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A biological basis for the Oedipus complex: an evolutionary and ethological approach
Am J Psychiatry 1975;132:602-606.
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Abstract

The authors propose that the Oedipus complex has a strong biological basis that is evident in observations of human prehistoric and nonhuman primate behavior. The groundwork for the oedipal phase is the peaking of human infantile sexuality at age five or six-a vestige of an earlier biological timetable. Other contributing factors include the high level of helplessness of human infants, the resulting high attachment needs, and the prolongation of development phases. Unsuccessful resolution of the oedipal phase may result when the mother's dominant status is lowered. The authors suggest that an understanding of the relationship between sex and rank and an wareness of ethological findings can broaden psychodynamic formulations and enrich the psychoanalytic therapy of sexual problems.

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