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Beebe, B. Lachmann, F.M. Jaffe, J. (1997). Mother-Infant Interaction Structures and Presymbolic Self- and Object Representations. Psychoanal. Dial., 7(2):133-182.

(1997). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 7(2):133-182

Mother-Infant Interaction Structures and Presymbolic Self- and Object Representations Related Papers

Beatrice Beebe, Ph.D., Frank M. Lachmann, Ph.D. and Joseph Jaffe, M.D.

Using research on the purely social face-to-face exchange, we examine patterns of mother-infant interaction and their relevance for the presymbolic origins of self and object representations, focusing on the representation of inter-relatedness between self and object. Based on a dyadic systems view in which the system is defined by both self- and interactive-regulation processes, we argue that characteristic patterns of self and interactive regulation form early interaction structures, which provide an important basis for emerging self and object representations. What will be represented, presymbolically, is the dynamic interactive process itself, the interplay, as each partner influences the other from moment to moment. This is a dynamic, process view of “interactive” or “dyadic” representations. The argument that early interaction structures organize experience is based on a transformational model in which there are continuous transformations and restructurings, where development is in a constant state of active reorganization. To define the capacities on which a presymbolic representational capacity is based, we review the last decade's research on infant perception and memory, which has radically changed our concepts of representation. The interaction structures

we describe illustrate the salience of arousal, affect, space, and time in the early organization of experience: (1) state transforming, the expectation that an arousal state can be transformed through the contribution of the partner; (2) facial mirroring, the expectation of matching and being matched in the direction of affective change; (3) disruption and repair, the expectation of degree of ease and rapidity of interactive repair following facial-visual mismatches; (4) “chase and dodge,” the expectation of the misregulation and derailment of spatial-orientation patterns, without repair; and (5) interpersonal timing, the expectation of degree of vocal rhythm matching.

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