Posted By Jennie Chancey 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.