DOI: 10.14704/nq.2016.14.2.949

The Quantitative Unconscious: A Psychoanalytic Perturbation-Theoretic Approach to the Complexity of Neuronal Systems in the Neuroses

Richard Norman


To approach the complexity of dynamic neural informational exchange across active brain anatomy as revealed by modern quantitative technology such as MEG, PET, and fMRI, a framework which will define that data is required. Psychoanalysis provides that frame of reference, where the "astronomical" complexity of neuronal systems can be assessed and understood while performing their cognitive functions in a known metapsychological context. As physicists simplify highly complex stellar phenomenon and their effects upon planetary motion, we can use a "perturbation-theoretic framework," and enter metapsychology as an initial prediction to define the complex dynamic system. First, this idea will be placed within an historical context, and then, three primary psychical systems will be delineated through reference to current research in cognitive neuroscience, and, the Freudian picture of dynamic neurotic nosogenesis. Next, by using metapsychology in three specific perturbation-theoretic intrasystemic approaches, general experimental designs are presented, some with an unconscious stressor, which will provide the context needed to assess intrarelated informational exchange across the subsystems of the functioning brain. In time, this interdisciplinary approach may well lead to the development of assessment tools able to diagnose mental illness in moments, and reveal the type of unconscious content which is currently functioning to create illness.


metapsychology; neuronal-systems; neurosis; repression; unconscious

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The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

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