Psychotherapy and Neuroscience

Initial Social Reward Goals

According to Bronson (1971) the infant’s behavioral decisions are inherently guided by the following social goals.  The infant tries 1.) to maintain a presence near mother (for sense of relatedness and safety), 2.) to approach pleasing and novel objects and people (to help to develop autonomy from mother and gain a sense of self), 3.) to avoid that which is unfamiliar and too frightening (to maintain stability and a positive sense of well-being), and 4.) to gain a sense of contingency between the environment and his/her own actions (to acquire and develop a sense of competence).


Bronson, W.C. (1974). The growth of competence: issues of conceptualization and measurement.  In: H.R. Schaffer, The origins of human social relations, (pp. 269-280).  New York: Academic Press.