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Keywords:

  • archetypes;
  • cognitive science;
  • fantasy;
  • image schema;
  • internal working model;
  • memory;
  • transference

The value of cognitive science as a means of investigating psychodynamic theory and practice is discussed and the limitations of this approach are described. Research findings from cognitive science are drawn on to clarify the nature of memory, which is seen to be a mixture of reproduction and reconstruction and the concepts of true and false memory are explored in this light. The part played by implicit memory and internal working models in producing transference is also examined.

New ways of conceptualizing fantasy, which describes it as another facet of internal working models, and the role of transgenerational transmission of attachment patterns in creating internal working models are explored.

The nature of archetypes is considered in the light of cognitive science research and a minimalist model is proposed, in which they can be likened to image schemas, that is, primitive conceptual structures that exist in a form which can never be experienced directly or indirectly.