Born to Connect

Psychology studies can seem confusing and contradictory. Mom Psych cuts through the clutter to bring the latest research home.


What experiences are necessary for the developing infant brain? It may seem obvious, but the first needs of human beings include cuddling, healthy touch and gentle, affectionate stimulation. To develop what psychologists call “secure attachment” infants need caretakers who are attuned to their emotions, who demonstrate that they love them, who meet their needs, calm their fears, keep them safe and encouragingly help them achieve physical milestones. When these basic needs are withheld, the brain’s corresponding neurosystems are shaped accordingly. Since they are “use-dependent,” the systems that do not become stimulated at this crucial time will not develop, and these are the very areas of the brain that moderate our ability to maintain healthy relationships, to respond appropriately to stress, and to mediate pleasure and empathy