Saturday, November 26, 2005

Monkey Business

The following seems to suggest that there may be neurological evidence for attachment parenting theories and for John Bowlby's theories(check out Chapter 3 for brief synoposis), particularly with regards to all those cases of institutionalised orphans whose first years appeared to affect them in the long term.

From 19 November issue of The New Scientist, with last bit now under subscription, but don't worry, not too substantive:

"The richness of a primate's environment affects its brain structure, a new study with marmosets suggests"

"An examination of the monkeys' brains showed that those housed in the second two types of cage (which were larger and contained toys and structures that encouraged the monkeys to forage), developed denser neuron growth and almost double the amount of certain synaptic proteins that the brain uses to relay messages between neurons...(which) reflects not only how much a monkey has learned, but also its ability to learn".


Leo said...

Tests with monkey in cages with lots of toys supports attachment parenting?

Carlotta said...

Hi Leo,

I do agree with you that using such tests should be potentially a mark of pure scientism. However, it just could be that there is something in this. Much of Bowlby's theorising stemmed from seeing what happened to children in orphanages who had been badly neglected in the first year, the fact that they would have long-standing difficulties with relationships and even language and cognition.

This must remain at a purely hypothetical stage, given that the problem of consciousness remains, but the fact that deprivation in the first year could have significant long term neurological implications, well it might just shift some parents into listening to their infants properly and addressing their needs.

Of course, we would say they should do this for ethical reasons alone, but clearly so far the call on this front has been insufficient to the task of getting parents to do this.