Common parenting mechanisms of humans, animals could improve social development
A new study has suggested that the parenting of humans and animals share several common mechanisms which can ultimately lead to a better social development.
The researchers, Larry Young and James Rilling, from the Yerkes National Primate Research Center reviewed that the biological mechanisms governing a shift in mammals' parental motivation began with aversion and then transformed into irresistible attraction after giving birth.
According to Young, they had learned a tremendous amount about the specific hormonal and brain mechanisms regulating parental behavior and how parental nurturing influenced the development of the offspring brain by using animal models, and many of those same mechanisms influenced human parenting behavior as well.
Young and Rilling said that the same molecules that prepared the uterus for pregnancy, stimulated milk production and initiated labor also activated specific neural pathways to motivate parents to nurture, bond with and protect their offspring.
Rilling added that the human brain had mechanisms in place to support parent-child bonding, and when functioning properly, these mechanisms facilitated the development of secure attachment and sound mental health that was transmitted across generations.
Young further added that with this comprehensive review, they could see nervous system correlations across species that resulted in positive and negative parental care and this information was critical to further studying social development in order to facilitate positive parental behaviors that would benefit generations to come.
The study is published in the journal of Science.
(Posted on 15-08-2014)