Standard Article

Collective Unconscious

  1. Joseph Cambray

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0201

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Cambray, J. 2010. Collective Unconscious. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1.

Author Information

  1. Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


In the early days of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud and Carl Gustav Jung collaborated and explored unconscious aspects of the mind as they observed and experienced it clinically and personally. Archaeological and geological metaphors proved useful in describing the apparent layering of psyche seen in their patients and in themselves. Both men recognized what they saw as two main strata to the unconscious, correspondingly composed of ontogenetic and phylogenetic factors. Although Freud focused more attention on the ontogenetic factor in the development of psychopathology (the infantile neuroses), he did retain a view throughout his life that these phylogenetic contributions were acquired traits and were inherited; in other words, he held to a Lamarckian hypothesis, despite protest from his followers (Hoffer, 1992).


  • archetypes;
  • collective unconscious;
  • networks