Technique in Relation to
Research on Cognition and
Emotion: Mutual Implications
Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School and The Cambridge Hospital, Cambridge, MA, USA
The interaction of cognition and affect has always been at the center of psychodynamic theory and practice. Although psychoanalysis has never developed a systematic, empirically informed portrait of cognition and affect, psychodynamic clinicians and theorists have been studying complex cognitiveaffective interactions for over a century. Their observations provide a useful counterpoint to experimental models that frequently address less emotionally significant, less complex phenomena that may not operate on the same principles as the kinds of highly charged psychological events that occur in everyday life, particularly in intimate relationships. The main contention of this chapter is that an integration of contemporary research with psychoanalytic clinical observation and theory provides a more sophisticated and comprehensive approach to cognition and emotion than either tradition can produce alone.
The chapter begins by briefly tracing psychodynamic concepts of cognitiveaffective interaction and the data that inform them. It then describes a series of propositions about cognitive-affective interaction that integrate psychodynamic clinical observation with experimental research in cognitive psychology and cog-
* Correspondence should be addressed to: Drew Westen PhD. Department of Psychiatry, The
Cambridge Hospital, 1493 Cambridge St., Cambridge, MA 02139, USA