This book has grown out of a loosely formed European project, the intercultural study of infantile regression periods (ISIRP), with the aim to test if indicators of regression can be found at similar ages in a number of different countries and cultures. The idea that motivated this book was initially put forward by Frans X Plooij and Hetty van de Rijt-Plooij who claimed that 10 periods of regression could be identified during the first 15 months of age, periods that they suspected to be biologically anchored and thus valid across cultures. A finding that came to be viewed as both challenging and provoking by the scientific community. For the group behind this volume, the researchers in the ISIRP-group, this idea created a renewed interest in processes of change in early infancy and it became a necessity to both replicate and to develop a coherent psychobiological theoretical understanding of the phenomenon. These common interests eventually lead to the suggestion of a book that addressed these issues and the first detailed plans were formed at one of the initial group meetings. This was at a symposium held at the University of Göteborg, Sweden on October 10 – 11, 1997 (The First Research Conference on Regression Periods in Early Infancy; chair: M. Heimann), a meeting used to discuss both replication studies and current theoretical issues.
It is my hope that the picture created by this volume will help to broaden our knowledge regarding phases of change or instability during early infancy. There seems to be more such phases than previously believed. However, the evidence put forward here are far from final. As becomes obvious when reading the chapters, there are still many unanswered questions. But this fact does not preclude a conclusion saying, based on our current evidence, that regression periods ought to be considered as a real phenomenon and dealt with accordingly whenever developmental processes in infancy are discussed. The reader should read each chapter and judge the data presented as well as the arguments put forward. Hopefully, the reader will reach a conclusion similar to that put forth herein.
Mahwah, NJ, USA: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2003. , 220 p.