Jeanne Lampl-DeGroot takes such dissenters as Horney and Fromm to task for denying the influence of infantile sexual drives on the formation of ego and superego. In a further discussion of the development of these entities she postulates an 'inborn core', present at birth, from which the ego originates. Intelligence is the instrument through which the ego operates. 'In a series of experiments, Piaget1 observes how the intelligence grows out of the "réflexe héréditaire" which is already present at birth, as the sucking reflex…' This growth is in three stages: 'empirical' intelligence is present at one year, 'systematic' intelligence (assimilation and accommodation) at one and a half to two years, 'constructive' intelligence (judgment and reason) by the third or fourth year.
After discussing the growth of the five functions of the ego—1, perception; 2, the building up of memory out of traces of perception; 3, reality testing; 4, mastering of motility; and 5, synthetic function—Jeanne Lampl-DeGroot describes the forces enabling the ego to develop its intelligence. She points out the fact that while the outer world is mastered through sublimated aggression and desexualized libido, a narcissistic ego cathexis is essential as a counterbalancing force to produce an essential feeling of self-esteem. The
1 Piaget, J.: Le Naissance de l' Intelligence chez l' Enfant.
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choice of the defenses used by the ego against id, superego and the demands of the outer world, the author holds, are also in part determined 'by an inborn factor, a tendency of the ego core'. In the etiology of interferences in the development of the ego functions and defense mechanisms there is invariably found a childhood narcissistic injury. A normal narcissism results in a healthy free ego functioning.
Jeanne Lampl-DeGroot closes with a discussion of the contents of the superego and its relation to social influences and strivings.
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(1949). International Journal of Psychoanalysis. XXVIII, 1947. Psychoanal. Q., 18:257-258