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Faergeman, P.M. (1956). Meetings of the New York Psychoanalytic Society. Psychoanal Q., 25:462-465.

(1956). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 25:462-465

Meetings of the New York Psychoanalytic Society

Poul M. Faergeman


The author discusses the emergence and establishment of the perceptual system, the relationship between his propositions concerning this problem, the formulations of Isakower regarding predormescent phenomena, and those of Lewin regarding the dream screen and the blank dream. At birth the infant responds primarily to sensations originating within his body and is protected against outside perceptions by a high stimulus barrier. Contact perception precedes distance (e.g. visual) perception. The first organ to perceive anything is the oral cavity; this happens when the nipple is introduced into the mouth and the jet of milk relieves the unpleasure of thirst. The senses involved in this first oral perception are the sense of taste, of temperature, of smell, of pain, and the deep sensibility in the act of deglutition. The oral cavity is a perceptual zone which includes within itself the characteristics of both internal and external perception; thus it fulfils the function of a bridge between the two. All perception is initiated by affects, the sources of which are the physiological needs. The needs produce the tension that is experienced as unpleasure. The gratification of need leads to the reduction of tension and quiescence. This dynamic process activates the first intraoral perceptions which take place on the dividing line between intrapsychic perception and the environment. The fact that the first perceptions are intraoral has important consequences. The task of distinguishing between inside and outside has its inception here. This faculty will later lead to the separation of the self from the nonself and to the separation of the self from objects; finally, it will lead to the distinction between what is accepted and what is rejected.

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