On the alpha-function, chaotic cats, and unconscious memory

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2 Scopus citations


Wilfred Bion, the noted psychoanalyst, introduced the term "alpha-function" to refer to mental operations that transform raw sense data into elements of experience that can be stored as unconscious memory. The paper weaves a theoretical thread between supposedly orthogonal fields of inquiry (Bion's psychoanalysis, chaotic systems, biology, Peircean semiotics) to (a) suggest that the alpha-function may be interpreted in terms of a chaotic transformation known as "Arnold's Cat Map" and (b) present a novel conception of unconscious memory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-311
Number of pages7
JournalNew Ideas in Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2009


  • Alpha-function
  • Arnold's Cat Map
  • Bion
  • Chaos
  • Semiotics
  • Unconscious memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology (all)


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