Also called early reflexes, baby reflexes, retained or unintegrated primitive reflexes.
Persistent primitive reflexes (PPR) are reflex actions that are exhibited by normal infants, but not neurologically intact adults, in response to particular stimuli. These reflexes are suppressed as a child grows, mostly within the first 18 months of birth. These primitive reflexes are also called infantile, infant or newborn reflexes. Examples are rooting reflex, sucking reflex, moro reflex, asymmetrical tonic neck reflex.
The theory is that such primitive reflexes may not entirely disappear, and cause interference with normal motor behaviour, and behaviour in general. Indeed that many difficulties in adult life may have its origin in disturbances in motor development.
The subject was first brought to the attention of the Alexander teacher community by the teacher Ray Evans, and examined in more detail by Gitte D. Fjordbo. She argues that the Alexander Technique does not deal with PPR.
Writings – Books
- On the Development of Habit by Gitte D. Fjordbo considers to what extent the persistence of early reflexes influences habitual use and to what extent the Technique can affect such early reflexes.
- Why We Have To Crawl . . . by Gitte D. Fjordbo is a thesis, which argues that many difficulties in adult life may have its origin in disturbances in motor development. It discusses other methods than the Alexander Technique.
Writings – Articles
- ‘What have primitive reflexes to do with me?’ by Miriam A. Wohl is a short introductory article, written in view of an upcoming workshop with Dr Peter Blythe and Ray Evans.
- ‘When conscious control is not an option and the “right thing” does not do itself’ by Gitte Dollerup Fjordbo discusses how PPR can cause compensatory mechanisms (e.g. freezing, fright) and how the Technique may interrupt such mechanisms, without integrating PPR. She introduces her own inhibition method, Essential Presence in Touch™.
- The Primitive Reflexes and Human Behaviour DVD by Ray Evans is a video of a workshop introducing PPR.