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Trevarthen, C. (2009). The Intersubjective Psychobiology of Human Meaning: Learning of Culture Depends on Interest for Co-Operative Practical Work–and Affection for the Joyful Art of Good Company. Psychoanal. Dial., 19(5):507-518.

(2009). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 19(5):507-518

The Intersubjective Psychobiology of Human Meaning: Learning of Culture Depends on Interest for Co-Operative Practical Work–and Affection for the Joyful Art of Good Company

Colwyn Trevarthen, Ph.D.

Cultures depend on a ceaseless, highly creative learning process, which is not just an acquiring of information transmitted by instructing the young. It is motivated by an innate human talent for companionship in experience, which is mediated by an intersubjective transfer of intentions, interests, and feeling in conversations of rhythmic motor activity. All achievements of technique and art depend upon the affections and shared enthusiasms of interpersonal relationships. Research on how infants communicate with parents has revealed the natural process by which this learning grows and how it may recover from traumatic events. Brain science confirms that the proprio-ceptive regulations of intentions can be shared by sympathetic “altero-ception,” so that creative actions and experiences may be cooperative. Both language and rational thought rest upon this dynamic intersubjective coordination of conscious activity. Individual personalities and self-consciousness grow in relationships and come to recognize traditional beliefs and practices of the community.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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