Neurobiology of parenting and early attachment relationships
Doctoral Course in Cognitive Science - PhD Talk
Within the MIUR programme framework “Dipartimenti di Eccellenza”
- Lane Strathearn - University of Iowa (USA)
Scientific coordinator: Simona De Falco
This presentation will introduce attendees to the neurobiology of parenting and early attachment relationships. It will describe how compromised early experience, including insecure attachment, early abuse/neglect, and unresolved trauma, may influence the neural pathways associated with parental responsiveness. Data of a longitudinal study of women and their infants will be discussed, examining maternal brain and hormone responses to infant facial expressions using functional MRI. These results suggest that individual differences in maternal attachment may be linked with development of the dopaminergic and oxytocinergic neuroendocrine systems. This work also explores maternal brain responses of drug-addicted mothers, and the potential role of intranasal oxytocin to enhance parental caregiving.