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The Cultural Nature of AttachmentContextualizing Relationships and Development$
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Heidi Keller and Kim A. Bard

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780262036900

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262036900.001.0001

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Neural Foundations of Variability in Attachment

Neural Foundations of Variability in Attachment

Chapter:
(p.245) 10 Neural Foundations of Variability in Attachment
Source:
The Cultural Nature of Attachment
Author(s):

Allyson J. Bennett

William D. Hopkins

Ruth Feldman

Valeria Gazzola

Jay Giedd

Michael E. Lamb

Dirk Scheele

Margaret A. Sheridan

Stephen J. Suomi

Akemi Tomoda

Nim Tottenham

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262036900.003.0010

Neuroscience offers insight into processes that support the development of the social brain within the cultural contexts that permit attachment relationships to form. Both human and nonhuman animal studies are critical to inform theory development and hypothesis testing via descriptive and experimental studies. A scientifically valid evolutionary theory is necessary to account for the remarkable diversity of parenting systems across human and many nonhuman animals. This chapter examines the neural foundations of attachment and poses critical questions that relate to the initiation of this relationship: How does attachment interface with brain development? What is the interplay between attachment and brain development (including elements of bidirectionality)? Are there negative consequences associated with variation in attachment, and are they reversible? Rather than conceptualizing attachment in terms of a single type of relationship, or a rigid developmental channel, this chapter proposes that an expanded consideration of variation is necessary to understand the neural foundations of infant-caregiver relationships, and the role of those relationships in developing competence across the life span. This approach will permit identification of common neurobiological elements of attachment as well as the remarkable plasticity and diversity within and across individuals, cultures, and species.

Keywords:   Strüngmann Forum Reports, attachment, nonhuman animal, brain, hormone, epigenetic, comparative

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