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Balkányi, C. (1968). Language, Verbalization and Superego; Some Thoughts on the Development of the Sense of Rules. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 49:712-718.

(1968). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 49:712-718

Language, Verbalization and Superego; Some Thoughts on the Development of the Sense of Rules

Charlotte Balkányi

Clinical experience and psychoanalytical theory concerning verbalization provided me with the frame of reference for asking such questions as: how does man come to feel the validity of rules; in what way does he adopt them; are there any discernible stages in the development of the sense of rules?

Long before he introduced the structural model of the mind, Freud (1915) attributed a central role to verbalization in mental functioning by assuming that the hypercathexes of thing-presentations with word-presentations bring about a "higher psychical organization". Waelder found in the "formal superego function" a precursor of the superego. By the term "formal superego function" Waelder designated the ability of the human mind to stand back from concrete situations and to take up an imaginary vantage-point from which the self is regarded as an object. According to Waelder (1937, 1960) the reflective attitude of the formal superego function enabled man to create symbolic language. It is, however, possible that the use of language brings about that abstract attitude which is implied in the formal superego function (Balkányi, 1964). I shall not deal here with the hierarchy of these functions, namely, the creation of language and the superego, but I shall look at their interaction, that is, at the individual's verbal and superego development on the one hand, and on the other, at the influence of the group superego on the young child through the instrumentality of language.

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