Author's personal copy
Network properties of a model for conscious and unconsciousmental processes
Roseli S. Wedemann
, Luı´s Alfredo Vidal de Carvalho
, Raul Donangelo
Instituto de Matema´tica e Estatı´stica, Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, R. Sa˜o Francisco Xavier, 524, 20550-013 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Programa de Eng. Sistemas e Computac
a˜o - COPPE, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Caixa Postal 68511, 21945-970 Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil
Instituto de Fı´sica, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Caixa Postal 68528, 21941-972 Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil
a r t i c l e i n f o
Available online 15 July 2008
Consciousness and unconsciousnessNeurosesHierarchical memorySelf-organized learningComplex neural network properties
a b s t r a c t
We have previously described the mental pathology known as neurosis, in terms of its relation tomemory function. We proposed neural network mechanisms, whereby neurotic behavior is described asa brain associative memory process, and the symbolic associativity involved in psychoanalytic
can be mapped onto a corresponding network reconﬁguration process. Microscopicmechanisms that control synaptic properties self-organize the memory networks to a hierarchical,clustered structure. Modules corresponding to sensorial and symbolic memories interact, representingunconscious and conscious mental processes. Here, we review these concepts and illustrate, withsimulations, some of these complex networks’ behaviors and properties.
2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Although inconclusive, psychodynamic theories[7,9,10,17]seem to suggest correlations between creativity, associativity,psychopathology and the unconscious. We explored these com-monalities and proposed, in a previous paper, a schematicmodel for some concepts related with neurotic mental processes,as described by Freud[7,9,10]. Our description is based on thecurrent view that the brain is a cognitive system composed of neurons, interconnected by a network of synapses, that cooperateamong themselves to process information in a distributed fashion.Mental states are thus the result of the global cooperation of thebrain’s distributed neural activity[5,13,14]. The emergence of aglobal state of the brain’s neural network generates a bodilyresponse, which we call an
.Psychoanalytic research regarding the
hasfound that traumatic and repressed memories are knowledgewhich is present in the subject, but which is symbolicallyinaccessible to him. It is therefore considered
knowl-edge[7,9]. Freud observed that neurotic patients systematicallyrepeated symptoms in the form of ideas and impulses, and calledthis tendency a
compulsion to repeat
. He related thecompulsion to repeat to repressed or traumatic memory traces,caused by a mental conﬂict. Neurotic analysands have beenable to obtain relief and cure of painful symptoms through amechanism called
. This procedure aims atdeveloping knowledge regarding the causes of symptoms byaccessing unconscious memories, and understanding and chan-ging the analysand’s compulsion to repeat. The techniqueinvolves mainly free associative talking during analytic sessionsand interpretation of dreams, among other processes.In, memory was modeled by a Boltzmann machine (BM)represented by a complete graph. It is known, however, that brainneuronal topology is selectively structured. Neurons interactmainly with spatially close neighbors, having fewer long-rangesynaptic connections to more distant neighbors[5,12,14]. Wefurther developed the memory model by including some knownmicroscopic mechanisms that control synaptic properties, so thatthe network self-organizes to a hierarchical, clustered structure.We propose an organization, where two hierarchically structuredmodules corresponding to sensorial and symbolic memoriesinteract, producing sensorial and symbolic activity, representingunconscious and conscious mental processes. In proposing thisorganization, we followed Freud’s idea that unconscious mem-ories are those which we cannot access symbolically, i.e. cannottalk about[7–10]. In this paper, we represent brain mechanismsinvolved in neurosis as a complex system, and analyze themaccording to recent methods developed for the study of complexnetworks.A review of recent developments in the scientiﬁc under-standing of consciousness, as well as a model for attention as abasic function related to conscious activity may be found in.Kinsbournediscusses how Freud’s attempt at proposing aneural substrate for mental processescan be viewed in light of modern developments in neuroscience, such as the understanding
ARTICLE IN PRESS
Contents lists available atScienceDirectjournal homepage:www.elsevier.com/locate/neucom
0925-2312/$-see front matter
2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.doi:10.1016/j.neucom.2008.02.023
This research was developed with grants from the Brazilian National ResearchCouncil (CNPq), the Rio de Janeiro State Research Foundation (FAPERJ) and theBrazilian agency which funds graduate studies (CAPES).
Corresponding author. Tel.: +552122382180; fax: +552125877212.
email@example.com (R.S. Wedemann),LuisAlfredo@ufrj.br(L.A.V. de Carvalho),firstname.lastname@example.org (R. Donangelo).
Neurocomputing 71 (2008) 3367–3371