23 February 2010

Affection and attachment are linked to brain development

Positive interactions with adults create emotional information that is integrated by the amygdala and stored in the hippocampus of the developing brain. These interactions including holding, singing, kissing, and gazing, spark neurochemical activities and aid in the organization and wiring of the brain. Even after emotional memories cannot be remembered, they continue to play a large role in relationship development and attachment. One-on-one interactions with adults develop the brain and strengthen the areas that teach children how to communicate in social contexts. Infants who experienced secure, positive interactions with adults are more likely to be able to establish healthy relationships later in life.

Before an infant’s sense of smell, sound, or taste has developed, the sense of touch dominates his experiences with the world. The part of the nervous system responsible for touch is the somatosensory system. It helps to shape health, sensitivity, motor skills, and even emotional wellbeing. Touch therapy and affection have been attributed to better weight gain, healthy growth, and social development in infants. Because brain growth is so rapid within the first year, affectionate interactions are vital for optimal brain development.

Holden, Barbara. (n.d.). The Urban Child Institute, Retrieved from http://www.theurbanchildinstitute.org/Downloads/FirstYearsColumn/03_04_08_Holden.pdf

Attachment and the role of the caregiver. (n.d.). Better Brains for Babies, Retrieved from http://www.bbbgeorgia.org/attachCareGiver.php

Attachment . (n.d.). Better Brains for Babies, Retrieved from http://www.bbbgeorgia.org/attach.php

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