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Zellner, M. Olds, D. (2017). Deepening our understanding of the importance of the other in the formation of the self. Neuropsychoanalysis, 19(1):1-2.

(2017). Neuropsychoanalysis, 19(1):1-2


Deepening our understanding of the importance of the other in the formation of the self

Maggie Zellner and David Olds

Rich and groundbreaking work continues to emerge from the dialogue between psychoanalysis and the neurosciences, and we are delighted to feature some stellar examples in this issue.

The Target Article in this issue, “Mentalizing homeostasis: The social origins of interoceptive inference,” is a tour de force by Katerina Fotopoulou and Manos Tsakiris. Their comprehensive survey, of work emerging from studies on interoception, embodied cognition, and affective touch, gives a major and important introduction to the issue of the interactional development of the infant’s self in the dyad with the caregiver. The authors have gathered an impressive amount of research and theory to advance the understanding of the minimal self. Their important thesis is that prior to the beginning of the infant’s entry into the interpersonal world of language and culture, the infant establishes a minimal, “embodied” self, a precursor to the later “cognized” self. This child is born with homeostatic needs. The responses to these needs by caregivers, with their particular rhythms and textures of physical and affective contact, shape the very “fabric” of the infant’s emerging sense of self. A key feature of this timely Target Article is the way Fotopoulou and Tsakiris have integrated Karl Friston’s ideas about “predictive coding,” relating these computational features of the nervous system to internal dynamics within the self, and to relational processes between infant and caregiver.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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