A Book That Was Waiting to Be Written

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Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1993, Vol 38(11), 1232–1233. Reviews the book, From Fetus to Child: An Observational and Psychoanalytic Study by Alessandra Piontelli (1992). Since the development of ultrasound technology has made it possible to observe the fetus in action, many burning questions about the inception of personality traits and social behavior can be put to empirical test. Alessandra Piontelli has done this in a groundbreaking study, using ethological methodology a la Tinbergen and Lorenz She has systematically observed 11 features (3 singleton pregnancies and 4 sets of twins), usually from about the 16th prenatal week until birth, and has then followed their development for four years postnatally. Her central thesis is that there is “a remarkable continuity in aspects of prenatal and postnatal life”. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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