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von Hug-Hellmuth, H. Putnam, J.J. Stevens, M. (1918). A Study of the Mental Life of the Child. Psychoanal. Rev., 5(1):53-92.

(1918). Psychoanalytic Review, 5(1):53-92


A Study of the Mental Life of the Child

H. von Hug-Hellmuth, James J. Putnam, M.D. and Mabel Stevens, B.S.

Part I. The Period of Infancy (The Suckling)

I. The Functions of the Senses in the Service of the Affective Life of the Infant

The mental life of the infant begins with the reaction to sensations induced by stimulations from without, as well as by those coming from within the body, from the internal bodily organs; and manifestations, on his part, of pleasure and of pain (or pleasantness and unpleasantness) soon occur which enable the adult to recognize that for the child certain occurrences within his environment are already becoming experiences.

Turning the eyes to the sun-lit window, starting at a sudden sound, feeling with lips and hands in seeking for the mother's breast which gives him nourishment—these acts, in spite of their partly automatic, partly instinctive character, are the first signs that the newborn child is taking notice of the surrounding world. In the apperception of these impressions (Eindrücke) by the infant there lies the germ (Keim) of the psychical process. To blinking at a dazzling light, screaming immediately succeeds. Hearing the tinkling of the bells on his sledge induces at once an expression of surprise—one of the most primitive feelings of infancy.

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