Language and Ego Function of Young Psychotic Children

  • Theodore Shapiro


The task of describing the origin and roots of one’s research activities demands a change of observational stance, which disrupts the usual distance of the investigator from his work. The disruption may stimulate anxiety similar to that evoked within psychoanalysis when the observing ego takes the self as its object. All the intellectual comfort in working at a distance on a presumably external object becomes under the new scrutiny at once self-conscious and awkward. The new circumstance holds a presentiment of arousing even more archaic fantasies, which are themselves the likely precursors to scientific investigation. While this is troublesome, it may also have its purpose and reward, for it is an opportunity to see anew the narcissistic contribution to one’s scientific work and to renew a dim surmise that our research conforms to a pattern closely related to the ground substance of our mental organization and conflicts. The patterns of our archaic fantasies are the “root stuff” of our sublimated activities, which our egos classify as contributing, creative, and in the image of our ego ideals and actual teachers.


Language Development Language Behavior Sentence Fragment Linguistic Performance Childhood Schizophrenia 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • Theodore Shapiro
    • 1
  1. 1.New York University School of MedicineNew YorkUSA

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