This article focuses on the role of instinctual/affective forces in internalization, a process that both Piaget and Vygotsky identified as the primary mechanism underlying the development of higher mental structures and functions. Although important differences exist in these two theorists’ conceptualizations of internalization, they shared the view that internalization builds cognitive structure by reconstituting external interactions in a new form on an internal plane. Despite acknowledging the social context of these external interactions, however, neither theorist paid adequate attention to the instinctual/ affective components of the internalization process. To put intellectual development back into its instinctual/affective context, a third theory is introduced – that of Hans Loewald, a contemporary psychoanalyst. Loewald shares Piaget’s and Vygotsky’s emphasis on internalization as the basic way of functioning of the human mind, but integrates instinctual/affective forces into the process. The most comprehensive and integrated picture of internalization and its instinctual/affective components may emerge from the mutual application of all three theories to problems of mutual interest.

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