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Dorval, B. (2003). A Reflexive Conception of Internalization. Psychoanal. Contemp. Thought, 26(1):89-141.

(2003). Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Thought, 26(1):89-141

A Reflexive Conception of Internalization

Bruce Dorval, Ph.D.

The results of this study justify Piaget's and Vygotsky's belief that egocentric speech is a crucially important socialization phenomenon because it displays the mechanisms of language socialization in progress. As such it provides unique opportunities to advance our understanding of the internalization of language in ontogenesis. Consistent with this line of reasoning, the present study found egocentric speech to be the product of an even more complex set of internalization processes than either Piaget or Vygotsky envisioned. Adding a psychoanalytic perspective to the Piagetian and Vygotskian perspectives brought out the transference substructure of an instance of egocentric speech. This substructure was found to be complex when examined from the perspective of a Piaget-inspired genetic epistemology. A Vygotsky-inspired application of cultural-historical theory revealed a parallelism between that transference substructure and the researcher's countertransference reaction to

the instance of egocentric speech. The result is a description of egocentric speech as an internalization phenomenon that is reflexive in two senses: (1) investigation spontaneously turned back upon the motivational and relational substructure of this linguistic phenomenon; (2) it turned back as well upon the researcher's countertransference reaction to that linguistic phenomenon. Thus, an investigation that, was originally objectively focused spontaneously turned back upon the subjective experience of both the subject and the researcher. This is one way of creating a psychoanalytically informed general psychology, a way that is in the tradition of Kantian and Hegelian philosophy of science.

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