The impact of early maternal love on the development of the brain

Discussion in 'Science' started by chainbolt, Jan 31, 2012.

  1. chainbolt

    chainbolt Member

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    To put it in academic terms:

    Maternal support in early childhood predicts larger hippocampal volumes at school age


    Published today by the National Academy of Science of the United States.

    In simple words: The more love we get in early childhood the better for the development of our brain.
     
  2. RobRoySyd

    RobRoySyd Member

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    Someone told me today there's a correlation between how close the baby's crib was to the door in an ophanage and how well it fared in later life. The babies closet to the door were the ones most picked up. Human contact is vital for our development and even our wellbeing throughout life. I think it could have a major impact in the twilight years as well. This study seems to confirm this.
     
  3. OP
    OP
    chainbolt

    chainbolt Member

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    That supportive parenting in early childhood has a positive impact for its later "sociability" seems to be a commonly recognized fact. But it was new to me that increased human contact at this stage is directly affecting the growth of the hippocampus. I am not aware that anything like this has so far been described.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. RobRoySyd

    RobRoySyd Member

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    Like you I've not seen anything previously that shows any physical affects on brain development from the lack human contact but its hardly surprising I guess as the anecdotal evidence is very strong.

    Babies can suffer from "hungry skin", when I said "human contact" I meant it literally as in touching, hugging etc. What you have raised is interesting to me at least as I have a parent sufferring from mild but progressive dementia and skin hunger is certainly an issue for him. Trying to convince the doctors and family that what seems to be inappropriate sexual behavior is nothing more than an expression of the need for physical contact is difficult.

    Back on topic there's some comment on the research here: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/757933
     
  5. Linkin

    Linkin Member

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    Kids without proper loving and/or role models grow up with issues. Who'da thunk it. (Note: I grew up without much a father figure, through a divorce, being the eldest, etc - it was NOT fun and affects me to this day.)
     
  6. JolyV

    JolyV Member

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  7. CZA

    CZA Member

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    Depression in general seems to work against hippocampal growth (presumably) through disruption of normal BDNF signalling, I'm guessing this is just another aspect of it, interesting though!
     
  8. mareke

    mareke Member

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    I watched an interesting documentary on SBS recently (you can watch it in the link below before it expires) called 'Are You Good or Evil?'. It revealed that people society would label as evil (psychopaths) are born as well as made. There are genes that predispose people to being psychopaths but a happy early childhood in which you receive lots of love and caring can mean that the predisposition doesn't come out. One of the scientists that did the research was shocked to find that he had the gene markers and brain structure of a psychopath but because he received a lot of love during his childhood he didn’t become one. His children however after learning this commented that certain not so attractive personal qualities their father had now made sense. Apparently if you have the genes for psychopathy and you also have a traumatic early childhood during which you receive little or no love you will most likely become a psychopath and either wind up in jail or become successful in industry by ruthlessly trampling over others. Free will and choice plays some role but far less than we think.

    Worried about going to hell after you die? It seems that your fate may have been already sealed while you were in the womb if the genetic lottery dealt you a bad hand and your parents are arseholes. Free will and choice still plays a part but much less than was previously thought. A murderer in the US was found guilty of a lesser but still serious offence of manslaughter after a scientist testified that the guy had the genes for psycopathy and didn't have the capacity to feel any empathy for his victim that would prevent a 'normal' person from doing what he did. I couldn't help thinking about the religious implications of this because for those that believe in a God and one being accountable for ones deeds after we die the evidence emerging suggests that God creates psychopaths and then presumably sends them to hell for acting according to their nature (seems a bit unfair to me).

    http://www.sbs.com.au/documentary/video/2243498755/Are-You-Good-Or-Evil?
     
  9. OP
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    chainbolt

    chainbolt Member

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    Absolutely scary. Something like the story in "Minority Report": "preemptive" assumption of evil based on genetic disposition.
     
  10. mareke

    mareke Member

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    The implications of what scientists are discovering about a tendency to being evil being partly genetic, partly upbringing and only partly free will and choice are profound both for science and religion and our justice system. Already in the US a killer has been convicted of a lesser crime due to a scientist testifying that the man's genes and upbringing predisposed him to acting in an anti-social manner. The scientist that testified acknowledged that this didn't absolve the man of responsibility or consequences for his actions.
     
  11. DrFrag

    DrFrag Member

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    It'd probably be a selling point for Christianty. Mainstream Christianity already teaches that everyone is a "sinner" and people can't get to heaven by being good, Jesus is the only way, etc.

    Thanks for the doco link, I should watch it as soon as I've finished Silence of the Lambs. I'm halfway through and Hopkins is so brilliant and creepy.
     
  12. OP
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    chainbolt

    chainbolt Member

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    You give it a "positive" spin. I see an additional danger in regard of genetic screening and discrimination as a result.
     
  13. mareke

    mareke Member

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    I see the advancement of knowledge as inevitable and positive while the misapplication of such knowledge is a separate issue. The more we understand about why people behave the way they do the better. Hundreds of years ago people who were mentally ill were burned at the stake because they were seen as possesed by the devil but today we know better. Aborting a fetus because the fetus was found on testing to have the genes for psychopathy would be evil but trying to ensure that such a child got lots of love and nurturing in early childhood might be an appropriate use of the knowledge.

    Unsophisticated fundamentalist Christians would use it that way. They would say that all evil comes from man and all good comes from God. I once told a door knocker who wanted to convert me to Christianity that God created at least some of the 'evil' in the world e.g. natural evils like illnesses that have a genetic basis etc and the man looked at me aghast and turned and walked away in disgust and revulsion at my suggesting such a thing. I also once told an extremely self-righteous ‘Christian’ woman that whether or not we turn out good or evil is partly a matter of chance i.e. our genes and upbringing as well as our free will and that under slightly different circumstances she might have turned out evil and she also looked at me aghast and insisted this was wrong (understandable because then she couldn't indulge in one of her greatest pleasures; self-righteously judging and condemning evil people). The research results revealed in the documentary shown on SBS support my view.

    The documentary suggests that people like Hannibal Lector are partly the result of their genes born, partly the result of their upbringing and partly by choice. The same applies to unusually good people. Food for thought!
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2012

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