Autism, Early Narcissistic Injury, and Self Organization: a Role for the Image of the Mother's Eyes?

McDowell, Dr Maxson (2004) Autism, Early Narcissistic Injury, and Self Organization: a Role for the Image of the Mother's Eyes? [Journal (Paginated)]

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Holland has elucidated the new paradigm of self-organization in complex adaptive systems. This paradigm holds for all living systems, including the personality. In conjunction with the theory of archetypes, self-organization suggests two radical hypotheses, one about early development, the other about the origins of autism. Autism is associated with several medical conditions, with genetic markers, and with infant visual deprivation. None of these factors, however, is either necessary or sufficient to cause autism. It is proposed that each of these factors increases the probability of a primary psychological deficit: failure in the first few weeks to acquire (or retain) the image of the mother’s eyes. These hypotheses were derived from analytic work with patients who have early narcissistic injury and with patients who have mild autistic traits. Both diagnoses may arise from the same initial disturbance: Symington and others have argued that autism is an extreme form of infantile narcissism. Indirect evidence for the image-of-the-eyes hypotheses comes from the evolution of primates, from infant-mother observations, from observations of infant vision, and from experiments on vision in other vertebrates. Byrd recently confirmed that the incidence of autism is increasing dramatically. The image-of-the-eyes hypotheses suggest that this increase may be due to the increased use, in early infancy, of non-maternal childcare including television and video. The search for environmental triggers for autism must be interdisciplinary. This paper makes a timely contribution to that search.

Item Type:Journal (Paginated)
Additional Information:Further evidence for this hypothesis is presented in a paper accepted for publication in Biological Theory (MIT Press) in 2011.
Keywords:autism, narcissistic injury, image of the eye, eye contact, self organization, emergent, archetypal image, dynamic system, pervasive developmental disorder, cascade
Subjects:Neuroscience > Behavioral Neuroscience
Biology > Evolution
Biology > Theoretical Biology
Psychology > Clinical Psychology
Psychology > Developmental Psychology
Psychology > Evolutionary Psychology
Philosophy > Philosophy of Mind
ID Code:7243
Deposited By:McDowell, Doctor Maxson J.
Deposited On:02 May 2011 18:19
Last Modified:02 May 2011 18:19

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