Logico-affective States and Nonverbal Language

  • B. Hermelin
  • N. O’connor
Part of the Current Issues in Autism book series (CIAM)


Between the idea/And the reality/Between the motion/And the act/Falls the shadow. These lines from T. S. Eliot’s poem, “The Hollow Men,” are presented as an introduction to this chapter because they raise in one’s mind the question “What intervenes?” In what follows it will be argued that the shadow between motion and act is frequently “affect.” Affect, it will be suggested, interacts with reason, producing a cognitive-emotional or logicoaffective mental state or system. It will be argued that what gives autism its distinctive quality is a distortion in this logico-affective system, a disturbance that is particularly evident in language, whether spoken, written, or signed, partly because language serves both a cognitive and a communicative purpose. Language as a medium of communication, rather than as a vehicle for thought, involves not only cognitive, but also affective elements, although these are also often conveyed through nonverbal expressions. In this chapter, evidence will be presented that indicates not only abnormalities in the verbal, but also in the nonverbal language functions of autistic children.


Facial Expression Nonverbal Behavior Nonverbal Communication Verbal Language Retarded Child 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. Hermelin
    • 1
  • N. O’connor
    • 1
  1. 1.Medical Research CouncilInstitute of EducationLondon WC1England

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