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In-depth analysis of Winnicott’s psychoanalytic theorization was conducted by Jan Abrams in her work The Language of Winnicott. You can access it directly by clicking here.

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Lehtonen, J. Partanen, J. Purhonen, M. Valkonen-Korhonen, M. Kononen, M. Saarikoski, S. Launiala, K. (2006). Nascent Body Ego: Metapsychological and Neurophysiological Aspects. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 87(5):1335-1353.

(2006). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 87(5):1335-1353


Nascent Body Ego: Metapsychological and Neurophysiological Aspects

Johannes Lehtonen , Juhani Partanen, Maija Purhonen , Minna Valkonen-Korhonen , Mervi Kononen, Seppo Saarikoski and Kari Launiala

For Freud, body ego was the organizing basis of the structural theory. He defined it as a psychic projection of the body surface. Isakower's and Lewin's classical findings suggest that the body surface experiences of nursing provide the infant with sensory-affective stimulation that initiates a projection of sensory processes towards the psychic realm. During nursing, somato-sensory, gustatory and olfactory modalities merge with a primitive somatic affect of satiation, whereas auditory modality is involved more indirectly and visual contact more gradually. Repeated regularly, such nascent experiences are likely to play a part in the organization of the primitive protosymbolic mental experience. In support of this hypothesis, the authors review findings from a neurophysiological study of infants before, during and after nursing. Nursing is associated with a significant amplitude change in the newborn electroencephalogram (EEG), which wanes before the age of 3 months, and is transformed at the age of 6 months into rhythmic 3-5 Hz hedonic θ-activity. Sucking requires active physiological work, which is shown in a regular rise in heart rate. The hypothesis of a sensory-affective organization of the nascent body ego, enhanced by nursing and active sucking, seems concordant with neurophysiological phenomena related to nursing.

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