Freudian Slips Some would argue that all slips of the tongue are Freudian slips. Indeed Freud and his avid following of psychoanalysts would insist that all slips of the tongue reveal the presence of suppressed impulses or intentions. However, much evidence has been found to refute this psychoanalytical view; and it can be convincingly asserted that all slips of the tongue are not Freudian, and that there are other cognitive reasons to explain these verbal slips. In Dr. Freud’s own words, “a suppression of a previous intention to say something is the indispensable condition for the occurrence of slips of the tongue” ( ). He would argue that slips of the tongue were never accidents, that they always revealed some underlying unconscious or repressed need or impulse. For instance, Freud once set up the scenario of a professor of anatomy who was lecturing on the female genitalia and was heard to declare “In the case of the female genitals, in spite of many temptations (Versuchungen)— I beg your pardon, experiments (Versuche)” ( ). Freud’s theory suggests that this professor’s slip of the tongue arouse because of some suppressed impulse or intention on the part of the professor. In Freud’s mind, this verbal slip could not have been accidental or based on any explanation other than the “indispensable condition” of suppression he had proposed. Furthermore, Freud and his psychoanalysts would assert that this suppression of intent or impulse, which they made the cornerstone of all slips of the tongue, could operate at three different levels. On one level the suppression could be conscious and deliberate, on another the suppression can be identified afterward by the person who made the slip but was not intended beforehand, and at the deepest level the person absolutely denies the suppression. For Freudians, it really doesn’t matter what level the person who has made a slip of the tongue is operating at. For them “in all cas…
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