By FranCois; Magistretti, Pierre (Ed.) Ansermet
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Extra info for Biology of Freedom: Neural Plasticity, Experience and the Unconscious
This crucial stage cannot be skipped. Psychoanalysis and the neurosciences should instruct one another reciprocally, starting out from the stumbling blocks in their specific domains and daring to explore what resists their progress. For psychoanalysis, this would be to go in the direction opened out by Lacan (1964) when he asked what a science would be like that included psychoanalysis. For the neurosciences, this would be to find in psychoanalysis the necessary fulcrums for orienting themselves to the emergence of the unique within the general biological mechanisms it reveals.
As we shall see, the term trace has not been usurped, even in the biological sense, for these are m e lecular and cellular traces left on the level of the subtlest mechanisms of neuronal functioning. These mechanisms of neuronal plasticity have been most closely studied in the context of the processes of learning and memory, but it is legitimate to suppose that they may be extended to all of an individual's experiences, especially to what contemporary neuroscientists call emotional memory (LeDoux 1996).
1) Each neuron receives around ten thousand synapses from other neurons, which gives a million billion points of contact to which information can be transmitted among neurons. These are dizzying numbers, even more so because the efficiencywith which information is transmitted from one neuron to another, at each of these contact points (the synapses), varies in the course of life depending on experience. We are very far indeed from the notion of rigid, binary wiring. 1 Structure of the neuron of molecules, the neurotransmitters, are collected.