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Emde, R.N. (1988). Development Terminable and Interminable—I. Innate and Motivational Factors from Infancy. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 69:23-42.

(1988). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 69:23-42

Development Terminable and Interminable—I. Innate and Motivational Factors from Infancy

Robert N. Emde


The problems of continuity and change posed by Freud's essay of fifty years ago are discussed in terms of the development of innate and

motivational factors from infancy. Part I of this paper reviews interdisciplinary research and proposes some theoretical formulations. Research points to the centrality of the infant-caregiver relationship experience and of emotional availability for establishing both continuity and the potential for later adaptive change. Basic infant motivations are proposed that consist of activity, self-regulation, social fittedness and affective monitoring. These influences are strongly biologically-prepared, are necessary for development and persist throughout life. Other motivational structures are fuelled by the basic motives and develop in the specific context of the infant-caregiver relationship. These structures include those related to the affective core of self and early moral internalization. Moreover, by the age of three years, an executive sense of 'we' develops in a symbolic affectively-supported, autonomous form in some children.

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