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Barnett, M.C. (1989). A Prospective Constructionist View of Development. Ann. Psychoanal., 17:316-324.

(1989). Annual of Psychoanalysis, 17:316-324

A Prospective Constructionist View of Development

Marjorie C. Barnett, M.D.

Discussion

Dr. Barnett

Through the ages there have been many casual observations of infants and a myriad of hypotheses about their nature. One that struck me appears in a letter Einstein wrote to his wife in 1902. He had just received notice from her father announcing the birth of their child, and he wrote, “Is she healthy? Does she already cry properly? What kind of little eyes does she have? Will she soon be able to turn her eyes towards something? Now you can make observations. I would like once to produce a child myself. It must be so interesting. She certainly can cry already, but to laugh she'll learn much later. Therein lies a profound truth” (Bernstein, 1987p. 80).

The nature, development, classification, and theory of affect have confounded some of the best psychoanalytic mind over the last ninety years. Research by any every method can only lead to our goal of discovering something new.

The field of infant observation, through its extensive and varied investigations into the behavior and interactions of babies, has frequently provided information in regard to what goes on in the observable world and gives an increased basis for theorizing about what goes on in the unobservable world. However, I think the psychoanalytic questions raised at a panel on affects in 1980 are still relevant for us today.

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