1965. Effect of emotional deprivation and neglect on babies. Subtitled in English


The narration of this film references antiquated Freudian psychoanalytic theory, refrigerator mother theory and other anachronisms, and should be taken in a historical context. Catalogue description: This film studies the effect of emotional deprivation on the sensory-motor behaviour of infants aged 7 to 18 months, some of which came from normal families, and others raised in institutional settings for social reasons. The simple experimental conditions remain the same. We present blocks to the child, and record the reaction to this object of stimulus

Children raised under favourable family conditions
Emmanuel, raised by his family, is an active explorer and eager to grab any new object he sees
He moves it from hand to hand, and brings it up to his mouth for example
He is completely absorbed by the activity, and pays little attention to those around him

In the next cases we also see increased attention paid by the child to his environment, and a correlating decrease in attention paid to the game.

On the other hand, when family conditions are unfavourable to the point of requiring a child's removal from the home, the child’s behaviour will be affected as follows
Institutionalized children
Caroline, a victim of maternal neglect, is anorexic

For example, Veronique, who is also anorexic, expresses refusal by raising her hands in an avoidance gesture
When she finally picks up a block, the worried looks she casts suggest anxiety
Her demeanor is passive, she does not play

Jean, who was removed from her home at a young age and institutionalized after several failed foster placements, carefully watches the movements of the psychologist

An emotionally deprived child may prioritize social contact, which could be motivated by the child’s intense desire to find a maternal substitute
Her curiosity in new objects is minimal
She accepts without resistance when the block is placed in her hand, but shows no real interest

René, whose case is similar, sits motionless in front of the blocks
After a while, he makes a motion for the block, but is plagued by such anxiety that little by little he becomes totally disinterested in the game and those around him
He withdraws into himself and take refuge in the self-soothing activity of thumb sucking

Annette who is also anorexic, has an attitude of immobility
She is completely disinterested in her surroundings
Her growing anxiety manifests by twitching lip movements and irregular breathing
Autism can be discerned from the vague gaze of this little girl
Here we see Colette, also deprived of affection and care, showing the same symptoms of autism and anxiety. She remains still, and breathes heavily

Thus, emotional deprivation provokes not only the anxiety that is well known to psychologists, but also inhibits the child’s exploratory instincts and curiosity in new objects, and may result in autism in the most serious cases

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