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Silverman, M.A. (2005). THE FACE IN THE MIRROR: THE SEARCH FOR THE ORIGINS OF CONSCIOUSNESS. by Julian Paul Keenan, Ph.D., with Gordon G. Gallup, Jr., Ph.D., and Dean Falk, Ph.D. New York: Harper Collins, 2003. 278 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 74(4):1150-1154.

(2005). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 74(4):1150-1154

THE FACE IN THE MIRROR: THE SEARCH FOR THE ORIGINS OF CONSCIOUSNESS. by Julian Paul Keenan, Ph.D., with Gordon G. Gallup, Jr., Ph.D., and Dean Falk, Ph.D. New York: Harper Collins, 2003. 278 pp.

Review by:
Martin A. Silverman

I was in the playroom one day with a nine-year-old girl who had come into treatment because of unhappiness and low self-esteem. She had been adopted at birth by very devoted, loving parents. Her seven-year-old sister had been born directly to her parents and looked like them, but Cathy did not. During this session, Cathy toyed dreamily with some little plastic animals as we spoke. She had a very puzzled look on her face. “What's the matter?” I asked. I don't know if this cub belongs to the lion family or the tiger family, she said. I think you know just how this little cub feels, I told her. Cathy looked up at me, with wide eyes and a surprised look on her face. “Do you know what it's like,” she asked, to look in the mirror and not see the face that should be there?

Cathy's feelings about her reflection in the mirror dramatically highlight the centrality of self-perception in human functioning and the way in which it is anchored in one's relationships with important others. What she said to me emphasizes the connection between self-recognition, self-awareness, consciousness, and the evolution of the primate brain, which has fascinated the senior author of this informative, fascinating, and delightfully written book.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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