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(1970). The Roots of Individuality: Normal Patterns of Development in Infancy: By Sibylle K. Escalona. London: Tavistock Publications. 1969. Pp. 547.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 51:557.

(1970). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 51:557

The Roots of Individuality: Normal Patterns of Development in Infancy: By Sibylle K. Escalona. London: Tavistock Publications. 1969. Pp. 547.

Dr Escalona's researches into the developmental processes of the neonate started in 1940 and ended in mid-1960. Up till now only some of this work has been reported in specialized publications. This book gives the first exhaustive account of this research: its technique, data and hypotheses. The infants observed range from the age of 4 to 32 weeks, and the material is presented with great care. Dr Escalona's methodology combines the psychophysiological approach and the psychoanalytic hypotheses in a most creative and constructive manner. In many respects this is the first study of its kind that makes observational data and inferential hypotheses available to the psychoanalytic theoretician and clinician that are of the utmost importance for his reconstructions and interpretative work with his patients. The current analytic bias for the early mother–infant relationship on the one hand, and the role of fantasy and early object-relations on the other, has for some time been in urgent need of exact observational data of developmental processes and capacities in the neonate to check and correct its hypotheses with. Dr Escalona's researches and observations go a long way towards remedying this lack. What the project focused on was the behaviour of active and inactive infants, and the data are classified in terms of: (a) activity level, (b) perceptual sensitivity, (c) motility, (d) bodily self-stimulation, (e) spontaneous activity, (f) somatic need states and need gratifications, (g) object-related behaviour, (h) social behaviour. Dr Escalona's researches and hypotheses will, one hopes, compel analysts to re-think and critically examine some of their hypotheses about early developmental processes and their fatefulness for the adult personality formation. It should also help to mitigate the vagueness and dogmatism of some analytic generalizations in this area of theory-making.

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