Psychodynamics and Development

  • Mohammadreza Hojat


  • Empathy is nurtured in a facilitative early rearing environment, particularly in relation to the quality of child’s relationship with the mother or a primary caregiver.

  • Evidence regarding the newborn’s preference for its mother’s voice; maternal investment in child rearing, lactation and breast-feeding; and attachment relationships suggest that nature has endowed the mother with the innate ability to be the most important participant in the development of a child’s capacity for empathy.

  • Experimental findings obtained by using the “still-face” and “visual cliff” paradigms indicate that infants can understand and react to their primary caregiver’s emotional state.

  • The foundation for a child’s mental representation (internal working models) of the world is the early relationship with the mother that becomes an influential force in the regulation of emotions and empathic behavior throughout life.

  • Associations between empathy and facial imitation and mimicry in childhood, and theory of mind are discussed.


Prosocial Behavior Primary Caregiver Secure Attachment Attachment Relationship Parental Warmth 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mohammadreza Hojat
    • 1
  1. 1.Sidney Kimmel Medical College Thomas Jefferson UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA

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