Stefano Carta

Perceptions, (E)motions, Cognition Paradigmatic Anomalies, Images and the Development of the Personality,

The talk will focus on the description of the role of affects for the development of subjectivity and of the personality, differentiating it from purely cognitive development, also regarding the critical issue of complex image-formation.

It will briefly focus on two of four problems that Jung tried to tackle in his theory. They are:


Do psychological universals, almost-universals, or conditional universals that are not transmitted by cultural diffusion exist, and if so, at which level of complexity?

  1. How do we define “learning”? Does it have more than one psychological sense? How learning transforms and modifies those universals?


  1. Why there are “synchronistic” phenomena?
  2. Why does mathematics seem to work so well when also applied to non-directly experienced empirical reality?

From that assumption that these problems exist, I will try to show that they should be considered like paradigmatic anomalies (T. Kuhn) for all the known psychogenetic models. For reasons of epistemological parsimony, in this lecture I will focus on the two problems belonging to Category A).

Therefore, moving from them, I will try to:

  1. Frame the whole discussion within a systemic theory and a co-evolutionary, ecological frame;
  2. Reassert the role of affects in relationship to cognition and redefine the perceptual/cognitive model today widely accepted in the Jungian community.
  3. Frame the very relevant issue of fetal and early learning within the whole lifespan of the individual, and:
  4. Disentangle the “archetypal” nature of some images from a purely traumatic theory to a theory of general psychology.
  5. Finally, to show how some of the revisions of Jung’s theory radically (and legitimately) change the hard core conceptual basis of Analytical psychology – something that should be acknowledged.


Stefano Carta is a Psychologist and a Jungian analyst graduated at the C.G. Jung Institute in Zurich, Switzerland, and Professor of Dynamic and Clinical Psychology, and of Ethno-psychology at the University of Cagliari, Italy. He specializes in psycho-somatic medicine, Gestalt, Bioenergetic psychotherapy, systemic family therapy, and Analytical Psychology. He is the liason for the International Association of Analytical Psychology in Slovenia. He is Honorary Professor at the Department of Psychoanalytic Studies of the University of Essex, UK., fellow of the Center for Trauma and Asylum and Refugees, University of Essex, UK, member of the International Association of Analytical Psychology, and of the Associazione Italiana di Psicologia Analitica (AIPA), of which he has been the President for the 2002-2006 term. He has been the representative for Italy at the United Nations’ International Union of Psychological Sciences and consultant for Unesco, for which has edited a three-volumes entry- Psychology – for the Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems. As a consultant, he worked in the field of ethno-psychology in the refugee camp of Daadab, Kenya, and in Rwanda. He supervises and carries out counseling activities and psychotherapy to migrants in Italy and supervises several centers that belong to the national “Sistema di protezione per richiedenti asilo e rifugiati” He is he editor-in chief of the oldest Jungian Journal in Italy: the Rivista di Psicologia Analitica, and has been Deputy Editor for Europe of the Journal of Analytical Psychology for six years (2013-19). He has been guest lecturer in Germany, Switzerland, United Kingdom, USA, Japan, Serbia, Slovenia, Greece and Denmark, and has published over 100 articles and books. In 2019, he has been visiting professor at Kyoto University, Japan. He has co-organized the Conferences on Analysis and Activism, held in Rome, Prague and San Francisco, USA.

Recent publications

  • Carta, S. (2017). Writing stories in time. The unfolding of the objective biography in life and work. New York: The Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism, .
  • Alcaro, A., Carta, S., Panksepp J. (2017). The affective core of the self: a neuro-archetypical perspective on the foundations of human (and animal) subjectivity. Fronteers of Psychology, 2017; 8: 1424.


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