• Tone Høyer Hughes
4. term, Psychology, Master (Master Programme)
Abstract: The affect shame in infants
A theoretical master’s thesis on the development of capacity for intersubjectivity in theory of mentalization
The concept of mentalization was originally introduced by Fonagy and colleagues in therapeutic treatment of borderline personality disorder. It has since gained significant ground not just in this area but also within the field of pedagogy, as well as in work with traumatized or otherwise vulnerable children and adults. Furthermore, it has opened up many new perspectives on child development.
This thesis provides a theoretical exploration of the concept of mentalization with the aim of examining how the capacity for mentalization of affects is developed from the infant age and onwards. To accomplish this the thesis starts from the theory of biosocial feedback and an introduction to the essential socio-cognitive concepts herein. These concepts have their basis in theory of mind and are followed by an examination of the four theoretical dimensions of mentalization: the cognitive/affective, the implicit-automatic/explicit-controlled, the self/other, and the external/internal dimensions.
Together, the inquiry into these theoretical constructs forms the basis for an examination of certain unclear areas and unresolved issues in the prevalent theory or mentalization, specifically related to the aforementioned implicit-automatic dimension and the development of capacity for intersubjectivity. It is argued that the phenomenologically based theory of primary intersubjectivity may contribute to resolving some of the problems related to implicit mentalization and intersubjectivity in theory of mentalization.
Finally, the affect shame will be used to examine what implications a theoretical integration of primary intersubjectivity into theory of mentalization might have on the general role of affects in mentalization. It is argued that such an integration of primary intersubjectivity calls for a rethinking of the concept of mentalized affect.

Publication date20 Apr 2016
Number of pages70
ID: 232146088