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A PSYCHOLOGIC INTERPRETATION OF THE PERSISTENCE OF THE SO-CALLED MORO REFLEX

WAYNE DENNIS
Am J Dis Child. 1935;50(4):888-893. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1935.01970100066006.
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In recent years several authors have held that persistence of the so-called Moro Umklammerungsreflex, or embrace reflex, beyond the early months of life is pathologic. This response, in brief, is a quick spreading apart of the arms on appropriate stimulation. Gordon1 said: "Persistence of the Moro reflex in children above the age of six months signifies injury of the cerebral or the pyramidal tract." Dupérié and Barques2 reported that abnormal persistence occurs in cases of encephalopathy, hydrocephaly and mongolism and of arrest of mental development. Moro3 noted that its persistence is associated with pathologic conditions.

It is apparent that any behavior which has a claim to such significance is worthy of attention from the pediatrician, the neurologist and the child psychologist alike. As a child psychologist, I have been interested for some time in the response under discussion. I wish to show that it is erroneous to

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