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Stern, A. (1987). Discussion. Contemp. Psychoanal., 23:56-58.

(1987). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 23:56-58


Allison Stern, Ph.D.

FOR MANY YEARS, EMPIRICALLY ORIENTED investigators have criticized psychoanalytic writers for their naive understanding of what constitutes evidence, incoherent jargon, and the untestability of their vague developmental hypotheses. According to these critics, repetition of theory substitutes for solid evidence and quotations from past masters and authorities replaces demonstrated fact (e.g., see Eagle, 1984). On the other hand, clinicians have criticized researchers for posing sterile questions and not being willing to make inferential leaps from the observed world into the world they inhabit daily—subjective experience.

Daniel Stern's book provides a startling and unique vision integrating empirical, developmental and clinical perspectives. He treads where few researchers would be willing to go. Namely, his central aim is to describe the development of the infant's sense of self. He does so by highlighting newly available experimental findings about infants.

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