عمق ارتباطی: عمقیابی از آسیب شناسی روانی تکاملی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|35339||2007||11 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||محاسبه نشده|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Infant Behavior and Development, Volume 30, Issue 2, May 2007, Pages 267–277
My purpose in this theoretically driven contribution is to consider the nature of human interpersonal engagement and communication, and reflect upon its origins in infancy. I adopt the approach of developmental psychopathology, and explore whether we might gain new insights into these matters through evidence from early childhood autism. I shall argue for four distinct but overlapping propositions: 1. Uniquely human forms of communication that have roots in infancy shape cognitive development and more specifically, provide the foundations for symbolic functioning. These forms of communication are epitomized by, but not reducible to, how humans share experiences both in immediate dyadic person-to-person exchanges, and within person-person-world (triadic) relations. Quintessentially, they involve interpersonal engagement, and only secondarily are they concerned with the transmission of ‘information’ from one person to another. 2. The specialness of interpersonal engagement stems from the human propensity to identify with the bodily expressed attitudes of other persons. This propensity takes on increasingly sophisticated forms with development, but at all periods of life it is characterized by the tendency to assume something of another person's attitude as one component of a particular species of dyadically structured mental state – again, exemplified by but not restricted to what we recognize from a phenomenological viewpoint as the state of sharing experiences with someone else. 3. This relational architecture for human social life is at once affective, cognitive, and motivational. Or to express this differently, it is only for particular purposes that it makes sense to analyze the affective, cognitive, and motivational aspects of identifying with others. Rather, we should consider how identifying with others contributes to what become these partly separable facets of mental life. Once the phenomena of identifying with others are appreciated, we are also better placed to explain the development of specifically human forms of ‘social emotion’. For example, we may discern the nature of and basis for such relational feelings as concern and guilt. 4. The process of identifying with others is critical for some but not other aspects of human social-emotional and cognitive development. For example, there are forms of attachment and social emotion that appear to be shaped by, but not founded upon, such relatedness. 1. The uniqueness of human infancy Much has been written about the source or sources of uniquely human forms of thought and culture. Recent accounts by Tomasello, Carpenter, Call, Behne, and Moll (2005) and Hobson (2002/2004) focus upon the qualities of and motivation for person-with-person engagement that are manifest in the social relations of human infants, but relatively limited (for different reasons) both in non-human primates and in children with autism. These forms of communication are candidates for explaining how human beings come to acquire the propensities and capacities to adopt and to understand psychological perspectives towards the world and themselves. The present paper is an attempt to explicate a family of processes – those involved in identifying with other people – that may illuminate what such engagement entails. One way in which to approach the uniqueness of human infancy is to work backwards from what emerges out of infancy. Although there are obvious hazards in supposing that every emergent property of the mind has precursors in infancy, it is also helpful to see how alternative theories of early psychological development specify plausible preconditions for what we observe to develop in subsequent phases of childhood. An obvious place to begin on such a backward-reaching tack is with the emergence of symbolic functioning somewhere before the end of the second year of life. There are several forms of symbolizing, especially in language, but one important and relatively explicit form of symbolizing, namely making objects (or imagined objects) stand for other things or events in play, logically entails that a child who plays has self-awareness of him/herself introducing new meanings to the vehicles of play (e.g. Hobson, 1990 and Leslie, 1987). This in turn requires that the child observes the distinction between a person-anchored meaning, that is, a meaning or description attributed to something by someone, and the object or event to which that meaning is applied. The meaning itself, of course, is anchored in a person's relatedness towards the environment, and what the environment affords. Although I shall not dwell on the details of how such an insight into people's meaning-conferring potential might be attained, elsewhere (e.g., Hobson, 1993 and Hobson, 2000) I have argued that such conceptual understanding of selves-as-symbolizers requires preconceptual grounding in an infant's propensity to relate to and (in part) to assume the bodily expressed attitudes of other people in relation to a shared world. The reason is that it is through adopting co-referential attitudes with someone else in relation to given objects and events in the world, that infants are in a position to register and subsequently to understand how such objects and events can mean different things to different people. A critical part of this developmental process is that the infants can, within their own experience, find themselves adopting two person-anchored attitudes to particular objects and events, one that is, as it were, direct and unmediated by social influence, and another that is acquired by assuming the stance of someone else. Where in early development do we find manifestations of such ‘preconceptual grounding’ for the development of social understanding? As several writers have pointed out, towards the end of the first year there emerge forms of social referencing and joint attention that appear to have a uniquely human characteristic: the propensity to share experiences of objects and events with others. It is not just that infants turn to others to be informed of the meaning of objects and events in their environment, nor is it simply that they make and respond to requests, but in addition, they point out things and bring things to other people to share (e.g. Bates, 1979; Bretherton, McNew, & Beeghly-Smith, 1981). The critical point here is that whereas non-human primates appear to engage in joint attention and social referencing to find out about the world, human infants do something further: they show such patterns of behaviour with a view to establishing and sustaining an orientation towards and involvement with the person with whom the joint attention is taking place. In showing something to an adult, for example, they reveal how they are both aware of, and care about, the way that the other person's relation to themselves may be altered through the other's attitude to the object (or perhaps, to themselves showing the object). This does not imply 12-month-olds have conceptual understanding of another person's mind, but it does reveal they anticipate the possibility that their own experience in relation to the other may be altered by the other's orientation in the context of this orientation also being directed (more or less) to the object proffered. One question, then, is how infants’ experience in the course of social referencing and joint attention might provide conditions for them to acquire, over the coming 9 months of life, the ability to conceptualise the distinctions as well as linkages between self and other, between attitudes and the objects and events to which those attitudes are applied, and between symbols and their referents. In this way of formulating the question, alternative terms for ‘attitudes’ might be person-dependent meanings, or thoughts, or predicates, where each of these expressions capture something of what is at stake, but none is entirely satisfactory. Here we are especially interested in whether the distinction-cum-connectedness between self and others as bearers of person-anchored attitudes towards a shared world are already implicit in the relations of infants at the end of their first year. More specifically, do infants of this age appear to experience self and other as both connected and differentiated in their attitudes to objects and events, of which the meanings-for-self may alter in accordance with the attitudes expressed by the other? If the answer is ‘yes’, as seems reasonable, then we need to address a further question: what is it that they apprehend through the bodily expressed attitudes of others, in such a way that (a) they can be ‘moved’ to assume the attitude of the other towards the object or event in question, and (b) they have a basis for registering the ‘otherness’ of the other's attitude, even though it may transform their own attitude. This second requirement – the registration of the source of the attitude as ‘other’ – is important for at least two reasons. The first is that we need to make sense of why infants make protodeclarative gestures towards others, or indeed why they sometimes show role-reversals in behaviour (such as feeding a caregiver, after being fed: Bråten, 1998). Such behaviour seems to indicate that the infant is indeed relating to another person as a separate source of attitudes and/or actions. The second reason is that if infants are to be in a position to discover and (with the concurrent and intimately related development of symbolic modes of thought) conceptualize that other selves are both similar to and different from themselves in having person-anchored attitudes, then they need to be experiencing both the connectedness of emotional engagement and the specialness of other-person-derived feelings in recurrent episodes of interpersonally co-ordinated relations. Or to put this differently: if infants merely changed their orientation to the world through their responsiveness to others’ attitudes, and did not register that this change was taking place through others – and moreover, if they did not register that the object or target of their own and others’ attitudes was at times the self-same object or target that began with one meaning and ended up with another – then they would not have a basis for recognizing that different people can have different attitudes to objects, and that objects (including symbolic vehicles) can have alternative person-ascribed meanings. It is at this point that I shall introduce my claim (Hobson, 1993 and Hobson, 2002/2004) that in order to explicate what is happening in episodes of social referencing and protodeclarative joint attention, we need to posit that infants are identifying with the bodily expressed attitudes of the person with whom they are engaged. At first this claim appears to be little more than a terminological suggestion that we use the expression ‘identifying with’ to capture what I have just described as infant's propensity to be moved by another person's attitudes through registering and in part assuming those attitudes, in such a way that the attitudes enter the infant's own repertoire of relating to the world. Yet already, there is more involved: the idea is that within the infant's experience of sharing or co-ordinating attitudes to the world, there is a potential boundary between what of that experience originates in the infant, and what has its source in the other's attitude. Moreover, a part of the claim is that experiences of sharing have this structure well before infants conceptualise people as people with minds. One might express the position as follows: within episodes of sharing, there is another-person-centred as well as a self-centred-component to the experience of sharing, and the other-person-centred component comes into existence because of the specifically human propensity to register and assume the attitudes of others from the others’ bodily anchored stance. This picture is closely similar to that drawn by Bråten (1998), who postulates ‘a “virtual other” complement to the bodily self that offers a participant (companion) space in which others may be included in felt immediacy’ (p. 106) and who also posits that individuals with autism may lack the ‘resulting socio-emotional nurture of others’ perspectives as felt in inside participating’ (p. 115). Bråten's ‘innate capacity to learn unwittingly by altercentric participation’ (p. 119) appears to converge with aspects the present account derived from the psychoanalytic concept of identification (Freud, 1955/1921). The concept of registering and potentially assimilating another's bodily anchored psychological stance is not difficult to explicate for the kinds of joint attention we have been considering thus far. Yet the notion becomes more obscure when we are trying to characterize the structure of dyadic, person-with-person exchanges earlier in the first year of life (again see Bråten, 1998). For if infants from around 9 months are identifying with the attitudes of others towards a shared world, then might much younger infants also be identifying with at least some of the attitudes of those with whom they are engaged, even if these do not have an external, shared focus? What here might we find to indicate that infants already have forms of interpersonal experience that implicate both self-other connectedness and self-other differentiation in the very structure of that experience? The issue is not whether infants of under 9 months or so recognize (in whatever sense) other persons as having minds – a suggestion that is problematic insofar as it would mean the infant distinguishes between persons on the one hand, and minds on the other, if these facets are supposed to be ‘recognized’ as related to one another – but rather, whether they register a special form of experience, epitomized by sharing, that only occurs in relation to a particular kind of embodied ‘thing’, namely a person. And if they do, how are we to characterize the structure and psychological means to such relatedness? It is widely recognized, although still disputed, that from 2 months at least, infants register whether or not they are in tune with another person in face-to-face exchanges. Prima facie, they appear to relate to that other embodied person as the source of the special, sharing form of experience. The classic demonstration of this is the still-face procedure of Tronick, Als, Adamson, Wise, and Brazelton (1978), and one of the striking aspects of our own observations of 2-month-olds in this setting is how they may make what seem like bids to the mother in order to re-establish harmonious interchange. Evidence from neonatal imitation (e.g., Meltzoff, 2002), and especially observations that infants may gradually approximate their facial gestures to those they witness in adults who engage with them, also speaks to the likelihood that very young babies register some differentiation from as well as potential commonality with other persons. Yet it is important that when it comes to sharing and otherwise co-ordinating experiences, affective linkage and co-ordination is pivotal ( Markova & Legerstee, 2006). As Reddy (2003) emphasizes and illuminates through studies of young infants’ expressions of coyness ( Reddy, 2000), there are indications that there may be self-other structure to affective engagement from very early in life. At least from 2 months of age, then, infants seek and register mutually co-ordinated relations with others. This is a motivational business, both in the ways infants seek and sustain such contact, and in their reactions to perturbations in the mutual exchanges. It is also affectively patterned, as the observable feelings of the infant and the manifest feelings of the adults attest. In some sense, it is also cognitive, at least insofar as the infants draw a distinction between humans or human-like forms on the one hand, and non-human creatures or things on the other, in what infants anticipate each class of ‘object’ to afford. We can fool infants into engaging with clever stimuli as if they were humans, of course, just as we can fool adults with holograms, but that does not detract from the fact that there is a categorical distinction between personal and non-personal forms of relatedness from early in life. Therefore we might note that infants not only register, but are also moved/affected by, the attitudes of persons with whom they are engaged; and the way they are moved/affected is determined by the qualities of affect and co-ordinated communication with which they are presented. If the adult is happy and in tune, the chances are that the infant will be happy and in tune; if the adult expresses other kinds of feeling, or relates in ways that are ill-co-ordinated with the behaviour and state of the infant, then the infant is likely to show distress or other negative feeling states. So we might be led to enquire: Is the infant showing some form of ‘identifying with’ the other person, even so early? And if so, how are we to characterize other-person-centredness in the early months of life?