How love goes to one’s head

Posted By on March 29, 2012

Yet another reason babies need their mothers and the intimate bonding that comes through close, constant contact:

Okay, here’s something positive about brain research. In fact, this piecefrom the New York Times Opinionator blog waxes lyrical on the subject, with good reason since it describes the brain’s response to love (and the withdrawal of it) throughout our lives. The information comes from the science of interpersonal neurobiology.

It starts — or at least begins in a new way — at birth, reports Diane Ackerman, in the intimate bond between the infant and mother.

Brain scans show synchrony between the brains of mother and child; but what they can’t show is the internal bond that belongs to neither alone, a fusion in which the self feels so permeable it doesn’t matter whose body is whose. Wordlessly, relying on the heart’s semaphores, the mother says all an infant needs to hear, communicating through eyes, face and voice. Thanks to advances in neuroimaging, we now have evidence that a baby’s first attachments imprint its brain. The patterns of a lifetime’s behaviors, thoughts, self-regard and choice of sweethearts all begin in this crucible.

This “neural alchemy” continues throughout life in every important relationship. The sense of feeling loved and cared for shapes the brain and the brain in turn shapes our relationships. (Obviously the sense of not being loved also makes its mark.) Loving relationships contribute to longevity, medical and mental health, happiness and even wisdom.

Read the full piece HERE.

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About The Author

Jennie is the wife of Matthew and mother of ten children, all of whom keep the household bubbling with life, learning, and levity. Jennie co-founded LAF in 2002 with Lydia Sherman and has been delighted to hear from women all over the world who enjoy their femininity and love to cultivate womanly virtues.

Comments

3 Responses to “How love goes to one’s head”

  1. defman says:

    This is 100% TRUE.

  2. LindaMA says:

    Ever since I first read Konrad Lorenz’s “King Solomon’s Ring” I have wondered if his studies in imprinting in young animals didn’t have implications for human beings. What are the implications of the loss of mother-infant bonding time when the child is fed by bottle-propping, of being carried about in a plastic carry chair instead of human arms or of spending half or more of his waking hours in daycare? Could this be the cause of the rise in incidence of children and young adults who have no empathy, no identification with other human beings? That they didn’t receive the imprinting experience?
    Linda Albert

  3. Excellent point, Linda. There are many studies on fatherlessness and crime that affirm what you are talking about. I also worry about children who spend more time in the virtual world (texting, cyber-chatting) than they do face-to-face with other human beings. There are vast implications for the next generation that I don’t think we are taking the time to carefully explore and understand.

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