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Basch, M.F. (1988). Chapter 7 Reflections on Development: The Selfobject Experience of the Newborn. Progress in Self Psychology, 4:101-104.

(1988). Progress in Self Psychology, 4:101-104

Chapter 7 Reflections on Development: The Selfobject Experience of the Newborn Related Papers

Michael F. Basch, M.D.

Dr. Fajardo has given us a clear, interesting, and deceptively simple statement about the early state of the self. I say it is deceptively simple because, for me at least, it calls attention to the need to reexamine the meanings that we attach to our basic vocabulary—not just words like selfobject and empathy, but words like psychology and self. Therefore, in a roundabout way, I will here try to answer the question that Dr. Shane raised in the first part of her discussion, namely, Can we think of selfobject experiences as already occurring at the beginning of life? Can what accounts for the variability in the adaptation of the prematurely born infants be considered something psychological? Many would say no, and might add that any extrapolation from infant behavior, or at least from early infant behavior to later stages of development is not warranted. I disagree with that negative position because, for me, what is psychological is a phylogenetic or evolutionary question and not one of individual development. To put it another way, it is not the nature of behavior, but how it is generated and directed, that decides for me whether or not to call the outcomes of this or that brain function “psychological.”

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