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Scott, W.M. (1952). The Mutual Influences in the Development of Ego and Id—Discussants. Psychoanal. St. Child, 7:60-65.

(1952). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 7:60-65

The Mutual Influences in the Development of Ego and Id—Discussants

W. Clifford M. Scott, M.D.


In trying to write more clearly about ego structure and function we have to clarify our way of talking about instincts and about reality. We have continued to talk of the ego as the structure between instincts and reality. We talk of ego functions as those which make contacts between instinct and reality. I think we should reduce the terms we use to the smallest number possible. When different terms are used it is often unclear as to whether the author is trying to make a distinction or not. We say the ego functions (a) by organizing, synthesizing or integrating (is not synthesis the best term); (b) by dominating, controlling with strength or weakness, (1) movement in regard to all inside and outside the body boundary, and (2) perception of the inner and outer world; (c) by developing defenses against excessive stimuli from within or without by inhibition or by delay; (d) by developing danger signals (in connection with delay and signal formation impulse progressively becomes "wish," "hope," "wonder if," etc., all these being degrees of postponement); and (e) by obtaining gratification, testing reality, developing realization, methods of insight, judgment, etc., and by developing criteria of objective knowledge.

In clarifying the details of such concepts we will clarify the basic concepts of metapsychology. We will do much to stimulate general psychology—both genetic and systematic. We will stimulate therapeutic and preventative measures and we will stimulate our relations with many other disciplines.

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