By FranCois; Magistretti, Pierre (Ed.) Ansermet
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Additional info for Biology of Freedom: Neural Plasticity, Experience and the Unconscious
On the one hand, as we have already noted, for Freud "all presentations issue fkom perceptions" (1925a, 237). But, on the other hand, the processes of mental life and inscrip tion make it "impossible to trace their original connection" (1887-1902,204). As a result of the entire series of combinations, the experience becomes inaccessible as such. Through the processes of association, fusion, deformation, modification, and fragmentation the experience is reinscribed several times. It takes a new form, for example that of a fantasy.
These mechanisms can operate on a long-term basis, hence lastingly modifying the transfer of information at a synapse. Here we have further examples demonstrating the possibility of plasticity for physiological mechanisms. Diego and Haydn 31 If a synapse is the site of information transfer between neurons, this transfer is thus not binary in nature or constant in its intensity; on the contrary, it is highly modifiable. Experimental research has revealed a regulation in three stages. The first is located at the presynaptic level, the two others at the postsynaptic level.
Each neuron contains a primary neurotransmitter and sometimes one or more (rarely more than three) so-called accessory neurotransmittem. The neurotransmitters are the molecules by means of which the neurons send their signals. They are released when the axon terminal is activated and the vesicles, merging with the presynaptic membrane by highly regulated mechanisms, pour their contents of neurotransmitters into the synaptic gap, that Diep and Haydn 23 tiny space, several millionths of a millimeter wide, separating the pre- and postsynaptic sides (fig.