Infant Response, Long-Term Psychological Effects, and Why Circumcision Continues

Cultural and medical views of newborn infants have changed drastically over the years.   This session, the first lecture in Part II of our Intact Boy series, is led by Ronald Goldman, Ph.D.  Dr. Goldman provides an introductory overview of the research on newborn infant sensory response, movement, expression, learning, and pain response and infant response to circumcision.  The lecture addresses the following questions:
  • How does being circumcised feel to the newborn infant? Does the newborn infant feel “discomfort” or extreme pain?
  • Does it matter how circumcision feels to the newborn infant? Can newborn infants remember their experience?
  • Is an infant too young to experience trauma?
  • Are there any examples of events around birth that have a long-term effect on adult
    behavior?
  • Can memory of birth be documented?

Dr. Goldman applied the clinical definition of trauma to circumcision to find symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder in circumcised men. This new perspective offers clues that could explain certain male feelings, attitudes, and behaviors.  This session concludes with an exploration of the psychosocial factors that perpetuate circumcision.  In an examination of individual and institutional resistance to change, learn how cultural, emotional, behavioral, and psychological factors affect attitudes and behaviors about circumcision and related matters.  Various anxieties, beliefs, and values impede change – see how we can ignore or deny what is literally in front of our eyes.

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