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Infant Ment Health J. 2013 Sep;34(5):367-375.

VITALITY AFFECTS IN DANIEL STERN'S THINKING-A PSYCHOLOGICAL AND NEUROBIOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE.

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1
Sapienza University.
2
University of Parma.

Abstract

The goal of the present article is to deepen the theme of vitality, the topic of Daniel N. Stern's last book, Forms of Vitality, published in 2010, which further conceptualized the vitality affects originally proposed in his book The Interpersonal World of the Infant, published in 1985. Vitality forms characterize personal feelings as well dynamics of movements. They are therefore related to feelings of agency and efficacy, and may be shaped and influenced by early interactions between caregivers and infants. In this ambit, infants experience a sense of personal efficacy and a hedonic pleasure when they are recognized and confirmed by their caregivers. The interactional perspective is further discussed considering psychoanalytical contributions and recent infant research. However, vitality, as Stern (2010) highlighted, is grounded in the body and more specifically in the brain. From a neurobiological perspective, we discuss the role of mirror neurons by considering inter subjective exchanges and infantile matching experiences, which influence the sense of vitality.

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