Darwin's influence on psychoanalysis Essay

2330 Words Mar 14th, 2014 10 Pages
Darwin’s Primal Influence on Psychoanalysis

Charles Darwin’s substantially influential writing examines a vast rang of topics that were brought to the attention of many leading scholars throughout history. Darwin preceded Sigmund Freud and the invention of psychoanalysis by approximately 50 years. Through the exploration of Darwinian theory and the later development of psychoanalysis, it is clear that Charles Darwin’s theories had a profound influence of the development of Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic theory. This becomes clear after analyzing such themes as sexual motivation through evolution, the Freudian ego, the connection between human and animal emotion, adaptive responses and the
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Darwin’s evolutionary theories factored greatly into the development of sexual motivation from a biological standpoint allowing Freud creates a picture of sexual evolution from a more evolved psyche in the early 20th century.
The Connection Between Human and Animal Emotion Freud and Darwin both assessed the human capacity for emotion, where this form of communication originated and the value of its expression. In doing so, they both equated the origin of emotional expression as being very similar to the primal need for communication through adaptive responses. In Darwin’s book The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, he discusses the human mind and how it related to the animal mind through evolution. His writings again are biological in nature and deal with emotion as a tool for survival. In his writing, Darwin notes, emotion “is of importance to our welfare. They serve as the first means of communication between the mother and her infant”(Darwin, 364) Darwin’s writings reveal an in depth study of the expression of emotion ranging from the actual physiological acts involved in emotion to the special expression of man. His research confirms, “man is derived from some lower animal form”(Darwin, 365). The emotions studied are wide ranging such as suffering, fear, anxiety, love, guilt and anger. For example, Darwin observes the act of weeping as an infant.

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