Communitas pp 13-22 | Cite as

Contrasts: Communitas and False Communitas

  • Edith Turner
Part of the Contemporary Anthropology of Religion book series (CAR)


Scientific studies confirm humankind’s innate capacity to recognize a relationship of communitas. In the late 1970s, Colwyn Trevarthen, a child neurologist at the School of Neurobiology at Edinburgh University, found that babies at two months old can recognize their mothers in a live picture on two-way television, which provides warm interactive communication between baby and mother. The babies can distinguish between two things: seeing their mothers live, and seeing a delayed replay, a mere copy of the sight of their mothers in an “off the mark” communication. Many repeated tests involving two-way television and volunteer mothers with their babies have shown that babies can indeed distinguish the live image from the replay. Here are excerpts from two of Trevarthen’s articles.


Child Neurologist Corporate World Check Account Affectionate Tone Baby Talk 
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© Edith Turner 2012

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  • Edith Turner

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