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The human genome and the representational world: The role of early mother-infant interaction in creating an interpersonal interpretive mechanism

Fonagy, P; (2001) The human genome and the representational world: The role of early mother-infant interaction in creating an interpersonal interpretive mechanism. B MENNINGER CLIN , 65 (3) 427 - 448.

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Abstract

The author discusses the interrelationship of genetic predisposition, experiences in the first 3 years of life, and psychological disturbance in later development. The current emphasis on genetic determinism has led to the popular misconception that early relationships with caregivers play a relatively minor role in the development of mental disorder. The author argues that early attachment relationships matter because the mental mechanism moderating the expression of individual genotypes is intrinsically linked to the relationship with the primary caregiver. Attachment in infancy has the primary evolutionary function of generating a mind capable of inferring things about other people's minds, their thoughts, ideas, motivations, and intentions. The child needs to be able to make these inferences to arrive at a representation of the self in terms of a set of stable and generalized intentional attributes. Awareness of others' thoughts and feelings is necessary to ensure social collaboration. This formulation underscores the vital importance of parent training for the normal emotional and cognitive development of a child and the prevention of major psychological disturbance.

Type: Article
Title: The human genome and the representational world: The role of early mother-infant interaction in creating an interpersonal interpretive mechanism
Keywords: ANTISOCIAL-BEHAVIOR, DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOPATHOLOGY, CHILDREN, ATTACHMENT, CHILDHOOD, MALTREATMENT, ADOLESCENCE, PERSONALITY, NURTURE, FAMILY
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/134145
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