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September 1960

A Genetic Field Theory of Ego Formation.

Am J Dis Child. 1960;100(3):455-456. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1960.04020040457022

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In the expansion of psychiatric knowledge two major areas involving children are being vigorously studied. One concerns the seemingly increasing number of psychotic-like reactions in children; the other the quest of more intensive observations of the developmental process.

Dr. Spitz, a major contributor to the first category, has here set forth his thinking concerning three early stages of development, describing them by means of a triad of nodal points. These points, (1) the appearance of the smile, (2) the anxiety of the eighth month, and (3) the development of speech, especially the NO gesture, cannot only be clearly delineated but are notably representative of major changes in the child's general and psychological progress.

In this brief but neatly organized lecture Spitz correlates what is currently known about infantile progress and the dependence of the child's attainments on successful completion of earlier stages of growth. Supported both by his observations and

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