Chapter 3

Explaining the Infant in Protodialogue and Affect Attunement

Above we have seen how the infant-adult interplay patterns of turntaking, coincidence of gestures and mutual matching of expressions of affect, apparently even imitation, invite different perspectives. How can such patterns during the first months of life be explained? It appears to be difficult if the participants are considered as separate monadic individuals.
The patterns are generated, however, by infant-adult dyads at the interpersonal level. This invites the perspective of dyadic closure: the above phenomena may be seen to come about through the closed operations of one self-organizing dyad, exhibiting patterns conforming to a protodialogic form.1 But this begs the question, unless one can specify how the intrapersonal organizations of the infant and the adult enable them to participate in such a self-organizing dyad. This is the theme of the present chapter.
I shall propose a reply to the question about how it is that infants are able, as Newson (1979:92) puts it, to participate both actively and effortlessly in protodialogue. What, then, may the nature be of this organization at the intra-personal level that permits an effortless participation in protodialogue and affect attunement at the interpersonal level? My reply will consist in purporting to show that the very same format of the self-organizing dyad (shown in Fig.0.1 (ii)) generating patterns of the kind described above (indicated in Fig.2.2 (b)) also applies to intra-personal processes, enfolded and unfolding in each of the participant individuals when they are by

The virtual other: A new generic concept

I shall offer an account in terms of the infant's virtual other, as distinct from the infant's actual adult other. The infant's interpersonal lifeworld prior to its being structured by language will be considered in terms of a thesis about a virtual other in the inherent dyadic constitution of the infant's mind that invites (proto)dialoging with an actual other. The core of the thesis is this:

(q1) There is a companion space in the self-organizing mind that involves dialoging with a virtual other and invites fulfillment by actual others in immediate reciprocity. Hence, this self-organizing dyad maintains its primary format of dialogic closure when recreating itself (i) in (comm)union with the virtual other, and (ii) in communion with actual others who replace the virtual other.

The operational meaning of the virtual other will become clear as it is specificed later on. It used for a participant process (and associated companion space) internal to the mind that permits an inner dialogue and invites replacement by an actual other as the mind's dialogic organization recreates itself.
While the term 'the virtual other' is a new term, the general notion of a virtual entity or process is not a new one. In physics one speaks of virtual particles. In computational contexts we may write a program with virtual properties, for example a software-implemented virtual machine which in certain respects may operate as an actual hardware machine, or a virtual computer memory that may have some of the efficiency of an actual hardware computer memory. As defined by Charles Sanders Peirce, a virtual X, is something, not X, which has the efficiency (virtus) of X. In terms of an identified operation, this means that an actual X may replace or be replaced by a virtual, *X, without change in the identifying characteristics of the operation. In this respect both X and *X differ from a symbolic representation 'X'. Applied to notions of the other (Alter), this means that the virtual Alter, *A, may replace and be replaced by some actual Alter, A, in protodialogical operations, and give rise to the subsequent formation of a re-presented Alter, 'A', in the companion space of the virtual Alter.
This permits the mind of the baby B to be specified as a self-organizing dyad involving the primary participation of a virtual Alter, *A. Fig. 3.1 (i) gives a stratic inscription of the internal workings of the infant's mind involving such a virtual other, inviting the actual adult other, A, to step into into the place of the virtual other, while the self-organizing form of the dialogical recreates itself.
The virtual other is postulated as being inborn in terms of an culturally invariant inner companion space, even though it may come to be filled and evolve in culturally variant ways. Being posited as grounded in nature, not culture, the companion space of the baby's virtual other may be related to the attribution by ethologists of companion schemata to some animal species.
For example, Lorenz (1970) identifies innate companion schemata in certain birds in an account of how certain species-specific responses can be elicited, respectively by a parental companion, by an infant companion, by a sibling companion, by a sexual companion, and by a social companion.2
The ethological attribution of innate companion schemata to animals in certain domains3 suggests that there may be a natural ground for an innate virtual other in the evolved mind's natural organization. But the operational specifications in terms of dyadic closure will be seen to differ. First, the virtual other is here seen to be inherently involved in the dialogic nature of the mind, assumed to be an essential human quality. The thesis permits, as we shall see below, an account of protoconversational and transitional phenomena of a kind that are difficult to attribute to animal domains. Second, the virtual other is defined in terms of a nonspecific internal companion space that may be open to actual others in different kinds of reciprocal relations, such as mutual playing, mutual caring, and conversation, and which may evolve in many culturally and experientially variant ways. Third, I hesitate to speak of the virtual other in terms of schemata, which may invite confusion with notions of mediate relations, for example, in terms of the symbolically re-presented others that on experiential ground emerge in the companion space of the virtual other, but which hardly can be attributed to the newborn.4 As pointed out by Trevarthen (1989:2) the potentialities of the infant's virtual other for discovery of real instances in the behaviours of particular actual others in the baby's life change dramatically in the first two years, as the infant becomes a speaking child. The essential dyadic nature of the dialogic mind of the infant, as modeled below, may be seen to confer on humans unique psychological powers for assimilating and construing cultural meanings.
And fourth, the virtual other is postulated as a companion participant process in the internal dialoging of the mind with itself (Fig. 3.1), enabling the human infant to engage, for example, in self-conversation and dialoging with invisible companions, and in the kind of phenomena that Winnicott terms transitional. Such phenomena will be considered in the next chapter.

Inviting the actual other to replace the virtual other

The self-recreative organization of mind is assumed to have the reciprocal form of the dialogical, unfolding itself in the individual's dialogue with a virtual other (i), and recreating itself in the infant-adult protodialogue (ii). The dyadic self-organization attributed to the infant's mind will be shown to entail that the baby B soon after birth should be expected to be able to engage in a protodialogic "dance" in perfect co-ordination and affect attunement5 with the adult other, A, who replaces the infant's virtual other, *A.

If the attributed companion space of the infant's virtual other is inborn, then one should expect even the prematurely born infant to be capable of engaging in reciprocal interaction in an immediate sense. Let us now proceed to specify how the infant, even the prematurely born one like Naseeria, is able to invite the partent or careperson to engage in protoconversation and communion.
Let A and B mark two actual participants in dialogue, realized by the two organisms, alpha and beta, in interplay. Let a star, *, mark the other as virtual, while the absence of the star marks the other as actual. Thus the expression "B,*A (of beta)" means the same as "B's dialoging with his virtual other, *A, as realized in beta", and "B,A (of alpha and beta)" means "B's dialoging with B's actual other, A, as realized by alpha and beta in concert". The basic unity of A and B in dialogue with each other qua actual others in virtue of their inherent dyadic organization may be expressed in this way:

B,*A (of beta) (S) -> (B,A (of alpha and beta)) A,*B (of alpha)

(S) is to be read as B's dialogue with B's virtual other, *A, realized in beta, and A's dialogue with A's virtual other, *B, realized in alpha (specfied in Fig.3.1 (i)), recreate themselves in the transform of B and A in dialogue with each other qua actual others in the dyadic unity realized by the alpha-beta network. Figure 3.1 (ii) gives a static inscription of such a dynamic system in which B and A participate as dialoging companions to each other.
If the sign ":=" is to be read as "becomes", then the dialogic transform for the baby B from (i) to (ii) may be succinctly expressed in this way:

(T) for B: B,*A := B,A

(T) is to be read: For B, the value of B's virtual other is replaced by the value of B's actual other, or metaphorically, the value of B's actual other, A, fills the space originally assigned to B's virtual other, *A. (As will be indicated later the dialogic transform expressed by (T) is reversible in terms of form, not contents.)
May the above apply even to the prematurely born baby engaging in a duet with her father, described in chapter 1? Let us return to this case of Naseeria. We remember her responding with an almost inaudible repeated "aaa.." to her father's softly light-voiced "AAA.." in a near turn-taking manner, and in other sequences exhibiting smiles and gazing in a way that indicates an immediate contact with her father (Cf. Fig. 1.2).

A theorem of dialogic closure

The initial steps that permit expectations about the protodialoging infant in immediate reciprocity and affect attunement are these:

(q1.1) The primary operating characteristics of mind have the selfcreative form of the dialogical, involving mutually constituting complementary participant processes (or perspectives) interlaced in a dyadic network that permits their reciprocal inter-operations which re-constitute the network as a dyadic unity in the participant space in which they inter-operate.

(q1.2) This primary dialogic closure of the mind involves the participation of either a virtual other or an actual other.

(q1.3) The mind's virtual other is postulated as inborn, inviting the actual other to fill its participant space in a reciprocal mode of felt immediacy.

In conjunction with the assumption about dyadic closure, to be made precise later on, the above statements permit this theorem:

(q1.4) By virtue of the mind's capacity for self-recreation of its primary operational form that permits self-transformation of its content, it may recreate itself (i) in the individual (in dialogue with a virtual other), as well as (ii) in the communion between individuals (in dialogue with the actual other) in a mode of felt immediacy.

Situational assumptions and expectations

Given some further assumptions about actual contexts and situational states, the above statements and delimitations permit one to expect that the infant should be able to engage in protoconversation involving affect attunement. Of course, such a dialogue-like dance need not come about if she is tired, in pain, or hungry, or the parent is in a hurry, or is (dis)stressed or otherwise prevented from close involvement in the child. It requires a sensitive actual other who is open to the invitation to fill the other's participant space for dialoging in a social situation that allows for mutuality and otherwise does not perturb the propensity of the participants to involve themselves in a self-creative and reciprocal process. For the observer, it requires that (s)he be open to the possibility that although a (proto)conversational dyad and the conversing individuals constituting it are instances of operationally closed systems in different domains, they may exhibit the same operational characteristics of mind, not bounded by the skin. If such assumptions about the situational context and openness on the part of the participants (and the observer) are satisfied, then the following expectation is implied:
(q2) By virtue of the mind's primary dialogic closure, the partent-infant dyad is expected to exhibit the form of the (proto)dialogical through the closed operation of one dyadic organization (recreating itself through the actual other of each replacing the virtual other of each in a reciprocal mode of felt immediacy).

Let beta be the body and undeveloped central nervous system of the prematurely born baby, B, and let alpha be the brain and body of the father, A. According to the above implications, there are circuits in beta that involve the immediate co-presence of the virtual other, *A, and which, in the presence of the actual other, A, may be occupied by the actual other - not as externally coupled and re-presented, but as allowing for the primary dyadic organization to recreate itself in the near-(proto)dialogic closure formed by A and B in the dyadic network realized by their bodies in concert. When this occurs, as in the smiling contact or duet between Naseeria and her father, their dyadic closure may be portrayed as in Fig. 3.1 (ii). They may be seen to form an operationally closed system: The dyadic organization of father and infant involves processes that are self-creative and non-symbolic, interlaced in the specific network of processes which realizing the network that generates them constitute it as an operationally closed dyadic unity. Naturally, this presupposes that Naseeria is not too tired, or hungry, or in pain, and that the father is not stressed, or pressed for time, or having his attention diverted elsewhere. Hence, there will be intervening periods when they are out of reciprocal contact with each other. The dyadic closure may only come about in rare and precious moments. But when it does it appears to demonstrate the wonderful capacities of even the prematurely born to engage patterns of turntaking and bodily attunement.

Protoconversation and replications by one organization, not two

We are now in a position to consider the patterns of apparent imitation exhibited by infant-adult dyads. In order to do this the notion of dialogic closure generated in infant-adult interplay needs to made more precise.

Dialogic closure defined

The same kind of dialogic closure may be expected to be exhibited by the individual, in dialogue with the virtual other, and by two individuals in concert, when in dialogue with the actual other. A key term is that of the dialogic closure of the auto-organizing dyad of the infant and the adult. This involves, as I have attempted to indicate, an immediate mode of reciprocity, as distinct from modes of relating to the other as re-presented or generalized in some language mediating the relation.
Piaget has introduced the notion of an autoregulative organization that pertains to sensori-motoric operations, as well as to concrete and formal symbolic operations. The organization is closed in the sense that processes of transformation occur without the participation of outside elements. It is creative in the sense of organizing itself by organizing its world. These characteristics apply also to a self-organizing dyad as specified above. By virtue, however, of the inherent reciprocity attributed to the auto-organizing dyad in and between individuals, it is seen to recreate itself without any qualitative jump also in processes of communication between individuals. To say, then, that a particular system exhibits dialogic closure (or dialogic self-creation) is the same as to say that

(def.i) it is defined as a unity constituted by the reciprocal inter-operations of self-creative processes

(def.ii) interlaced in the specific network that generates them as dialogue participants, actual or virtual, and such that

(def.iii) they constitute the network as organizationally and operationally closed dyadic unity in the companion space for dialoging in which they participate.6

To the observer of two separate information-processing systems with input-output linkages, or of two organisms, each organizationally closed and only externally coupled, perfect co-ordination and imitation exhibited by the infant-adult dyad may appear impressive, even mysterious. If such patterns are exhibited, however, by one organism, observed to complete and repeat its own gestures in a rhythmic pattern, then the same observer need not be impressed, even though the embodied nervous system may involve, in another domain, the operations of two brain hemispheres, the asymmetry of which may be present already in the human neonate.7
Trevarthen8 declares that the remarkable precocity of newborns for communication with the emotional and expressive states of other persons indicate that human cerebral perceptuo-motor systems include a great set that has inherent specialization for engagement with mental processes in other human subjects. This has been described above and elsewhere (Bråten, 1988 a) in terms of a dyadic organization involving a complementary participant, labeled a 'virtual other' as a part of the rudimentary self-organization of the infant. By virtue of this primary organization, the infant and its actual other, may combine to realize in concert this inherent dialogic organization, by being the actual other to each other. Hence, the patterns of perfect timing, impressive imitations and reciprocal follow up of gestures, are natural patterns of one, albeit asymmetric, dyadic organization, completing its own operationally closed circuits, and not the outcome of two monologic and monadic organizations attempting to be in concert through an external mediating bridge.9
In this way a reply in terms of dyadic closure is offered to the questions posed by Stern (1985) and Bates (1975). How is it, asks Daniel Stern (1985:51), that the infant can accomplish the feat of taking information received in one sensori modality and somehow translate it into another, or perhaps even makes use of a "mysterious amodal representation, which can then be recognized in any of the sensori modalities"? In light of the present thesis this may be seen to come about by virtue of an operationally closed dialogic organization, which allows for the immediate presence of the actual other's filling the companion space of the virtual other. I shall later indicate how the pheomenon of intersubjective feeling during infant-adult interplay may be seen to be generated in dyadic closure.
Considering various information processing models, Elizabeth Bates (1977:332) finds none that may account for imitation, and considers it a mystery how, for instance, imitation of tongue protrusion may be accomplished by the infant. How is it, she asks, that the child can take visual or auditory inputs from the behavior of conspecifics and translate that output into a motor analogue? When she asks for convincing explanations of imitation, and Schaffer (1984: 25; 121) expresses considerable doubts about the presence of the ability of imitation in the neonatal period, their questions reflect, as previously indicated, the position of considering the infant and the adult as two independent centers of bodily organization and nervous systems, as, indeed, the very notion of 'imitation' entails. The present thesis allows for the alternative interpretation of the infant and adult as one organizationally closed system with an inherent dyadic organization, capable of exhibiting patterns conforming to a protodialogic form. Then, what appears to the observer as turn-taking, complementary acts, and, even imitation, by two separate organism, may be instead be seen as internally coordinated, complementing and replicating processes by virtue of the organizationally closed system realizing itself through the two bodies distinguished by the observer. The question of how the child takes visual or auditory inputs from the behavior of conspecifics and translate that output into a motor analogue, reflects the consideration of the child as being in symbolic control and externally related to some other. For example, the ability to imitate tongue protrusion, requiring that visual images were converted into their proprioceptive equivalent, may appear to be doubtful or a mystery only as long as it is described in this manner in terms of one organism somehow copying the act of another, instead of being considered internally linked by the network of a dialogic organization, which reduces the act attributed as imitation to one of completion or repetition.

Accounting for intersubjective feelings

The postulated innate dyadic organization with a virtual other, *A, is attributed to the infant, B, who invites the actual adult other, A, to step into the dialogic helix that recreates itself through protodialogic participation of A and B. This allows one to consider the feeling in the individual, once constituted, and the feeling that is generated in protoconversation, in terms of the same dialogic self(re)creative form, involving, respectively, the virtual and the actual other. The intersubjective feeling with the actual other, A, has the same constituting operational form of dialogic closure as B's subjective feeling with B's virtual other, *A. Hence, there is to be expected in B a capacity for intersubjective feelings, that is, for B to feel with the actual other, A, who fills B's internal companion space. This reciprocal modus of immediate feelings I term the mode of felt immediacy. The dialogical ellipsis in each of them transforms itself into a dialogical ellipsis that encompass them both qua two reciprocal inter-operating foci.10
In conjunction with (q1.3), the principle of dialogic closure permits one to expect affect attunement at the interpersonal level:

(q3) By virtue of the child's inherent feelings for itself involving its virtual other, the child should be expected to feel (for) the lifeform of its actual other.

(q4) By virtue of the participation of a complementary process in the primary operation of the mind, the child should be able to feel the complementary perspective of its the actual other.

Thus, potentials for relations of feeling with the actual other are inherent in this initial dyad organization. Ego's inherent feelings with virtual alter enables feeling with actual alter in a modus of felt immediacy. If this is accepted, and the principle of the primary dialogic closure is assumed, then one should expect that the very young child, even the infant, can feel with the other even prior to the process of developing through socialization fragments of that which we label "concern for the other". To this I shall turn in chapters 6 and 7.
We are now also in a position to consider the issue of the infant's sensing and reacting to the actual other's affective expressions in a way that appears to translate and cross sensori modalities, for example, sensing the mother's mood, or feeling the intensity of father's fading feelings. With regard to the issue of how the infant experiences feeling qualities from within, as well as in the behavior of the other person, Stern refers to Susanne Langer's treatment of feeling and form.11 She proposes a route to get from perception to feeling. She describes how a work of art, such as a tree sculpture, can evoke the creation of a virtual kinetic volume of felt life, or how a two-dimensional painting can create the feeling of space with virtual three-dimensional properties of felt form. Is it possible, asks Stern, that the activation contours (intensity in time) perceived in another's overt behavior become a virtual feeling (vitality affect) when experienced in the self.12
It is entailed by the thesis of the virtual other and the above implications that when the actual other is present and filling the companion space of the virtual other, this feeling is actual, not virtual. Intersubjectivity of felt understanding during protoconversation may be said to come about when B's virtual other is replaced by A's actual other in B's companion space while the same basic mutual mode of felt immediacy maintains itself. Consider the form of these two statements:

(q5.1) subjective feelings are evoked in the
intra-personal domain of B's dialoging with his
virtual other, *A;

(q5.2) intersubjective feelings are evoked in the
inter-personal domain of B's dialoging with his
actual other, A.

If the formal identity of the two statements (f.i) and (f.ii) is accepted, then it follows that

(q5) intersubjective feeling with the actual other, A, has the same constituting dialogic form of felt immediacy as B's subjective feeling with B's virtual other, *A.

In terms of primary intersubjectivity, feelings at the level of the dyad cannot be divorced from mutual understanding in the dyad. The actual other entering the innate companion space is felt, in the double sense of the term "feeling": The actual other is sensed and felt from the inside of the dialogic closure, not then through re-presentational mediacy, but in the presentational mode of felt immediacy. As will be turned to later, in loving care there may also be reciprocal feelings in this double sense. For the mother, who during pregnancy has experienced the child as her actual companion, literally coming to fill the companion space of her virtual other, and now, after birth, engaging reciprocal and mutually complementary contact. There is mutuality and reciprocity in the loving care bestowed upon the other, each fulfilling the other's companion space in a mode of felt immediacy.

Discussion: Between immediate and mediate understanding
It follows from (q) that there can be no sharp division line between processes in the individual and the conversation processes between realized participants. The conversation or dialogue in the individual bears the same basic characteristics as the conversation or dialogue between individuals. These characteristics vary according to whether the participants are in immediate relation or symbolically mediated, and not according to whether they occur inside or across the attributed boundaries of the realized participants. In the case of B being a neonate in protoconversation with A, the modus is that of felt immediacy, not of representational mediacy, generated by a network of feelings in one dyadic organization realized by two participant organisms. The processing of felt differences are "not bounded by the skin" of one individual organism, as Gregory Bateson puts it, and yet is generated by one organization, not two. This is not one of symbiotic-like fusion, in which there is no sensation of self-other differences. Yet one need not assume that there is conscious knowledge of the other in the infant.
The thesis does not 'forbid' Alpha to bring to bear upon the interaction in the domain of the adult in caring control the culture into which she invites Beta; she will resort to language means and may activate and reflect upon images of herself and the baby during her caring. But the dialogic "dance" with the baby is here seen to come about through her being invited to step into the infant's dialogic circuit in immediate reciprocity. It actualizes itself in the domain of presentational immediacy where neither is re-presented to the other. Such immediate protoconversations may contribute to the later development of representations of self and of the other, that is to say, be part of the co-genesis of Self and of the generalized and represented Other, and, hence, for the construction of a linguistic consensual domain.
The account of protoconversation in terms of dialogic operational closure is proposed as complementary to an account in symbolic representational terms of the process of the child's coming to acquire access to the linguistic horizon in virtue of the cultural history which the adult brings to bear on the process. The symbolic control that the adult may exert rests on an initial immediacy of understanding which cannot be accounted for in terms of mediacy. Patterns of protoconversation and reciprocity occur in the absence of a common access to the cultural media of expression which the child gradually will come to acquire through the patterns uncovered by M.C. Bateson and others.
The neonate has already had months of experience of being in rhythmic synchronization with the medium in which he has existed prior to birth. But this is not an experience that prepare for the praxis of reciprocity in interaction, such as listening and responding with a complementary gesture to the gesture of the other, and sometimes, perhaps more difficult, responding to a gesture with a similar gesture, such as smiling or raising a hand. The proposed principle entails that acts of complementing and completing the acts of the actual other will come easier to the infant than acts of imitating, that is to say, responding in a complementary manner will be easier than responding in a copying manner. This requires in a way the ability to activate the perspective of the other, prior to its being internalized and mediated by the processes characterized by G.H. Mead. I submit that a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for this is the primary dyadic organization of the mind. The virtual other is not only an operational prerequisite, but a felt perspective, an unoccupied, yet efficient room that waits occupation, an as yet unrealized otherness that seeks to be realized by the actual other taking her internal place in the dialogical helix.

Corroborating findings

To the observer who perceives the interplaying participants as two separate monadic individuals, the recorded patterns of perfectly co-ordinated turn-taking may appear to be a feat, reciprocal cross-model matching of affect expressions a wonder, and imitation a mystery. We have seen, however, that such phenomena generated at the interpersonal level by infant-adult dyads invites the perspective of dyadic closure: the above phenomena may be seen to come about through the closed operations of one self-organizing dyad, exhibiting patterns conforming to a protodialogic form.13 The thesis entails that the self-organizing dyad of the infant's mind, involving a virtual other, seeks to recreate itself through inviting the actual other to replace the virtual other. This has been illustrated in Fig. 3.1, specifying the form of transition from domain (i), involving dialoging with a virtual other, to domain (ii) involving the protodialoging with the actual other, in accordance with the dialogic transform expressed by (T).
The above appears to be corroborated by the empirical investigations carried out by Trevarthen (1988) and his coworkers at the University of Edingburgh. In order to test ideas about how the infant can contribute flexibly to the mother-infant interaction, and how this contribution grows with the mother's help, they have carried out series of experimental studies involving infants of different ages. The observational arrangement permits the infant's and the mother's expressions and gestures to be concurrently video-recorded (with the baby's facing the camera and the mother, whose face turned towards the baby is being reflected to the camera by a mirror behind the baby). Conditions have been varied for the mother-infant engagement. For example, the mother has been asked to change her behaviour, or a stranger or an inanimate object have been substituted for her. Such experiments involves perturbation of what has been defined above as dialogic closure, and will be returned to in the next chapter. As pointed out by Trevarthen, one does not yet have a thorough description of how protoconversation is organized. Studies of such phenomena,14Bjørg Røed Hansen (1991b): article in periodical issued by the Norwegian Psychological Association..... and of their experimental perturbations, indicate that some features of the emotional and communicative organization of the baby's mind that invite the above kind of modeling:

"We have varied the conditions for mother-infant engagement: asked the mother to change her behavior, substituted a stranger or an inanimate object for her, and looked at the infants of different ages. These have been attempts to test ideas of how the infant can contribute flexibly to the interaction, and how this contribution grows with the mother's help. What we have found proves that there is something in in the mind of the baby, in its emotional and communicative organization, that expects and wellcomes the real mother. The Norwegian cognitive psychologist Stein Bråten calls this entity a 'virtual other'." (Trevarthen, 1988:15).

The series of studies and experiments that Trevarthen refers to above include studies of how babies react to various imposed conditions in which mothers' participation is perturbed as compared to natural interplay with their babies. Examples of conditions are artificially imposed perturbation of time pattern and facial expressions. To such studies I shall now turn.


1This should not be seen in the symbiotic image of a dual unity in which there is no self-other differentiation. In line with the scheme proposed in the previous chapter, distinct participant processes in complementary operation are presupposed by the dialogic organization, irrespective of whether it recreates within or between minds.
2I am grateful to Rita Anderson for calling my attention to this, when learning about my thesis of the virtual other, and inviting me to share her studies of video-recordings of the relational behavior of wolfs.
3Konrad Lorenz: Studies in Animal and Human Behavior. Vol. 1. London: Methuen & Co. 1970.
4That is why I hesitate to use the term "schema" for the virtual other attributed to the newborn child. It is postulated as innate, realized by the neurofysiological system of the child, but not in any sense of an image-like or symbolic representational entity. Bartlett, Piaget, and Neisser use the term "schema" in their accounts of perceptual and sensori-motoric structuring. Neisser (1976:54), for example, takes care to point out that a schema is that portion of the entire perceptual cycle which is internal to the perceiver, specific to what is being perceived, and modifiable by experience. It is an entire system that includes receptors and afferents, feed-forward units and efferents. If the latter were a statement about the virtual other, I would add that this system operates in a complementary and reciprocal manner to the primary self-system, so as to allow for dyadic networking internal to the infant's organization, and which permits the recreation of this networking in a dyadic organization when an actual other replaces the virtual other in a dialogic mode of felt immediacy. By virtue of this companion space of the virtual other being filled by actual others in interactional experience there will be co-ontogenesis of modifiable schemata concerning actual specific, and even generalized others.
5D. Stern: The Interpersonal World of the Infant, Basic Books, New York 1985. I am grateful to Sophie Freud and Colwyn Trevarthen for referring me to this work.
6The definition of dialogic closure relates to the way in which Maturana and Varela (1980) approach living systems organization in terms of autopoiesis, but applied herein applied to the domain of self-organizing dyads, not monadic or cell-like unities. It relates to the way in which Gordon Pask, and Varela following him, specifies conversational closure in linguistic domains of understanding mediated by conceptual processes in some language L. The operational notion of the virtual other now permits dialogic closure also to be specified for domains of immediate understanding prior to the formation of mediating symbolic forms.
7Cf. Springer and Deutsch,...... 1981:141
8C. Trevarthen: 'Development of Intersubjective Motor Control in Infants' in: M.G.Wade and H.Whiting (eds.) Motor Development. Martinus Nijhoff, Dordrecht 1986.
9Perhaps it takes a Copernican kind of paradigmatic shift to consider the postnatal organism as combining to form one organizationally closed dyad with the mother, without fusing with the actual other in a symbiotic-like unit, and yet, as different from regarding them as two separate organisms in interaction with another. But this is no dramatic shift of viewpoint, if one pauses to consider, as pointed out by Hermina Sinclair (personal communication), that the prenatal child constitutes with the mother an instance of another organizationally closed system, albeit then realized by one body inside another.
10In contradistinction to rationalistic perspectives that bracket feelings in their focus upon cognition in terms of reason and representations, here is distinguished a domain of felt immediacy, as complementary to the domain of mediated reason and representational mediacy. Later on, I shall indicate a domain in which even "objects", considered as abstract or concrete by an observer, may be constructed as alter-nating subjects (or subject matters) in a creative domain of presentational immediacy in the complementary participant space of the virtual other (Figure 1 (iii);(iv)).
11S.K. Langer: Mind: An Essay on Human Feelings, John Hopkins University Press. Baltimore 1967.
12D. Stern, op.cit., p.158.
13This should not be seen in the symbiotic image of a dual unity in which there is no self-other differentiation. In line with the scheme proposed in the previous chapter, distinct participant processes in complementary operation are presupposed by the dialogic organization, irrespective of whether it recreates within or between minds.
14Refer also to Bjørg Røed Hansen (1991a): Den første dialogen (The first dialogue). Oslo: Solum forlag.