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Neurology of Infant Attachment Group 1 – Week 9 Alyona Koneva Kindra Akridge Amanda Ayoub Kim, Barbara S.

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Presentation on theme: "Neurology of Infant Attachment Group 1 – Week 9 Alyona Koneva Kindra Akridge Amanda Ayoub Kim, Barbara S."— Presentation transcript:

1 Neurology of Infant Attachment Group 1 – Week 9 Alyona Koneva Kindra Akridge Amanda Ayoub Kim, Barbara S.

2 1. What did Bowlby propose? Infant relationships define future relationships Stressed importance of understanding early attachment to the mother Defined infant attachment in a specific framework that is testable and transferable to humans Infants rapidly attach to caregiver even under shock abuse Imprinting- altricial infants will attach to even a non- parental caregiver during the critical period.

3 1. How does this concern humans and animals in general? This framework gives us a model to explore human and animal attachments, especially attachment to abusive parents. Human infants also attach to their caregivers, even when abused Other altricial infants have a critical period during which they attach to their primary caregiver, even when experiencing pain

4 2. What is an altricial species? Why do they require such intensive care? In bird and mammals, altricial species have newly-hatched or newly-born young who are relatively immobile, lack hair or down, and must be cared for by adults. Birds, cats, dogs, and humans are all altricial species. Without proximity seeking behaviors to keep them close to adult care; food, warmth, and protection, these young would not survive. In fact, when an altricial mother abandons her young, they will die if not cared for by a surrogate parent.

5 3. What is stated about attachment in altricial species? Altricial species depend upon learning about the mother to form attachment Infants learn rapidly about their mother following birth via olfactory and somatosensory pathways This child will nurse from her own mother, but pull away from another lactating mother who offers to feed her. Only severe hunger will induce an infant to nurse from a stranger.

6 4. Explain the development of the attachment imprinting model in some detail. 1.Created infant rat model similar to Bowlby model 2.Modeled rapid odor learning with rat pups using classical conditioning paradigm wherein novel odor paired with positive stimulus – stroking or with shock or novel odor paired with shock. 3.Sensitive period (PN12) learn aversions quickly and odor preferences less.

7 4. What paradoxical findings are discussed? Shock-induced preference learning seems counter-intuitive Early painful experiences do not prevent attachment Attachment in spite of painful experience may have developed to prevent pups from developing aversion to their mother. The mother is their only source of food, nurture and protection, despite rough treatment which is normal in the nest.

8 4. Can you relate them to human development examples? Human infants form attachments to their caregivers, even when abused. This response may have evolved because many non- dangerous stimuli are painful/distressing for a newborn infant during the sensitive period for attachment, such as: loud noise, bright light, hunger, thirst, cold, diaper changes, baths, etc. Children are most often abused by their own parents. Children almost never report the abuse.

9 5. What is the sensitive period? The sensitive period is the time during which altricial animals/birds are most able to form attachment to their caregiver. It begins immediately after birth and continues until the animal/bird becomes matures to a point of decreasing dependency upon the mother/caregiver for survival.

10 7.What brain structures are involved in the attachment processes? Olfactory input from olfactory bulb is sent to the locus coerulus (LC) which causes it to produce noradrenalin – increasing attachment During infancy, the amygdala doesn’t function as much, which prevents the pups from learning aversion to pain.

11 7. What brain structures are involved in the attachment process? Olfactory Bulb Functional Anatomy Neonatal odor learning produces changes in the olfactory bulb. The bulb is a simple structure with functional cell groupings called glomeruli that are intermediary between the input from the receptors on the olfactory nerve and the output via mitral cell dendrites. The glomerulus response in neonatal rats to an odor is modified after learning, with a corresponding change in the output signal of the olfactory bulb via the mitral cells Mitral cells Olfactory sensory neurons Tufted cells Granulle cells Periglomerular cells Glomerulus

12 5. What is significant about the sensitive period?

13 6. What are the long-term consequences of odors learned in infancy?


15 Just thought this was a great picture to show that imprinting can occur with a surrogate mother in the absence of the natural mother. I don’t have a place to put it.


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