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How Affection Shapes a Baby's Brain

In Why Love Matters, Sue Gerhardt, a psychotherapist, has bravely gone where most in recent years have feared to tread. She takes the hard language of neuroscience and uses it to prove the soft stuff of attachment theory. Picking up your crying baby or ignoring it may be a matter of parental choice, but the effects will be etched on your baby's brain for years to come. Putting your one-year-old in a nursery or leaving them with a childminder may turn out to be a more momentous decision than you thought.

Gerhardt is not interested in cognitive skills - how quickly a child learns to read, write, count to 10. She's interested in the connection between the kind of loving we receive in infancy and the kind of people we turn into. Who we are is neither encoded at birth, she argues, nor gradually assembled over the years, but is inscribed into our brains during the first two years of life in direct response to how we are loved and cared for.

Minding the baby
The Guardian . Book Review (2004)
Why Love Matters: How Affection Shapes a Baby's Brain, by Sue Gerhardt
Rebecca Abrams

1st May 2019
Why Pregnancy Matters by Sue Gerhardt


Continuum concept (wiki)

The continuum concept is an idea, coined by Jean Liedloff in her 1975 book The Continuum Concept, that human beings have an innate set of expectations (which Liedloff calls the continuum) that our evolution as a species has designed us to meet in order to achieve optimal physical, mental, and emotional development and adaptability. According to Liedloff, in order to achieve this level of development, young humans (especially babies) require the kind of experience to which our species adapted during the long process of our evolution by natural selection.


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