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April 1937

THE DILEMMA OF GROWTH

Author Affiliations

PHILADELPHIA

Arch NeurPsych. 1937;37(4):859-867. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1937.02260160159015
Abstract

A long period of infancy with close maternal care is unique for the higher forms of life. This reaches a maximum in the human being, and from this springs much of his strength and versatility. Briffault,1 in commenting on this, said: "It would appear that the congenital superiority of what are regarded as the higher races of man consists essentially in a slower rate of development, owing to which the fixative force of natural heredity is counteracted by a more prolonged modifying operation of the social environment."

This period of slower development during which the infant is provided with the essentials of existence and is protected from the exigencies of independent living comes largely through the maternal relation. The mother fulfils the basic need that an infant has for another human being. This differs in various cultural strata only in detail. She or her substitute constitutes the early reality

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