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Anthony, E.J. (1955). Problems of Infancy and Childhood: Transactions of the Sixth Conference, 1952, edited by Milton J. E. Senn. (New York: Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation, 1953. Pp. 160. $2.50.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 36:405-406.

(1955). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 36:405-406

Problems of Infancy and Childhood: Transactions of the Sixth Conference, 1952, edited by Milton J. E. Senn. (New York: Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation, 1953. Pp. 160. $2.50.)

Review by:
E. J. Anthony

The multi-disciplined approach sponsored by the Foundation is expressly designed 'to promote effective communication across departmental walls'. With this laudable aim in view, a representative group of scientific workers is invited to meet around a particular topic and exchange their ideas. The proceedings are informal and the language conversational. This makes for easy reading, but at its less edited and more banal moments, the intention can be quite exasperating.

On the whole this volume is much more to the point than some of its predecessors, and good chairmanship keeps the red herring from trailing too blatantly across its pages. Escalona gives a balanced account of the phenomenology of babyhood as she feels it. Her eclectic approach contrives to bring in and interrelate a mass of developmental data. She refers to her method as 'phenomenology by inference' which attempts to scale the dimensions of infantile experience, and find a frame of reference which would make it possible to understand each child's idiosyncratic habit of perceiving the world and responding to it. The unconscious dimension is necessarily omitted.

Wolf reports on a research project at the Child Study Centre at Yale dealing with the longitudinal investigation of infants from the period of pregnancy onwards. With psycho-analytic theory as a basis, the project aims at testing the capacity to predict the course of development; for example (a successful prediction) that specific fears with toys would develop with a certain child.

Steward describes excessive crying in infants taking into account the mother-child relationship at one pole and such investigations as barium meals, nasal smears, eosinophil counts and skin reactions at the other pole. It is worth noting that a span of this size is almost a commonplace to-day. Also worth noting, as a refreshing change, is the fact that the father and his feelings are given a prominent part in the production and prevention of a syndrome occurring in the first three months of life.

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