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(1960). Meeting of the Psychoanalytic Association of New York. Psychoanal Q., 29:455-455.
(1960). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 29:455-455
Meeting of the Psychoanalytic Association of New York
February 15, 1960. THE FACE-BREAST EQUATION. Renato Almansi, M.D.
The intent of this paper is to develop Spitz's concept that from a perceptual standpoint the Isakower phenomenon and Lewin's dream screen do not represent the breast but rather the visually perceived human face. This is consistent with Spitz's observation that the infant's gaze is constantly fixed on the mother's face. The first recognition is of the gestalt of the human face—later comes the identification of the mother's face. Dr. Almansi presents material demonstrating the fusion of the face and breast. This is related to early perceptual experience and early phases of ego development; the breast may screen the earlier perceptual gestalt of the face. Three cases were presented to bear out this hypothesis. Evidence for the breast-face equation was also found in literary, philosophical, and archeological references.
The face-breast identification is based on the eyes rather than on any other facial feature. There is a strong correlation between the nipples and the eyes. Almansi feels that his clinical and other material bears out Spitz's hypothesis that in deep regression the percept of the face may re-emerge from its condensation with the breast image which acts as the screen for the face. In the breast-face condensation it is the percept of the face which is the most repressed and strongly cathected.
The genetic background of the condensation is placed at about three months. When the child is deprived of the nipples, his eyes deviate from the mother's face in the general direction of the breasts leading to a superimposition of the two percepts which then become fused. Spitz feels it is at this time that the aggressive drive comes to the fore as a consequence of the repeated frustration experienced at the breast. In all four cases the phenomena were bound to large amounts of oral aggression. All the cases were strongly scoptophilic, and the scoptophilia was linked with early visual sensitization due to feelings of oral deprivation and object loss.
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