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Lake, D.A. (1987). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child. XXXVIII, 1983: The "Stimulus Barrier": A Review and Reconsideration. Aaron H. Esman. Pp. 193-207.. Psychoanal Q., 56:411.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Psychoanalytic Study of the Child. XXXVIII, 1983: The "Stimulus Barrier": A Review and Reconsideration. Aaron H. Esman. Pp. 193-207.

(1987). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 56:411

Psychoanalytic Study of the Child. XXXVIII, 1983: The "Stimulus Barrier": A Review and Reconsideration. Aaron H. Esman. Pp. 193-207.

David A. Lake

The infantile stimulus-barrier, a concept derived from Freud's hypothetical Reizschutz, has at least two interpretations: as a non-selective passive shield and as an active proto-defense mechanism. It serves to limit external stimuli so as to minimize overstimulation. Stages of neurological maturation are cited to demonstrate its existence. Recent infant studies, however, strongly contradict this: neonatal avoidant responses do not act categorically to minimize internal states of excitation, but are selective. Alternative formulations to the barrier-against-penetration model of stimulus processing propose that infants regulate perceptual experience within a framework of object attachment and information processing. Infants seek out stimuli they can assimilate and accommodate to; the mother provides appropriate stimulation and protects the child from inappropriate sensory experiences at each level of development.

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Article Citation

Lake, D.A. (1987). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child. XXXVIII, 1983. Psychoanal. Q., 56:411

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