La plasticité neuronale: Un nouveau paradigme entre neurosciences et psychanalyse

Translated title of the contribution: Neuronal plasticity: A new paradigm bridging neuroscience and psychoanalysis

Pierre Magistretti*, F. Ansermet

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


New neurobiological evidence for neuronal plasticity, demonstrating that experience leaves a structural and functional trace in the neuronal network, has raised questions about the organic and psychological causality of mental phenomena and calls in question our current views, suggesting that psychological events may have the potential to shape synaptic organization. Plasticity shows that the neuronal network remains open to change, to contingency: the brain must then be thought of as a highly dynamic organ constantly interacting with the environment as well as the psychological life of each person. Plasticity maintains the capacity to modify what has come before, allowing the person to respond to unpredictability, thereby constructing his or her individuality. Hence, plasticity entails moving on to a new paradigm. If neuronal networks are biologically determined, yet endowed with the capacity to be modified, and if the person participates in the emergence process, then it follows that neuroscience embodies, like psychoanalysis, the notions of both uniqueness and diversity. Thus, neuroscience and psychoanalysis come together around the question of the emergence of individuality, a process in which they both contribute to each other. What is at stake is not merely the logic of proof - validating psychoanalysis on the basis of neuroscience - but rather the realisation of the power of the paradigm shift brought about by the evidence of plasticity, through which contingent experience constantly modifies the brain of an evolving person.

Translated title of the contributionNeuronal plasticity: A new paradigm bridging neuroscience and psychoanalysis
Original languageFrench
Pages (from-to)138-143
Number of pages6
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2007


  • Amygdala
  • Emotions
  • Neuronal plasticity
  • Neurosciences
  • Psychoanalysis
  • Somatic states
  • Unconscious

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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