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Grotjahn, M. (1959). Group Processes. Transactions of the Fourth Conference October 13, 14, 15 and 16, 1957: Edited by Bertram Schaffner, M.D. New York: Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation, 1959. 266 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 28:415-416.

(1959). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 28:415-416

Group Processes. Transactions of the Fourth Conference October 13, 14, 15 and 16, 1957: Edited by Bertram Schaffner, M.D. New York: Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation, 1959. 266 pp.

Review by:
Martin Grotjahn

An analyst will not be quite the same after reading this book. He will have followed Konrad Lorenz through the life history of a flock of wild geese, each goose complete with name and family gossip. He will have learned from Arthur Mirsky that ducks and chickens cannot be made diabetic, but geese can.

Robert Lifton studied schizophrenics in Japan. George Bateson tried to decide 'who decides in a relationship what sort of relationship this is going to be?'. It seems that this may best be studied by watching otters at play. Sol Kramer and Konrad Lorenz compared notes about homosexuality among cockroaches with that of free-living ganders. Howard Liddell and Lorenz compared their dreams about animals which gave a peculiarly colored insight into transference and countertransference phenomena. Margaret Mead relates astonishing facts about the training of English pleasure horses, which are applied with phenomenal success to teaching mathematics to children. All these discussions are truly upsetting for the analyst since the observations relate to utterly different ways of seeing, hearing, and interpreting from any he has ever known.

In his most important paper, The Role of Aggression in Group Formation, Konrad Lorenz reports about his geese, their triumph ceremony, their families, their sexuality, their perversions, their predictable incestuous behavior in relation to different degrees of domestication, their otherwise lifelong monogamy, and, most bewildering, the meaning of deritualization and imprinting. The discussion in which Erik Erikson participated, often struggling to keep abreast of birds, fish, and mammals, nevertheless brings out the startling fact that you can remove the forebrain of a fish and it will still eat, remain a quite normal fish except that it ceases to react to the swarm, and it ceases to have a schooling response.

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