Developing Brain

Two Americas: Two Moralities: Two Cultural Brains


Culture, Parenting, violence


James W. Prescott, Ph.D.

This writer has previously proposed that Two Americas exist because our Two Humanities with our Two Moralities have been generated by our Two Cultural Brains that have been formed by the two evolutionary life experiences of Pain and Pleasure, which encodes our evolutionary and developing brain for Peace or Violence. This worldview can be seen at the following sites:

SIMONE DE BEAUVOIR (1949/20 in The Second Sex noted the two moralities that divide Man and Woman—our Humanity—that propels Humanity toward Peace or Violence:

The mother would enjoy the same lasting prestige as the father if she assumed equal material and moral responsibility for the couple; the child would feel an androgynous world around her and not a masculine world; were she more affectively attracted to her father—which is not even certain—her love for him would be nuanced by a will to emulate him and not a feeling of weakness: she would not turn to passivity “ (p.761).

Does Beauvoir imply that the daughter is responsible for her Father’s affection? The responsibility for affection resides with the parent not the child. If the parent fails in this most important behavior, who is responsible? Their parents who did not receive the love from their parents as a child or is culture ultimately responsible for the values and behaviors it creates?

Without moral equality between Man and Woman an androgynous world is not possible and Imperial Masculinity prevails. Beauvoir noted that Pythagoras (circa 582-507 B.C.) set the world stage for gender morality:

There is a good principle that created order, light and man; and a bad principle that created chaos, darkness and woman.

This is structured in Greek, Judaic, Christian and Islamic theology:

“Woman is the origin of sin, and it is through her that we all die.” (Ecclesiasticus 25:24)

“The female is female by virtue of a certain lack of qualities”, Aristotle said. “We should regard women’s nature as suffering from natural defectiveness.” And Saint Thomas in his turn decreed that woman was an “incomplete man,” an “incidental” being” (p.5)


Islamic Taliban violence against Women and her Children is well documented. In these traditions Woman is Chaos and Darkness (Sin); Man is Order and Light (Virtue). This philosophical/theological chasm divides Humanity which cannot be bridged but only abandoned, as human history attests and if Peaceful, Harmonious, Egalitarian Relationships are to become a reality.

There is another solution to this philosophical/theological entrapment and that is through affective nurturance in the maternal-infant/child relationship; and in the youth sexual affectionate relationships, as documented above and elsewhere.



We are reminded of Professor Hrdy’s (1999) observations in Mother Nature:

“Great Ape mothers carry their infants wherever they go. Fathers, by comparison, are rarely in direct contact with babies” (p.205). And “It was the mother who continuously carried the infant in skin-to-skin contact-stomach to stomach, chest to breast. Soothed by her heartbeat, nestled in the heat of her body, rocked by her movements, the infant’s entire world was its mother. (p. 98).
“…no wild monkey or ape mother has ever been observed to deliberately harm her own baby”(p.179). Emphasis added.

What has happened along the evolutionary trail where human maternal violence against her offspring has suddenly emerged without any history of such behavior in the primate evolutionary record? How this unanswered question is answered will determine the future of humanity.

Or to Ashley Montagu’s (1952) statement in The Natural Superiority of Women:Women are the mothers of humanity; do not let us ever forget that or underemphasize its importance. What mothers are to their children, so will man be to man” (pp. 247-248)


Professor Urie Bronfenbrenner (1970), Chairman, Minority Report of Forum 15: Children and Parents, stated:

America’s families, and their children, are in trouble, trouble so deep and pervasive as to threaten the future of our nation. The source of the trouble is nothing less than a national neglect of children and those primarily engaged in their care— America’s parents. The Editorial Committee objected to this statement on the grounds that it applied only to a minority of the nation’s children and that, therefore, no note of urgency was justified. I strongly disagree (p. 252) (Bronfenbrenner, 1970)


Bowlby (1951), over a half century ago, has reminded the world of its neglect and abuse of children and its consequences for humanity:

“Deprived children, whether in their homes or out of them, are the source of social infection as real and serious as are carriers of diphtheria and typhoid. And, just as preventive measures have reduced these diseases to negligible proportions, so can determined actions greatly reduce the number of deprived children in our midst and the growth of adults liable to produce more of them” (p.181)

Cindy W. Christian and Robert D. Sege (2010), authors of The 2010 AAP Policy Statement: Child Fatality Review. Pediatrics 2010; 126; 592-596. State:

The preventable death of a child is an unparalleled tragedy for a family. Similarly, a nation’s ability to reduce child mortality rates is a measure of that society’s overall well being, and failure to address preventable causes of child mortality is a national tragedy. Each year in the United States, more than 17 000 infants and children die from injury, which remains the leading cause of child mortality in the United States.1 Add to this the number of preventable noninjury deaths, including many deaths related to prematurity, and it becomes clear that a majority of American child deaths are preventable.


This author has initiated a dialogue on this AAP Policy Statement that can be found In Pediatrics Online. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/126/3/592.abstract
Breastfeeding Mothers are rarely violent toward their nursing infants and children which points to a solution for preventing the high infant mortality rate and its relationship to homicide.


WHO/UNICEF in their 1990 Innocenti Declaration declared that “children should continue to be breastfed, while receiving appropriate and adequate complementary foods, for up to two years of age or beyond…”


Pain and Pleasure encodes the developing brain to become Neurodissociative or Neuroassociative in Function, which drives our Two Moralities and Two Humanities for Peace or Violence. The complexities of these relationships have been previously detailed by this writer in Body Pleasure and the Origins of Violence (1975); The Origins of Human Love and Violence (1996); Only More Mother-Infant Bonding Can Prevent Cycles of Violence (2001); Our Two Cultural Brains: Neurointegrative and Neurodissociative that are formed by Pain and Pleasure Life Experiences Encoded in the Developing Brain (2003); The Origins of Love: How Culture Shapes the Developing Brain and the Future of Humanity (2004); Why Breastfeeding Mothers are Important (2007); and elsewhere.







These realities are reflected in our Infant Mortality statistics (lower nurturance), and duration of breastfeeding by States (higher nurturance), which defines the Two Americas that we have become.
For the year 2004 the CDC reported the PERCENT CHILDREN BREASTFED AT 12 MONTHS BY STATE, which I compared to the infant mortality rates of the 50 States for the same year and found:
90% (9/10) States With Less Than 15% of Children Breastfeeding At 12 Months Have The Highest Infant Mortality Rats. 83% (10/12) States With Greater Than 25% of Children Breastfeeding At 12 Months Have The Lowest Infant Mortality Rates:

jwp maphttp://www.violence.de/prescott/letters/IM_BF_Homicide_Stats_Update_2010.html

Note the Two Americas in the 2004 CDC Map of States distributed by PERCENT CHILDREN BREASTFED AT 12 MONTHS BY STATE, which I compared to the infant mortality rates of the 50 States. The White and Light Blue States are clearly distinguishable from the Dark Blue and Purple States, which define two blocks of States.

I have particularly noted that DELAWARE ranks among the States with the highest infant morality rates and with the lowest duration of breastfeeding.

The March of Dimes has published a 2012 MAP of the 50 States with a report on the grade given for their percent reduction of preterm birth rates (births <37 weeks gestation), a leading cause of infant mortality. DELAWARE has received a grade of “B”, which is inconsistent with the latest report of the CDC/NVSR that ranks DELAWARE with one of the worst infant mortality rates among the 50 States.

Compare this March of Dimes 2012 Prematurity Birth Map with the 2004 CDC Breastfeeding Duration Map and you will discover a virtual overlap of the Two Americas. The Red, Yellow and Orange States are clearly distinguishable from the Light Blue and Purple States, which define two blocks of States.

march of dimes map

Figure 3 presents statistical graphs showing high correlations between infant/child mortality and homicide for the Fifty States and for the years 1930-1968. These studies by this writer have documented that 15-25 percent of homicides can be predicted from the infant mortality rates of the 1940s, whereas as much as 25-75% of homicides can be predicted from the infant mortality rates of the late fifties and sixties. This is to say that more and more homicidal factors are involved in our infant mortality rates of the late 1950s and 1960s than in the 1940s. These data support the increasing role of psychosocial factors in infant mortality to emerge after the control of infectious diseases and other biomedical factors prevalent in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s.


Overpeck, et al (1998), NICHD staff scientists, have confirmed these relationships: “Homicide is the leading cause of infant deaths due to injury accounting for almost one third of such deaths in 1996…. More than 80 percent of documented homicides in very young children can be viewed as fatal child abuse, and there is strong evidence that both homicides and fatal cases of child abuse are under accounted” (p.1211).

Herman-Giddens, et.al (1999) found the underestimating of child abuse homicides in a study in North Carolina from 1985-1994. They found that the INTERNATIONAL CLASSIFICATION OF DISEASES (ICD-9) cause of death coding underascertained child abuse homicides by 61.6%.
These studies have yet to be replicated but strongly implicate violence in our infant mortality rates that have been neglected or ignored by the health science community.

Peter Cook (1996) in Early Child Care: Infants & Nations At Risk, stated: On the basis of this developmental and social ecology of daycare in America, I conclude that we have a nation at risk” (Belsky, 1992. p. 90. Italics inserted). p. 19.

The future of our Nation and any Human Society rests with its Families, Infants, Children and Mothers. We abuse and neglect them at our peril.

Not those who die, but those who die before they must and want to die, those who die in agony and pain are the great indictments against civilization.

Eros and Civilization
Herbert Marcuse 1956


Beauvoir, Simone de (1949.2010). The Second Sex. Alfred A. Knopf. http://www.violence.de/prescott/letters/Simone_de_Beauvoir.html

Belsky, J. (1990). Consequences of child care for children’s development: a deconstructionist view. In: Booth, A. Ed Child Care in the 1990s. Trends and Consequences. Lawrence Erlbaum, New Jersey.

Bowlby, John (1953) Child Care and The Growth of Love. Pelican Books. Baltimore, MD. Based upon the World Health Organization (WHO) Report Maternal Care and Mental Health by John Bowlby (1951). 182 pp.

Bronfenbrenner, Urie (1970), Chairman, Minority Report of Forum 15: Children and Parents. The White House Conference on Children. Washington, D.C. http://www.violence.de/prescott/dvd/Nixon-1970-WHC.pdf

CDC (2007). Map of States distributed by PERCENT CHILDREN BREASTFED AT 12 MONTHS BY STATE http://www.violence.de/prescott/letters/IM_BF_Homicide_Stats_Update_2010…

Christian, C.W. and Sege, R.D. (2010), The 2010 AAP Policy Statement: Child Fatality Review. Pediatrics 2010; 126; 592-596. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/126/3/592.full.pdf

Herman-Giddens, M.D., Brown, G., Vberbiest, S., Carlson, P.J., Hooten, E.G., Howell, E. and Butts, J.D. (1999).Underascertainment of Child Abuse Mortality in the United States. JAMA 282(5):463-467. August 4

Marcuse, Herbert (1956). Eros and Civilization. Rutledge & Kegan Paul. London

March of Dimes (2012). U.S. MAP of States on Premature Births.

Matthews, T.J. and MacDorman, M.F. (2007). Infant Mortality Statistics from the 2004 Period Linked Birth/Infant Death Data Set. Division of Vital Statistics, National Vital Statistics Report, Centers For Disease Control and Prevention. V55 (14): 1- 32. May 2. Hyattsville, MD.
Montagu, Ashley (1952). The Natural Superiority of Women. Macmillian New York

Overpeck, M.D., Brenner, R.A., Trumble, A.C., Trifletti, L.B., and Berendes, H. (1998).Risk Factors For Infant Homicide In The United States. The New England Journal of Medicine. 339(17):1‘211-1216

Prescott, J.W. (1975) Body Pleasure and the Origins of Violence. The Futurist April.
Reprinted: The Bulletin Of The Atomic Scientists (1975) November.

Prescott, J.W. (1979) Statistical graphs showing the high correlations between infant/child mortality and homicide for the Fifty States and for the years 1930- 1968 InChild Abuse in America. (David Gil, Ed). AMS Press New York pp. 66- 137. http://www.violence.de/prescott/letters/IM_BF_H.pdf

Prescott, J.W. (1996). The Origins of Human Love and Violence. Pre- and Perinatal Psychology Journal, Volume 10, Number 3: Spring, pp. 143-188 http://www.violence.de/prescott/pppj/article.html

Prescott, J.W. (2001). Commentary. Only more mother-infant bonding can prevent cycles of violence. Cerebrum. 3 (1) 8-9 & 124.

Prescott, J.W. (2004). The Origins of Love: How Culture Shapes the Developing Brain and the
Future of Humanity. byronchild, March-May, 2004b.

Prescott, J.W. (2003). Our Two Cultural Brains: Neurointegrative and Neurodissociative that are formed by Pain and Pleasure Life Experiences Encoded In The Developing Brain

Prescott, J.W.(2005): Prevention Or Therapy And The Politics of Trust: Inspiring a New Human Agenda. in: Psychotherapy and Politics International. (3(3): 194-211, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.http://www.interscience.wiley.com; http://www.violence.de/prescott/politics-trust.pdf

Prescott, J.W. (2007). Why breastfeeding mothers are important. The Mother. Sept/Oct



Prescott, J.W. (2010).Infant/child homicide, breastfeeding bonding and parental care Pediatrics. Pediatrics published online September 29, 2010

Prescott, J. W. (2013). Perspective 6: Nurturant Versus Nonnurturant Environments and the Failure of the Environment of Evolutionary Adaptedness. In Evolution, Early Experience and Human Development (Narvaez, D., Panksepp, J., Schore, A.N. and Gleason, R.R., Eds). Oxford University Press. New York.

WHO/UNICEF (1990). INNOCENTI DECLARATION: On the Protection, Promotion and Support of Breastfeeding. Florence, Italy.

11 December 2012