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Cathexis, Neural Coding, and Mental States 

Cathexis, Neural Coding, and Mental States
Cathexis, Neural Coding, and Mental States
Neuropsychoanalysis in Practice: Brain, Self and Objects

Georg Northoff


Chapter 5 moves on from the purely neuronal ground and describes in detail how the brain's difference-based coding enables and predisposes to the transformation of neuronal states into mental states, which I call “neuronal–mental transformation.” The concept of mental states is here understood in a phenomenological sense as referring to the subjective experience of phenomenal or mental states from the first-person perspective, as distinct from the observation of neuronal states from the third-person perspective. Here I shall specifically focus on two key features of mental states, namely their “going beyond” the information that is provided by the stimulus itself, and their intrinsic or intentional relationship to the world. Finally, differencebased coding as supposedly enabling and predisposing the constitution of mental states is discussed within the context of Freud's own account of the neural genesis of mental states in his Project for a Scientific Psychology (Freud, 1895).

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