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Multiple Code Theory

The multiple code theory is based on a view of humans as having multiple systems of experiencing and processing the world, and substantial but incomplete integration of these systems (Bucci, 1997). Based on work by Allan Paivio, Bucci (1985) initially developed a dual code theory, including verbal and nonverbal processing connected by a referential linking system. In contrast to Paivio, Bucci’s work emphasized the incomplete nature of the connection among systems, and the importance of emotional processing, particularly in the nonverbal system. This led her to the development of the multiple code theory, that included a distinction between symbolic and subsymbolic as well as verbal and nonverbal processing, potentially producing four domains of experience; and that emphasized emotional information processing and the development of emotion schemas as central in an individual’s representation of the world.


Bucci, W. (1997). Psychoanalysis and Cognitive Science: A multiple code theory. NY: Guilford Press.

Bucci, W. (1985). Dual Coding: A cognitive model for psychoanalytic research. Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 571-607.