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W., H. (1948). Weeping and Laughing: Endre Petö. Int. J. Psa., XXVII, 1946, pp. 129–133.. Psychoanal Q., 17:556-557.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Weeping and Laughing: Endre Petö. Int. J. Psa., XXVII, 1946, pp. 129–133.

(1948). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 17:556-557

Weeping and Laughing: Endre Petö. Int. J. Psa., XXVII, 1946, pp. 129–133.

H. W.

Petö studied,in painstaking detail, the various muscular movements which take place during the acts of laughing and crying from earliest infancy onward. From these observations he draws the twin conclusions that in infancy crying is the expression of an effort to eject and externalize painful stimuli, while laughing is the expression of attempts at introjection of 'good', satisfying, external reality. At birth, infants, in opposition to any need for self-preservation, refuse the nipple and cry. They try to eject the painful stimulus of hunger—which must seem to come in part from the outside breast—in an effort to return to a stimulus-free intrauterine state. Gradually 'under the overwhelming stream of external stimuli the organism partially introjects them, this being its only means of self-preservation'. In the light of these conclusions Petö modifies Ferenczi's theory that 'the newborn infant cannot distinguish the subjective psychical processes, the emotions, from the sensations excited by the outside world', with the observation, 'If we recognize weeping as a projection-function we must concede great importance to it as a warding-off function even from the moment of birth, for it indicates the beginning of the reality sense and therefore the existence of positive and negative object relations immediately after birth'.

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Article Citation

W., H. (1948). Weeping and Laughing. Psychoanal. Q., 17:556-557

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