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Steingart, I. Freedman, N. (1972). A Language Construction Approach for the Examination of Self/Object Representation in Varying Clinical States. Psychoanal. Contemp. Sci., 1(1):132-178.

(1972). Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Science, 1(1):132-178

A Language Construction Approach for the Examination of Self/Object Representation in Varying Clinical States

Irving Steingart, Ph.D. and Norbert Freedman, Ph.D.

A review of selected elements from both the experimental and clinical literature supports the importance of language construction analysis for psychoanalytical research. We present data for three such measures, together with clinical, theoretical literature supporting the interpretation that such measures are indicative of the following: (1) the degree of differentiation between self-representations and object-representations; (2) the relative balance between narcissistic libidinal attachment and libidinal attachments to objects; (3) the division of selective attention between interactional and solitary features of the representational world. We consider that, relatively, our present data support this last interpretation only weakly. We also suggest that those states of consciousness that we designate as persecutory paranoid, psychotic depression, moderate non-psychotic mania, and schizophrenia possess distinctive configurations of such constructs. Finally, we suggest future psychoanalytic research areas and specific problems for which such language construction measures would appear to be pertinent.

We shall describe a procedure for the analysis of language behavior; we shall also present results that support the use of such a procedure, and suggest further areas of research that can be pursued with this approach. However, first, we shall present material from linguistics and psycholinguistics, experimental psychopathology, and the literature on developmental psychology that points in general to the importance of language behavior for psychoanalytic research.


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