Drive and love: Revisiting freud’s drive theory

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


In light of recent neuroscientific findings relevant to psychoanalytic theories about drive and love, Yovell addresses two interrelated and partially overlapping questions: What can the neurosciences contribute to a psychoanalytic understanding of drive? And what can they contribute to a psychoanalytic understanding of how romantic love, sexuality and attachment relate to each other? The answers that Yovell provides unfold in his presentation of Freud’s drive theory and John Bowlby’s attachment theory, which he backs with neuroscientific research findings. The author also examines how the neuroscientist Jaak Panksepp’s SEEKING emotional system relates to Freud’s concept of libido, while the systems Panksepp named PANIC/GRIEF and CARE correlate with Bowlby’s attachment system. Taking the example of adult romantic love, Yovell describes how Panksepp’s subcortical emotional systems influence our conscious experience and our actions in an intricate interplay that remains to be thoroughly examined. In the end, the author conceptualizes drive theory and attachment theory as building on one another rather than as being mutually exclusive or otherwise contradicting each other.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationA Neuro-Psychoanalytical Dialogue for Bridging Freud and the Neurosciences
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9783319176055
ISBN (Print)9783319176048
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016.


  • Attachment theory
  • CARE
  • Drive theory
  • Jaak panksepp
  • John bowlby
  • Libido
  • Love
  • Sexuality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences
  • General Psychology
  • General Arts and Humanities


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