchers all over the world), what happens in our conscious minds is just the proverbial tip of the iceberg; our conscious thinking, perceiving, and learning accounts for only a small fraction of our total mental activity, with the rest being entirely nonconscious. This idea was first presented 35 years ago in “Cognitive Psychology and Information Processing” book by Roy Lachman, Janet Lachman, and Earl Butterfield:

            “Most of what we do goes on unconsciously. It is the exception, not the rule, when thinking is conscious, but by its very nature [i.e., because we cannot experience anything else], conscious thought seems the only sort. It is not the only sort; it is the minority.” (page 207)    

Our minds, as it turns out, really do function like the computers of the body; but the role of conscious mind is much more modest than thought before. It is certainly not a central processor (or CPU) but rather a set of peripheral devices, presenting an interface that interacts with the outside world. The actual bulk of the processing occurs in the nonconscious mind, which is the real CPU of our body. Our minds are also similarly proficient at multitasking; while we are busy experiencing a portion of what is going on around us, our minds are busy absorbing much of the rest of what is present in our environment.

Our conscious minds work much more slowly than our nonconscious minds, and are overall less adept at processing information, less efficient at the task. The nonconscious mind therefore can be said to be more intelligent than the conscious mind.

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Revisiting Carl Rogers Theory of Personality

Carl Rogers Theory of Personality

A recent study collected information from surveys conducted among the members of the Association for Psychological Science and the American Psychological Association. The study identified the top 100 eminent psychologists of the 20th century. Not surprisingly, Skinner, Piaget, and Freud are the top three. What may be of interest is that Carl Rogers is ranked number 6.

Among the reasons cited is Rogers’ groundbreaking work in the development of humanistic or client centered therapy. What made it groundbreaking was his insistence that the model be subject to scientific inquiry and clinical trial. One result of his work was a psychological theory. In that work Rogers advanced a complex set of 19 propositions describing his theory. In this article we will make an effort to provide a brief overview of it.

To provide theoretical legitimacy to his clinical work, Rogers wrote 16 books and even more articles explaining how these 19 propositions worked on understanding the human personality. Among the most significant key points of Rogers’ approach is its redefining of the therapeutic relationship. Traditionally that relationship was defined by the theories of Freud and others where the therapist role was that of a leader and the patient as the follower.

Rogers argued that for the therapist/patient relationship to be effective, it must include an intentional relationship built on mutual trust and respect. In the later years of his work Rogers expanded his model to apply to other applications including a theory of personality, interpersonal relations, education, nursing, cross-cultural relations and other “helping” professions and situations.

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Is Freud’s Personality Theory Still Relevant?

is Freud still relevant?

Very few things survive the test of time by remaining unable or unwilling to change. It was 1895 when Sigmund Freud introduced his work in the area of human personality with the publishing of his book entitled “Studies on Hysteria.” Almost 120 years later, it remains one of the few works continuing to impact the entirety of mental health treatment. This raises a legitimate question: Is Freud’s Personality Theory Relevant Today?

It has undergone many iterations by several equally talented theorists. Each one adding to the Freudian paradigm. In addition, the work done by Freud in the field of experimental psychology gave approval for others to offer their findings. A goal of this article is to examine whether Freud’s personality theory and psychodynamic theory as its extension are still relevant.

We already discussed core concepts of Freud’s personality theory in the previous post, so here is just a brief summary. In a nutshell, Freud identified five stages of growth occurring from infancy through adulthood:

Oral: 0 – 1.5 years of age

Anal: 1.5 to 3 years of age

Phallic: 3 – 5 year of age

Latency: 5 – 12 years of age

Genital: 12 – adulthood

The experiences and information from those stages is sorted by three levels of the human mind:

Conscious  – associated with super ego

Unconscious   - associated with ego

Subconscious - associated with id

Imbedded in the Freudian theory is his own terminology with its dependence on human sexuality as the genesis of our behavior. As indicated in his five stages of development each stage is associated with a healthy management of the impulses, needs, and desires of each stage. Failure to do this may result in personality flaws and mental disorders.

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Jung and his Individuation Process

Jung and his Individuation Process

Words to consider as we prepare to take a closer look at Carl Jung’s unique view of the human condition as expressed in the Jung’s Individuation Process. There have been similar undertakings into the minds of Freud, Rogers, Adler and other forefathers of modern psychology. Each of these theories offer a unique perspective on the human personality.

What is presented is an overview of the thinking from what we call today the classic schools of psychology. These schools of thought or psychological theories were all developed in the first half of 20th century. Most of these theories had a shared paradigm, which is the multi-tier view of the human mind.

That paradigm includes the long-standing acceptance of a conscious/sub-conscious world at work within us. In addition to a shared paradigm, the methodology used by these psychologists includes to varying degree both scientific study and practical case experience. The results of combining their theories are additive rather than paradigm shifting.

With this as the backdrop we enter the world of the Swiss psychiatrist/psychotherapist Carl Jung. He is best known for his work in developing the field of analytical psychology. We will see that the concept of Individuation holds center stage in Jung’s analytical psychology. According to Jung, it is individuation that is the central process of human development

Individuation – A Definition

From a linguistic point of view definition of terms and meaning introduces the potential for understanding. While individuation has become the property of the world of psychology it is worth noting that Jung intended for it to be a much more than that. For him it encompasses the philosophical, mystical, and spiritual areas of the human being.

The word itself has roots going back to the 1600’s when it was used to identify a person as an individual or individuation. Here again, Jung applied another of the elements of the classic psychology paradigm; the freedom to rename and redefine within a limited scope those terms that apply to the work at hand.

In the broadest possible way, individuation can be defined as the achievement of self-actualization through a process of integrating the conscious and the unconscious. Once again, any accurate understanding of Jung should come from him.

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