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Paul, M.I. (1989). Intonational elements as communication in psychoanalysis. Free Associations, 1P(15):67-86.

(1989). Free Associations, 1P(15):67-86

Intonational elements as communication in psychoanalysis

Michael Ian Paul

Intonational elements of communication have frequently been overlooked in psychoanalysis, although recently sound qualities are beginning to be investigated in human speech interactions because of powerful discoveries in modern infant research. William Condon, for example, clearly demonstrated that articulate speech has a direct effect in integrating the pattern of gross muscular movement in the one-day-old infant, and that the syntactic patterns of speech introduced to the infant have later shaping effects not only on his or her coordinated movements but on the pattern of vocal response organization linked to primitive object relations. Vocal communication is a necessary condition to fulfil this interactive relation, although the response is not dependent on specific language form. Mechanical sounds such as clicks do not produce the co-ordinated response which is specific to human vocal communication from the first day of life (Condon and Sander, 1974).

Brazelton's recent studies have investigated the complex stereotype of cueing interactive process between mother and infant so that it is quite clear that the connection between the two is established beyond the range of simple anatomy by a complex series of links including visual and auditory elements such as smiling, direct eye engagement and tonal qualities which involve loudness, pitch and sonority (Brazelton et al., 1973).


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